When a student is "combative," she's trying to communicate with you.
Though everyone is under many different pressures in their lives, teenage students are under a complex and changing set of influences, which make their experience unique. Actions, body language, and other behaviors are simply alternate forms of communication that we all use throughout our lives when we are somehow unable to communicate through language. Read More
It was 2:00 a.m. New York time when he tracked me down in San Francisco. He phoned and said: while he didn't have any connections with the Berlin Philharmonic, he could get me a recital at Carnegie Hall. Read More
"Just close your eyes."
Hmmm. Now that she has her eyes closed I had to think of something fast. I grabbed some pink Post-Its and stickers and made a Peek-a-Book Window.
"OK, you can open your eyes now." Read More
She saw the Puppy and Lizard. Huge smile.
He got it right. The whole thing. The vibe. The titles. The ridiculous tempo markings. Read More
Tips for successful duet teaching:
1. Choose music that is substantially easier than the less skilled person could play on their own.
It's surprisingly challenging for a pianist to play with another person, especially for the first time. I play duets constantly with my students, but... Read More
There’s a rich and snobbish tradition that says that if you’re a good teacher you don’t need to use a method. It's a Catch-22. No one wants to identify as a bad teacher. Even the worst of us. But perhaps even the best of us can admit that we'd like some help to be our best? Read More
I realize I had mistakenly believed I could teach the learning difference right out of her. I knew better. Brains aren't like that. They can be challenged. They can grow and change. But to think that I shouldn't help her in the ways that she specifically needed help was ridiculous. And just plain mean.
She smiled pleasantly. No clue what I was talking about.
I suddenly had a flash of realization that isn't how I process them at all. I don't stop and think, "Oh look, there are two line notes hanging out next to each other."
I actually felt something when I saw those different intervals. It was something inside me and it didn't have to do with lines and spaces. Read More
"That window is crap!" I blurted out.
Not my most elegantly phrased response.
She looked scared to believe me but terribly relieved. The mother of an adorable daughter, age 5, had just confessed... Read More
I'm trying to help you - the independent studio piano teacher - become clearer about what you want in your life. Read More