Matt Oakley
Endicott, NY
Matt Oakley

Matt O.

Endicott, NY
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
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Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
Hear me out- The piano may be the easiest instrument to play physically and one of the hardest to play mentally.

Easy to play physically:
With the piano, just hit a key to make a sound come out. Thats it. No fighting with the reed on a saxophone, killin' your cheeks on a trumpet, or building calluses on the guitar.

Hard to play mentally:
Almost all other instruments require both hands to create sound. Strings require one hand to choose a note on a string while the other hand plucks or bows it and all wind instruments require both hands to pick a note while your breath plays it. We already know to play the piano you just hit a button... this means each hand can hit a button. You can now make two sounds at once, independently from each other. It's like playing two instruments at once.

This two instruments concept plays a HUGE role in classical piano. Lets expand that thought and realize each FINGER can play an individual note or phrase. If your piano were an orchestra your left hand essentially covers the low instruments like tubas, bass, cellos etc. and the right hand covers your high instruments like flutes, violins, trumpets etc.

Playing classical piano is also a different animal because most of the time its played solo. Once a guitarist, trumpeter, violinist, drummer etc. becomes fairly decent, they will typically look for some other people to play with as they cant play melodies and harmonies at the same time. Us classical pianists can. Piano teaches you how to be a "one man band."

Playing classical piano requires you to learn how to read music. We could put it off for a few weeks maybe, but it really is a necessity. Modern music doesn't use it much anymore as many professionals just use the chord method or Nashville number system. These modern styles of pop, rock, blues, folk, hip-hop etc. are simpler than classical and typically dont use as many notes in a song. Classical music is much more complex and has a deeper use of music theory. You don't need to understand the theory, but you do need to know how to read it. Similar to if you wanted to cook, you don't need to know what chemical reaction happens between two ingredients, but you have to be able to understand the cook book to read the recipe.

About Matt O.

Aside from being proficient at a craft, a good teacher needs the skill of communication. Being the best physicist in the world doesn't make you the best physics teacher. Knowing how to do something and knowing how to make other people understand it are two very different skills.

Lets be honest, you already know how to play most instruments. For the piano you hit the keys and it makes sound, for guitar or bass you pluck the string and it makes sound, and the drums ya just gotta hit 'em... So why is music so tricky?

Timing. Its not what note to play, its when to play it. There are only 12 notes in western music. Beethoven to Guns n' Roses. 12 notes.

Music comes in "waves." It's why blues gets our toes tapping, funk gets our hips swinging, and metal gets our heads banging. My job here is to teach you how to "surf" those "waves." Music is extremely closely related to dance. In dance we move in rhythm with our entire bodies (For the record, I do not dance). In Music we create those rhythms with our fingers. Playing Music is like dancing with your fingers. It relates to my favorite quote: "Art is how we decorate space, Music is how we decorate time."

My background with music started not in school but as a toddler... Singing in bathroom stalls in restaurants as loudly as I could. Sorry Mom. My musical journey ended up leading me to college for classical piano and vocal and after moving to a new city I picked up other instruments to play with cover bands for extra money on the weekends. I fell in love with the bass and now have about 600 gigs under my belt ranging from singing in Operas to killin it with rock bands. I play piano and bass quite well, and if your a beginner I can show you the ropes on the guitar or drums. I have also recently started playing the Harp, so I understand the frustration of learning a new instrument!

I'm well rounded, fun, and I don't believe in a lesson plan for all. I adapt to each student. My first question to every student every day: "What do you want to do today?" One day we might learn a riff from some song you like, another day we might talk some simple theory, another day might be how to tune by ear, another day might be talking about tone from pedals and the knobs on your guitar. Its up to you, I will give options and guidance if your lost for a direction but it is ultimately your lesson.

Music is a craft, a hobby. Enjoy it. If its a chore to pick up that guitar or sit at that piano, then don't do it. I tell my students to "practice less and play more." The day you know exactly how to play something but lack the physical skill to do it, the practice will come naturally.

If you have read this far, message me! What do you want to do today?

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