I see myself as not simply a piano teacher, but also a coach. Anyone can learn to push the correct keys on a piano to play a melody. But learning how to create beautiful piano music with feeling that transports us and the listeners to another place involves a much different aptitude.
Mastering the art of creating music that comes from deep within our souls is a talent that encompasses skills in many different areas of ourselves. To become proficient pianists, we must realize that we are not just using our fingers. Playing the piano must involve our whole body, mind and heart to produce the sounds we long for and initiate the emotions we want to convey.
Rather than just telling my students to “go home and practice”, I work on cultivating a passion for music in my students. I help them first to see, then learn by doing. By demonstrating pieces of music for my students and giving them ideas on what they can accomplish in their playing, I endeavour to inspire them to try it for themselves, and create their own interpretation of the music. This triggers their sense of adventure, and motivates them to practice at home simply because it’s fun.
I guide my students toward a balance of classical and contemporary music in many genres, to expand their horizons. As an Elementary Specialist in Piano certified by The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), I believe in a well-rounded approach to teaching music. My lessons include ear training, music theory, sight reading, improvisation, music history, composing and technical exercises to hone techniques. I integrate these elements in a fun and dynamic way, using my ever-increasing library of music games and activities.
I regularly encourage my students to learn music according to their varied interests and personalities. Over the years I've developed an extensive library of music in all genres that I lend out to students as they discover pieces they're inspired to learn.
One of my most rewarding times as a teacher is experiencing that moment when all the time a student has invested in a piece pays off, and they’re able to play one of the pieces they love effortlessly. Sharing in my students’ excitement and pride is one of the ways I help them build their self-confidence and fearlessness to play without any inhibitions. I use this time to encourage students to share their gifts with others in local festivals, recitals, at school, and with their family and friends.
Guiding each of my students to a level where they have the confidence to learn new pieces on their own is one of my ultimate goals. I share in my students’ sense of accomplishment and pride when they come to me having learned part of a new piece on their own, or having mastered a difficult section of a piece through practice.
As a teacher who believes that there’s always more to learn in life and in music, I continually strive to learn new things as a teacher. Just as I encourage my students to, I practice regularly, and am always working on a few new pieces I’d like to master. I frequently attend workshops and seminars, and participate in discussion groups. These help me explore new and different methods of teaching, and I integrate many of these into my teaching practice throughout each year. I continually strive to grow and improve as a teacher.