I have been teaching piano, singing, and music theory/composition professionally to children and adults for over 15 years. I offer in-home or in-studio lessons to students of all levels. Instruction will start with an evaluation of the student's current abilities and a custom-tailored plan to achieve the student's goals, such as:
- Playing Chords and Melodies
- Reading Sheet Music Effectively
- Learning Music Theory and Composition
- Learning Performance Techniques
*** Lesson Details ***
I believe in making sure the student is comfortable and confident in the learning process. The learning musician must often be told what they are doing wrong, so a counterbalance is needed for all that negativity! Your learning environment will be open, non-threatening, and encouraging, so that you're not afraid to make mistakes. Since music is an extremely personal endeavor, and insecurities can develop from working through instrumental -- and especially vocal -- technique, the developing musician needs a place to freely explore their capacities and their instrument.
*** Travel Equipment ***
What I provide: writing utensils, music paper, award stickers (for kids) written exercises, a bi-annual recital, keyboard (for an extra fee); What they provide: keyboard, instructional books, recording device (for voice lessons)
*** Specialties ***
For beginner-intermediate piano instruction, I largely work from Alfred's Basic Piano Library, and usually in the following manner: Prep Course for ages 5-7; Alfred's Basic for ages 8-12; Adult All-In-One Piano Course or Adult Piano Course for ages 13 and above. This is varied, of course, based on the interests or talents of the individual student; a precocious 8- year-old, for example, may be better served by a text from the Beginner All-In-One Course, while a beginning adult with no interest in music theory may require an Adult Piano Course book. Also, I augment the piano texts with Studying Rhythm by Anne Carothers Hall, which covers the most simple to very advanced single and double part rhythm exercises. For intermediate-advanced students, I often teach from Piano For the Developing Musician, Comprehensive Edition (Wadsworth Publishing) with pieces of my own recommendation (Mozart, Debussy, Joplin, etc.) as well as material from Studying Rhythm. For especially advanced students, the student will work almost exclusively on pieces of my recommendation or of their choosing, addressing issues of tempo, dynamics, phrasing, form, performance, etc.
For singing instruction, the basic format of my lessons is exercises and/or warm-up exercises, and then song performances, with me troubleshooting their singing on issues such as posture, breathing, embouchure, vowel purity (or stylized impurity, as in rock and jazz), stage presence, vibrato, etc. I do not teach from a book (although several books, particularly The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults by James C McKinney and those by Richard Miller, have greatly influenced my instruction) as I feel that developing the voice requires constant individuation of my teaching techniques to meet the student's needs; the teacher and the student are "creating" an instrument together, and each instrument is radically different from another, so a prescribed, fixed agenda is not appropriate. Even so, I do have some consistent tools that I use within my general format: breathing exercises to develop control and capacity; beginning, intermediate, and advanced vocal exercises I was taught in college, discovered in books, or are of my own design; and consistent reminders and exercises to relax the neck, jaw, and the larynx.
For children's music theory, I teach from the
Basics of Keyboard Theory, Levels 1-10, by Julie McIntosh Johnson. For adults, I teach from the Johnson texts and my own notebook/workbook that I have compiled over the years, which contains handouts and exercises on the basic elements of pitch names, clefs, staves, interval, rhythm and meter, to the most advanced analysis of melody, harmony, form, theme, counterpoint, and orchestration.
Taught voice, piano, percussion, and music theory to children and adult students, beginning to intermediate.