Enjoy, Practice, Inspire
I have heard of many students who have taken music lessons and quit because they hated it, yet later wishing they had continued. When I teach, I first let students enjoy music, which makes them want to practice, which inspires themselves and others, which makes them enjoy playing! Then it becomes a cycle which repeats itself over and over again. First, it must be enjoyable -- otherwise it will be like pulling teeth! However, practice and staying on top of assignments is still important as well! Most children still need a little push. All fun usually leads to little practice, which leads to minimal progress where students eventually lose interest. It is a very important balance between enjoying and pushing, and the key is constant communication between myself and you, the parents.
Just like how reading novels has been revolutionized by the Kindle and the iPad, music reading and teaching has also been changed for the better. I use the iPad to teach sight-reading, ear training, and music theory. I also record videos of the students (so they can analyze their playing) as well as post videos of myself and others to give my students lots of examples to listen to! In addition, I type out individualized progress reports that details how the students are doing and gives parents an insight to how the lessons are going. There are so many new resources out there, and although they don’t replace the piano book and pencil, they certainly enhance the learning experience!
Combining Classics with Contemporary
English literature has Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton. Science has Newton and Einstein, among others, of course. Music has Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, and so many other timeless composers. Never learning a piece of any of these composers is almost like a crime. But of course, many people listen to more contemporary music these days (like on the radio), so I like to mix it up! Practicing strictly classical music is sometimes a struggle for young students, so infusing their learning with improvisation, movie themes, and pop music will help create well-rounded and tolerant musicians. So that’s why the combination of the virtuosic classics and popular music of today is extremely beneficial to build piano technique and enjoy playing simultaneously.
I Cater to You!
When starting piano with some teachers, without even asking any questions, they just start every student on the same track, regardless of their strengths, interests, etc. However, I start every student off with a preliminary trial leson/meeting to sit down and discuss the individual goals of the student and parents. I am flexible -- I can go with the more traditional classical approach, or more on the improvisation/arranging/composition track! The only thing I ask is that the student has the time to devote to practice and is willing to work diligently.
Connecting with Other Teachers
As a member of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC), I always strive to give the best to my students and learning from other professionals through attending conferences, etc., will help to broaden my knowledge, connections, and resources and pass it down to my students.
If I could, I’d be there every day with the student to help guide them. But I can’t. Therefore, I am always available to ask questions/advice via phone or e-mail!
Performing Teacher | Giving Back
Share the gift of music. Music can brighten so many people’s days and should be shared with as many people as possible. I perform on a weekly basis at hospitals, retirement homes, and senior centers to spread the joy of music. I do believe that music can have very healing properties. Also, performing on a regular basis keeps me on my toes and allows me to remember what it is like to be on the "student" side of things, learning new songs myself. Various performances by students are also planned at venues throughout the community to spread the joy of music.
What’s the main goal in all of this? Teaching students to love music as much as I do. If I could teach my students only one thing, it would be the passion for making music. It changed my life for the better and I hope it will do the same for my students.