From the age of 6, I received lessons in piano and music theory / ear training at the Brooklyn College Preparatory Center for the Performing Arts. In the early 1990's, hearing legendary musicians on former radio station 104 WNCN made an indelible impression on me and inspired a long-term passion. My sensibility for jazz and popular music also developed during this period, since 101.9, the "smooth jazz" station, was also listened to at home. I accompanied the Stuyvesant High School choir until my graduation in 2000. In January of that year, I performed the third movement of Sergei Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto with the school's symphony orchestra. The then-president of the Stuyvesant Parents Association praised the "extraordinary performance" in an issue of the PA newsletter. Starting in August 2000, I attended Columbia University where I continued my piano studies. Wishing to dedicate myself more completely to music, I transferred to Manhattan School of Music in September 2002. I completed my graduate training there in May 2008 under the pianistic and musical guidance of Arkady Aronov.
I have taught beginner and intermediate level private piano lessons to adults and children since January 2009. Throughout January 2010, I accompanied a student production of the musical _You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown_ at The Women's Leadership School of Astoria, Queens. In May of that year, I collaborated with Jermaine Lewis, a Bronx composer for a concert of his musical, _Spiritual Heritage_. These performance endeavors helped me grow in my feel for popular music (including improvisation,) which I enjoy conveying to students who prefer to learn piano through that style. My appreciation of contemporary music has also developed through my activities as piano teacher and music transcriber (someone who notates music on paper or computer by ear) for the lead singer of 3D2, a contemporary pop group that has performed in Madison Square Garden as well as at international venues.
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I adapt my teaching to how you learn and your aspirations, whether the direct goal is to learn the piano, a art that nurtures emotional awareness and self-discipline, channel your favorite artists from the keys, or discover how to hear music from within. I am a patient teacher who believes that you will succeed when the instructor is passionate about the subject (I am,) and you like it from the outset. I believe that new musical and technical concepts are best introduced when the student expresses a readiness to understand them. Moreover, I see music and technique as two integrated aspects of the same picture - even when practicing a passage to develop the efficiency of the physical gesture it calls for, my goal is for the student to feel that he or she is still creating music.
Once I have gauged the development of your playing (from absolute beginner to anything beyond,) we would work on pieces and techniques that gradually take you to the next "stage of development." I use quotation marks because musical growth is really a continuous process with no actual discreet stages. "Level" is merely an idea that helps teachers hone the content and delivery of their instruction. In addition, I am flexible when it comes to following the sequence of pieces in repertoire guides. In the order they appear, they don't always present at a student-supportive level. I mention this because students benefit from learning music that offers just the right amount of challenge for their current point of development. Lessons include theory concepts as a way to aid your aural understanding. I also locate pieces of your choosing, and teach them in a format that matches your current phase of development. Learning this favored music by ear, in fact, is a great way to cultivate your musical imagination and intellect.
I encourage regular practicing each week, while helping you strive for a balance between reviewing what was covered from one lesson to the next and your other important commitments. In this manner, I hope to respect both the lesson time and you as a person.
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I would provide music lesson books, other sheet music, recommendations for sheet music purchase. I would expect my student to provide a piano or digital keyboard with touch-induced volume control.
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I am actively experienced guiding beginner level to late intermediate students. I will guide you through the most sensible steps (for you) to cultivate agility at the piano, your ear and its discerning power, and unblocked musical expression. Connecting to your passion is one of the keys to a healthy and low-pressure learning experience. Our educational system would be better off if more practitioners of the art of teaching knew how to respond to the way our brains and minds learn naturally and efficiently - not by negative stress, like anxiety over the quality of a result, but through kind encouragement, patience, and the opportunity for open communication between student and teacher.
In teaching and performance, I have absorbed styles from classical, popular, and Broadway music. A vast repertoire from these genres is available for students at various places in their development. My interest in improvisation, and an ear sensitive to nuance in improvised performance have enhanced my grasp of popular styles. I love music with a message that begs to be encountered, uplifting or not so uplifting - as long as it expresses anything essential from the heart of our collective humanity. My experience as a teacher and pianist has shown me the scope of music that fits this description, covering jazz, classical, contemporary pop, r&b, and world music. For example, a current student has worked with me on Sweet Dreams by Beyonce, and more recently on Together Again by Jackson, which we have alternated with Bach Chorales (which expand both his sense of fingering and harmonic motion.)