I've been lucky to study with many wonderful teachers over the years. I've learned the total joy of musical communication and the awesome physical experience that playing the piano provides. From the best teachers I learned as much about life as music itself. I learned that music is a discipline to see life through.. . . a way of finding clarity and freeing your mind. The Inner Game of quietness, attention, and- intention.
Intention. Every sound you make on your instrument comes from inside you. It comes out of the quietness you create, like a perfect bell. Each sound is perfectly formed first in your mind, and through exercise, discipline and strength your hands gain the delicate power to reproduce exactly what you hear. It is a skill to be practiced. Every note heard first fully formed and perfectly modulated. Every voice in every chord heard in a perfect string moving to the next voice in the next chord. In this unbroken clarity we find breath, dance, movement- freedom! - in our playing. It all comes into being out of the quietness you make inside, and it is all created with conscious intention.
Technique. I believe in a strong regimen of scales and arpeggios to build delicacy and power in the hands. But this "musical weight-lifting" must again always be executed with proper musical intention. The ear must always be engaged so that each time we play them we strengthen our attention and listening abilities. Everything we do is to strengthen our ears. Always spend time playing very quietly and sometimes very slowly so that you baste in each movement and every sound. Never, ever, practice mistakes. In Classical music practicing is not a time to make mistakes. Real technique at the piano is a matter of programming your nervous system- programming it with the correct information. If you make mistakes you are going too fast. Slowing down, you will find that most mistakes are incurred by one simple finger not moving in the right direction. Fix the problem at that level and the mistake will not be made again.
Imagination. Imagination is the belief that any sound you hear in the wonderful world around you can be brought to life on the piano. Everything is fair game and everything can be used in our playing, in any musical style. From the whoosh of the vacuum to the wail of the train whistle. Or perhaps more simply, my left hand is a cello, and my right a clarinet. Can I make you believe that? It requires the ability to create it first in your head and then project it to the last row of the theater. There is a famous piano piece by Arnold Schoenberg that features a crescendo on a single whole note. Its the ultimate test of a pianist's conviction and imagination. In concert, you must *believe* you can make that soft single note swell to fortissimo and back.
Sightreading. At The University of Michigan I was the staff pianist with the New Music Ensemble. Part of my job was going into graduate composition seminars regularly and sight-reading their solo piano pieces. I got so good at this that I could literally sightread *anything*- down to the most complicated music- at sight. Its a skill that requires work, and resides primarily in how you use your eyes. It can be practiced and improved. I can show you how.
I would be humbled to have you as my student and am genuinely interested in helping you progress. I believe in being available throughout the week by phone for check-ins, encouragement and questions. My experience as a teacher has enabled me to help hundreds of students over the years reach their musical and creative goals. I know I can help you as well.
Email or call (330) 687-6789 for a free consultation.