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Making music should be a rewarding, inspiring and enjoyable experience. And playing the piano should be as natural as breathing. As a teacher, it is my job to guide students to the point where they understand and love the music they play. To do this, they must learn to play without strain or anxiety. This can be accomplished through a combination of clear thinking, relaxed and effective movement, and efficient, creative practicing.
Success in piano, as in most things, comes as a result of effective, creative, and sufficient practicing. We learn more when we practice than we learn in the lesson itself. Learning takes place through understanding, which is gained from practicing. Through teaching my students how to practice, I seek to help them understand the physical and psychological issues involved in making music at the piano. With this approach, I encourage them to gain the freedom they need to express themselves through music and discover the joy and satisfaction of playing the piano.
My teaching philosophy is expressed artistically in the following two excerpts:
“In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply limited by hurry. So often men trip by being in a rush. If one were to properly perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first examine the end to be achieved, and then, once he has accepted the end as desirable, he should forget it completely and concentrate solely on the means. By this method he would not be moved to false action by anxiety or hurry or fear. Very few people learn this.”
John Steinbeck: from East of Eden, Ch. 21, para 1.