Hi. I'm Don. I have been playing the piano for over 40 years, and B-3 organ and synthesizer for over 30 years. My early training was in classical piano, but then I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and there was no turning back. After a couple of years of teaching myself guitar, I returned to the piano, and later, organ and synthesizer. I have been playing professionally in rock, R&B, blues, country, light jazz, and lounge bands for over 30 years. I did continue to study classical music in college -- piano, theory, composition, and history -- but by then I was committed to popular music. I've always loved teaching -- even while I was in college, I tutored my fellow students in piano and music theory.
Along with performing, I have done much recording session work, and have worked with songwriters to help them better arrange their songs. I am currently working in three classic rock bands, and sub in several other bands. I also play in an eclectic duo with my wife, a singer / guitarist / bass player. I still play guitar, and also recorders.
While I'm equally at home teaching beginning through intermediate classical piano, my background gives me a lot to offer to people playing in bands, or hoping to play in bands. I can teach not only playing technique and music theory, but also band dynamics, chart reading and writing, improvisation, and fundamentals of composition.
My personal style is easygoing, and my approach to teaching music is also easygoing. If it's not fun, as well as rewarding, why do it? The love of music is what draws us in.
*** Lesson Details ***
My approach to teaching piano:
Piano lessons have to be fun and interesting. The method I use will be based on each student's area of interest -- classical, popular, or a combination -- regardless of age, and taking into account previous studies. Technique and applicable theory and history will be covered from the start. Sight reading and ear training will be incorporated as lessons progress.
For those students interested primarily in popular music, lessons will include fundamentals of chart reading and preparation, ear training, improvisation, technique building, and theory and history appropriate to the styles.
I also welcome those musicians who are already proficient on other instruments, who would like to expand their horizons to keyboard instruments; and songwriters as well, who wish to learn to better accompany themselves.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Living Room - baby grand piano, also digital piano/synthesizer, organ and synthesizer options, limited room for parents to wait at this time
*** Travel Equipment ***
At the student's home, there should be a piano or digital piano / electronic keyboard that has preferably at least a 76-note keyboard, with adequate piano patches, touch sensitivity, a damper / hold pedal, and a bench that can be raised to a suitable height. I can provide music books needed, to be purchased by student or parents, at my cost. Student may want to keep a 3-ring binder and notepad for note-taking and keeping of any other materials that I may add.
*** Specialties ***
My specialty is contemporary music styles - rock, pop, R&B, blues, country, standards. I teach music and chart reading and preparation, ear training, theory and improvisation appropriate to the styles of music. The method will be tailored to these students' needs. I also want to familiarize students with musical group dynamics.
I also teach beginning to intermediate classical piano. Although not adhering to the strict guidelines of the Certificate of Merit program, I use the program syllabus as a resource for choosing teaching materials.