Monthly Archives: August 2017

1508, 2017

Technique with a Purpose

By |August 15, 2017|Motivation, Teaching, Teaching Philosophy, Technique|

I’m pretty passionate about this fourth key point of my teaching philosophy.

4. I firmly believe in technique with a purpose: more convincing musical communication (and injury prevention).

Technique is an important part of a piano education. However, it is the means to an end. It’s always problematic when the means become the end. When it becomes all about playing something as fast as possible and perfectly cleanly, something is seriously wrong. Again, piano playing is about making music, not being perfect!

Technique needs to be about making music too. Each technical adjustment should have a musical purpose. Each technical exercise should have […]

908, 2017

Learning Requires Taking Risks

By |August 9, 2017|Encouragement, Expectations, Motivation, Teaching, Teaching Philosophy|

Below is the third key element of my teaching philosophy.

3. I aim to combine high expectations with a friendly, encouraging atmosphere in order to motivate students to ask questions and take risks.

Did you ever notice that some of the most effective learning happens when we fail? This is why it is so incredibly important for a teacher to create an atmosphere where this can happen.

Teachers need to expect high quality work. Tolerating sloppiness invalidates any attempts to motivate students to pursue excellence.

However, if students always perform virtually perfectly, they likely aren’t learning much. Part of high expectations is stretching students […]

108, 2017

Effort Outweighs Natural Ability

By |August 1, 2017|Talent, Teaching, Teaching Philosophy, Work Ethic|

The second key element of my teaching philosophy is simple.

2. Commitment, effort, and diligent practice, in combination with quality guidance, far outweigh intrinsic “talent.”

Many parents feel it isn’t worth investing in their children’s music education unless they show signs of special talent. However, I like to think of it this way: Imagine each child as an empty glass. Natural ability might allow a child to begin with a tiny bit of water already in the glass. Each hour of effective practice and each pearl of on-target feedback pours more water into the glass. Ultimately, the natural ability makes little difference. […]