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By Suzanna M. - San Francisco Piano Teacher
Recently, as I was finishing up a lesson, I commented to my student's mother on how well he was doing lately. She said it was all part of being a good tiger mother. Of course I had heard of Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, but I hadn't realized the immediate impact the book was having.
I began casually asking parents if they had read the book. Those who had were quite inspired to get their kids on a very ambitious practicing schedule. While I do not agree with all of Ms. Chua’s extreme parenting tactics, a strong and structured practice regimen is something I do recommend to all the students I teach during my piano lessons in San Francisco.
In the book, Chua talks about forcing her kids practice for extremely long periods of time and how it helped them become superior musicians. One thing that was stressed to me in pedagogy class is that practicing in short but frequent sessions is far more productive than sitting down for a long period of time. I usually recommend practicing for ten to twenty minutes a day, depending on the age and level of the student. It is important to build good technique, especially when the student is young. But until the student has developed a strong enough technique to handle extended playing sessions, it is better to keep the practice sessions short to avoid strain on the hands. Even students at the advanced level should only play for thirty to forty minutes at a time.
One of my favorite tips for my piano students in San Francisco is to incorporate practice into the homework schedule by using it as a break between academic subjects. Ten minutes here or twenty minutes there add up quickly and will help any student achieve their playing goals and satisfy the most demanding tiger mother.
I began classical piano instruction in 1960 and took private lessons for ten years before branching out into all the other styles of music. I have taught, recorded and performed professionally since 1978, and will show you proper hand and finger technique, music theory, how to read notation and chord charts/symbols, and equally as important teach you how to play by ear. I teach all ages, all styles and all levels of piano, and will teach you how to have fun with it all along the way!
My philosophy of teaching is nurturing enthusiasm and curiosity. It is my job to tap into what excites each student and we work together to create experiences that continue to develop as a musician and as a creative being. Ranging from writing songs to 'remixes' to learning to play your favorite pieces, we together can explore any of these avenues together in a fun and engaged way. I keep it interesting and moving for the younger beginners to keep them engaged with various activities and fun ideas.
I have been teaching piano for 35 years. I have had several student who started with me as beginners and advanced to playing in the jazz band in school. Over the years I have developed a unique technique for getting students started as beginners.
• Provide interactive and engaging private lessons to students of all ages.
• Improvise and sight-read with students to help develop a working knowledge of musicality and movement.
• Help students listen to and understand the music they know and love through musical development and ear training.
I am both patient and enthusiastic as a teacher. I love music, and enjoy the opportunity to share my love of the piano with my students. Once I have determined the student's level, I find music that will help them progress towards a higher level.
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Have you always wanted to play the piano? We’re here to help! Get started with these 20 video tutorials hosted by San Diego, CA piano teacher Jordan M, one of our expert instructors with TakeLessons.com. In this free video series, you’ll get an introduction to the instrument and learn a few easy exercises to get you reading music and understanding rhythm!
Intro to the Piano: Learn about the parts of the piano and how to find the all-important Middle C.
Learn about proper posture, hand placement, and other beginner essentials.
Learn about the treble and bass clefs, and tips for remembering the notes on the piano.
Learn what all those sharps and flats really mean, and how to decode your music.
Follow along to master quarter notes, quarter rests, and half rests.
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