Students develop musicality, confidence and technical skills through a carefully selected and individual learning programme
Discover a world of great piano music
With such a wide and varied range of piano styles to choose from, students are encouraged to explore the repertoire widely and to select music that not only sustains their interest but develops new skills and techniques along the way leading to greater musical accomplishment.
Whilst many students take up the piano with an ambition to play the famous classics; those looking for a different path, jazz and other contemporary styles may also be chosen. Selecting repertoire that inspires students to play and have a natural affinity for is paramount: only then will they strive to triumph over the challenges set before them.
Working with such a wide range of students at different ages and levels is both rewarding and invaluable. To appreciate how students learn and develop across a much wider plane and the challenges faced at advanced levels, provides perspective and understanding, and help shape the learning programmes of those just starting out.
Establishing the basics: getting things right
Taking your first steps as a beginner may be daunting but with a carefully-selected programme of attractive and enticing pieces, and supportive exercises to develop your technique, you will soon have the basis of a musical foundation on which to build.
We will start by learning how to sit at the piano and the importance of adopting a good hand position. After a few simple warm-up exercises to get some mobility in the fingers, we will learn our first piece together. This will be shown to you without the music, initially, to help you develop a better aural sense of the music and to make your first piece more accessible.
Students will still be taught how to read music: a vital skill that gives pupils the confidence to discover new music independently; however, approaching a new piece without the music helps new students actually play something meaningful at their first lesson without being overwhelmed with reading and playing simultaneously.
To develop rhythmic awareness and listening skills further, a number of duets intended for beginners will be introduced. But, please don't worry about this: many beginners find the playing of duets really enjoyable and are surprised by just how good the ensemble sounds! Having worked with many beginners, rest assured, we will find the one that is right for you.
Developing your sound
Once the basics are in-place it is inevitable you will want to expand not only your technique but your piano sound as well. To play convincingly with musical feeling involves much more than merely following instructions: it's about listening to your playing and developing a critical ear, which is a musician's best tool.
The skills we work on here include tone development and the balancing of hands so the melody projects clearly above the accompaniment. We will learn how to shape a phrase musically, and the importance of finding space between the phrases to allow the music to breathe. Being able to play notes with different articulations in each hand contribute greatly to the musical character and it essential that such skills are developed.
However, one of the most techniques every pianist has to master is the art of effective pedalling. To sustain many notes at one time truly transforms the piano sound lending it considerable power and depth and a host of expressive nuances.
Perfecting your skills
One of the most rewarding aspects for any music teacher is when a student reaches a level of proficiency that enables them to tackle complex and challenging works with technical and musical confidence. Whilst teaching a beginner successfully is by no means an easy option; teaching at an advanced level, similarly, requires developed technical skills and relevant professional expertise.
If you are considering taking lessons with the intention of working towards an advanced grade or diploma you can be confident that we can formulate a programme of study that will prepare you successfully for such a goal. Initial work will begin on selecting suitable technical studies to further your practical skills, alongside critical listening of your pieces you would like to play for your grade/diploma. Students will be expected to demonstrate stylistic awareness and an assured technique across a range of styles, however, to select music that plays to their musical strengths.
Most of my diploma students tend to follow the performance route, which can be taken as a purely recital option, or a shorter performance component with supportive tests. Students will be encouraged to attend the adult piano workshops that are hosted in the studio to develop familiarity with delivering a recital before an audience.
For those taking the teaching option instead, candidates will be required to demonstrate they can teach effectively and that they have a sound knowledge of suitable teaching repertoire. Whichever path students choose, students will develop a range of skills that will form a good basis for a future career or music in higher education.