Individualized teaching: We believe that enthusiasm and commitment are as important as talent in a student. We value and respect the individualism of our students. The requirement of beginners and intermediate students are different from that of advanced students. The age of the students must be taken into account as well. Each student is unique, and requires special attention that is tuned to their needs, interests, talents and stages in life. We have created music tailoring to the students' interests to facilitate the learning process. Especially for beginning and intermediate adult piano students, we have created and found music that speaks to them, interesting and educational, that motivates them to play and make steady progress.
We believe in applying teaching methods appropriate for each student, and choosing music for students that they enjoy, whether it's classical music, popular music, or music students might have heard from a television show, movie or video game.
We encourage our students to explore music around them, and create music of their own, and make music part of their lives. The experience of learning an instrument can be applied to many aspects of their lives. Theory is always taught in the context of music studied and composing.
You can look at more examples of our approach on our Individualized Teaching page.
Ground the basics from the start: We believe that besides feeling the joy of playing an instrument, learning the basics properly is a vital part of studying instruments and for long term musical goals. This includes developing solid musicianship, proper technique, and good practice habits from the very beginning. Too often, poor playing habits and poor technique allow a student to progress with deceiving speed, but come to haunt them quickly in the form of hand injury, and an inability to move on to more challenging literature due to a poor foundation of skills. We believe in patiently nurturing love for music by using fun and well chosen pieces of music to teach proper technique as well as making enjoyable music.
Improvising: Besides learning how to play by reading music, playing by ear and improvisation are aspects we focused on from early on. Improvisation sparks creativity in a student. It's a skill practiced and cultivated before composing. It brings the study of piano to a higher level.
Ensemble: Students also learns to play duets and even trios. Ensemble playing teaches student how to listen, working with other players, and to be a better musician.
Performing: Performing in front of a small as well as a larger audience are an important part of any student's experience. It provides students with a way of sharing their music making with their peers, as well as a way of building confidence and stage presence. We hold studio performance classes, showcases, recitals throughout the year, some with families and friends in attendance and some without, with a holiday theme when the time is right! The important thing is that the students must feel comfortable and enjoying the performing experience, and giving the gift of music back to the community who support and appreciate their musical effort.
Communication: Periodically comments and feedback are emailed to students (or parents) about their progress. Keeping regular communication ensure that students get the most benefit from lessons, as lessons are customized for each student for their needs (e.g. more music or less for assignment during exam week, wanting to learn Final Fantasy or anime music, participating concert/contest, working on writing a trio, auditioning to graduate school piano program, etc.)
Technology: Technology enhances teaching but does not replace teaching. Our studio use the right amount of technology to facilitate student learning. In lessons, we incorporate video recording for students to learn self-critique, recording proper technique to emulate for home practice, or for bravo moments. Apps/software for ear training, music notating, and sightreading are among the few things technology can help in providing instant feedback for at home practice. Technology is also vital for communicating in a timely manner with studio families and students, as well as for document sharing, and giving responsive advice on assignment questions to enable effective home practice.