Choosing a private music teacher can be a tricky task. There are many, and they are all, in varying degrees, different. It can be helpful to ask some questions in order to choose a teacher, such as: What is his or her musical background? What is his or her involvement in the area's music and arts community? Does he or she have live playing experience, and in what types of music?
But the most important question of all when it comes to playing keyboard instruments and music in general is: Why do you want to learn? Having an answer to this question will help decide what you should look for in a teacher.
My teaching approach is a broad-based, flexible and organic system. I do not adhere to a specific method because no two students are alike. Furthermore, different students have different goals. My system is broad-based because we work on reading music, playing by ear and chord charts, improvisation, playing technique, theory, playing with other musicians, and creative exploration; flexible because the time dedicated to each of these areas of learning is proportioned based on a student's objectives; and organic because as different interests and propensities develop over time we adapt to allow the strong areas to further flourish and continue to strengthen the overall framework and foundation.
My central objective as a teacher isn't simply to teach a student to play songs in increasing increments of difficulty over time. It is about building confidence in your own faculties as a musician; developing your internal musical instincts to be independent and make judgments without constant oversight; and knowing where you want to go and how to get there.
My experience of over 1000 live performances in various styles (rock, soul, R&B, jazz, blues, country, gospel, pop, folk, funk, classical, and the sub-genres encompassed by these styles), recording studio session work, and extensive study into diverse musical traditions including the pioneering keyboard players of 20th-century genres are all significant resources that students will enjoy the benefit of in their learning.
Some general information:
- I teach out of my home studio in Oshawa, Ontario. Some teachers come to your home or teach out of a small school, but by being in my home studio I have all my teaching resources on hand - including guitars and drumkit which I often play along with students, because I believe firmly in the need to develop a keyboard student's practical experience in playing with other musicians. That is a reality of modern keyboard playing. It also affords students the opportunity to learn from the various keyboards instruments I own - a vintage Hammond organ, a Heintzman upright grand piano, an 88-key weighted Kurzweil PC-88 keyboard, & a Hammond XK-1.
- open-door policy; parent/adult accompanying younger student is always welcome to stay during the lesson period in room adjacent to studio
- my rate is on par with other instructors in the region ($20 per half hour)
Photo by Mike Peleshok