Explore a world of great music
With so many piano composers and styles to choose from, students are encouraged to explore the repertoire widely but always to select music that interests them. This approach not only helps sustain the student's musical interest but inspires the development of new skills and techniques along the way leading to great musical accomplishment.
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, help shape the learning programmes of those just starting out.
Establishing the basics
Taking your first steps as a beginner may be daunting but with a carefully-selected programme of attractive and enticing pieces, along with supportive exercises to develop your technique, you will soon have the basis of a musical foundation on which to build.
Learning how to sit at the piano and how to adopt a good hand position are essential for any aspiring beginner, so it is important that we look at these things first. After a few simple warm-up exercises to get some mobility in the fingers, we will learn our first piece together, which we’ll do without the music. This approach not only speeds things up for the beginner but it encourages listening skills from the outset, which is important for any musician.
Naturally, you will be taught how to read music, as this will give you the confidence to try your own music independently; however, being able to play something meaningful at he first lesson, without worrying about reading and playing at the same time, is just as important.
As we progress together, we will also play some great duets, which will not only help develop your rhythmic sense, but it will help you develop the skills needed to play alongside another musician. Many beginners find the playing of duets particularly rewarding and are often surprised by how good it all sounds when it comes together!
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 every time you play.
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.
But one of the most important 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 technique
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 requires patience and understanding; 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 advanced grade or diploma. An assured technique and good stylistic awareness across a range of styles will be expected at this level, however, it's important to play to your musical strengths and to choose music that you have an affinity for.
At diploma level, most students follow the performance route, which can be taken as a purely recital option, or a shorter performance component with supportive tests. For those working towards a teaching diploma, candidates will, naturally, be required to demonstrate that they can teach effectively and that they have a sound knowledge of suitable teaching repertoire. Whichever path you choose, you will develop a range of skills that will provide a strong technical and musical understanding, giving you the confidence to tackle challenging and complex music unaided.