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TEACHING ETHOS

Teaching is always a surprise—always a challenge. Each student comes with unique possibilities. In lessons, we listen together, talk, think, and play, as we go about discovering a musician-in-the-making. I teach sight reading and theory. I usually suggest exercises for increasing flexibility and precision. But rather than a fixed “core” curriculum, I try to work back from a style or song a student loves. We start from the joy of playing and listening and move back to the “nuts-and-bolts,” rather than the other way around. My own tastes in music are eclectic, it's fair to say, and, if anything, expanding. Students help me stay tuned!    ​

 

Qualifications: I can prepare students for exams in music. I have some reservations about it, however: the requirements tend to be very specific and, from my standpoint, rather narrow. Studying music in this way inevitably suits some students better than others. One size does NOT fit all!

Technology. All things being equal, I would choose to play an acoustic over a digital piano. But there is no such equality! There are excellent digital pianos available now, and there are a great many advantages to them. One of the most important is that they don't go out of tune (I find an out-of-tune piano has a terrible effect on many things, from technique to mood, to say nothing of satisfaction level!). Digitals fit unobtrusively into small domestic spaces; often, they're portable! I myself have come to feel intensely loyal to my Kurzweil. It changes nothing about the majesty of real strings, struck by real felted hammers, resonating through a real room.​

The new music streaming technology is brilliant for teaching: I can be speaking to a student about a particular musician's specific performance, and in seconds we're hearing it together. Other software lets students experiment creatively with new sounds.

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