Imagine learning how to conquer life’s many obstacles via the framework of a musical instrument.
Does your child avoid challenging situations from which you know they will learn valuable lessons? Is he or she intimidated by the prospect of something being too hard? Is she or he risk averse? Do they lack coordination, or do they have too much energy and nothing to focus it on?
I specialize in not just teaching beginning piano and percussion lessons, but teaching students how to learn, and the value of effort, all within the valuable framework of learning a musical instrument.
Will they grow up to be Rachmaninov orMozart? Who knows? But what I do know is that I can help them be comfortable with not having all the answers, and instead putting in effort to figure things out for themselves, regardless of the outcome. In essence, I help them learn how to learn.
If you want to start your child in a different kind of music lesson; lessons that don’t just teach an instrument, but the mindset that will help them achieve anything they set their minds to, contact me to see if your child might be a good fit.
My goal: A different kind of musical teaching
After years of teaching in traditional, “music studio mill” style lessons where the emphasis is placed on churning out a large quantity of students rather than on quality of learning and instruction, I decided it was time to take the traditional model of teaching and turn it on its head towards quality.
I am a professional percussionist and vocalist in and around Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. I have held positions and played with orchestras in Massachusetts, Texas, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I work as a singer with the Bachelor Boys Band, and also have regular appearances at Andys Bar at the Fairmont in Downtown Pittsburgh.
I hold the following degrees:
-Bachelor of Music from Eastman School of Music
-Master of Music from Boston University
-Artist Diploma in Music from Duquesne University
I have been teaching private music lessons since 2002 in both percussion and piano. I specialize in beginner piano lessons (namely the first 4-6 years of study) as well as percussion lessons for children and adults.
The Secret Sauce: Teaching the parents** along with the students*
In my experience as a private teacher, there are two categories of parents when it comes to music lessons. One is the parent who already has a basic musical background, and is comfortable supervising their child and reinforcing good practice habits and correcting when it is necessary. To most music teachers, this is the most desirable and easiest category of students to teach. This contingency who is already initiated into the halls of musical ability make it much easier for the teacher and the student to make progress.
But what about the other parents? That contingency of parents who either do have never played music, or perhaps have studied a little when they were younger, but do not feel confident supervising their children. This creates a situation in which all progress is expected to happen in a single weekly lesson. Either because of lack of parents’ musical skill or confidence, the children are left to fend for themselves when it comes to practicing on their own during the week. Much to the students’ disadvantage, during this weekly lesson, the teacher is left to piece together a vague recap of the weeks progress, and little headway is made. Frustration ensues, confidence spirals downwards, and the prospect of quitting inevitably shadows their musical horizon. Instead of walking down the halls of knowledge towards musical ability, they become one of the many who enthusiastically began piano only to abandon their studies after a few years because “they just weren’t talented enough”, “it was too hard” or some other altogether avoidable reason.
In my studio, what I require is a parent who is eager to learn along with their child. They do not have to have had any previous musical instruction, but simply a willingness to be a part of the process of their child learning. The parents are free to ask questions as well as the children. Consistent practice need not be overbearing; 20-30 minutes, 5 days a week should suffice for roughly the first 3 years of study, until the child can cultivate practice habits of their own.
*To clarity, my percussion students are usually older and therefore a little more mature when it comes to practicing, and in most cases, parents need only to reinforce, not fully supervise their at home practice as I would require on the piano. And ideally, they would have already started on the piano, so they would have cultivated some of these habits already.
**I have done, and will teach adult students, as long as they are willing to put themselves in a learning mindset. Many adults mentally understand concepts, but do know how to physically do them. These things take time and deliberate, mindful repetition. Imagine yourself learning how to ride a bike today, not when you were a child. Your body can certainly suffer through a few falls. But what most adults have trouble with is withstanding falls with their ego. They think “I understand this, therefore I should be able to do it immediately”. When they cannot, their ego takes the hit, and they quit. As long as the adult student is willing to put the ego aside, I can teach them as well as their children.
Interested in lessons?
contact me to see if we are a good fit.