Teaching piano is a highly subjective field. Different teachers have different concepts of what it means to teach a child piano. Over the years I've developed a set of principles that guide my work with students and my relationship with parents. I'd like to share some of them with you.
I see my primary mission as creating a friendly, enthusiastic and positive environment in the studio, nurturing the spark of curiosity in each child, and awakening a desire to learn and love piano. The right chemistry between teacher, parent and student is vital to me. From day one I strive to cultivate professional, trusting relationships with the parents of my students, which over time often evolve into something bigger.
My approach to teaching is very personal, based on recognizing the individuality of each child, dealing with different personalities and temperaments and helping students achieve their highest intellectual and musical potential. I take into consideration many psychological issues: each child's behavior, attitude, concentration and attention span, intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm, and willingness to work seriously. Considering all those factors I design and individually structure the curriculum for each pupil.
I set doable goals and establish proper piano habits from the beginning, which enables my students to more effectively progress. I help them with their self discipline and time management, developing their ability to work on given projects independently. My goal is to take eager youngsters and over time turn them into intellectually and musically accomplished pianists.
During the lessons I pay close attention to the technical aspects of piano playing: proper posture, hand position, hands coordination, muscle relaxation techniques, etc.
This is especially important in the early years of study, building a solid technical foundation that allows my students to play technically demanding pieces later on without risk of any hand injury.
Properly maintained hands allow children to reach the highest, most desirable level of melodicism. I teach them to make the piano sing.
I put great emphasis on the expressive aspects of piano playing. I show my students how to understand, feel, convey and listen. They learn to recognize different periods and genres of music and styles of composers through their extensive knowledge of music theory and history. I teach piano in the relationship with arts and literature, enabling children to grow up to be more culturally well-rounded people.
Parental involvement in the process is crucial. I reject the notion that piano study is between the teacher and the student,
while the parent only drives his or her child to the lesson and writes the check. To the contrary, the parent is a 3rd, equally important member of the team.
Communication, cooperation and mutual respect is essential among the three of us.
Your child will need a lot of help from you in a variety of ways, some of which I outline below.
- Be involved! You presence at the lesson is not required, but your awareness of the learning process is.
- Show your commitment. It's been proven that your child will only be as committed to piano study as you are.
- Provide a quiet and uninterrupted practice environment. Set aside certain time in your daily busy schedule to help your child with practice at home. Regular practice is crucial for progress and should receive the same priority as school assignments, sports activities or any other daily responsibilities. Maintain the same level of discipline throughout the week as I set at the lesson.
- Ask your child to play for you, family members and friends. Every opportunity to perform for the audience builds your child's self-confidence, self-expression and poise, and brings more enthusiasm for learning new material.
- Welcome challenge and encourage progress!
I expect my students to listen carefully to my instructions at the lesson and practice seriously and efficiently with your support at home.
The most accomplished students are those who contribute great amount of motivation, perseverance and willingness to devote ample hours of practicing to attain the highest possible level of piano performance.
Under my guidance students develop not only pianistic skills, but personal qualities: work ethic, friendship, loyalty, nobility, intelligence, love. I feel that my role as their piano teacher and mentor has long-range importance and lasting value.