Piano & Music Lessons

Piano & Music Lessons

Learning to play piano and music is a lifelong endeavor.    It is a collection of varied skills  developed over time.   Sometimes people like the idea of making music more than the reality of the actual learning process.   But the incremental practice of learning an instrument and developing musicianship doesn’t have to be something unpleasant.   In fact, with the right attitude and coaching it can be quite enjoyable and even life altering.

My approach to teaching piano begins from  the simple idea that there are many ways to learn.     There is no one  ”right” method.  Every student is unique and assimilates the information and skills in their own way.   Some people have a great musical ear  but lack the physical coordination at the instrument while some  are naturally great sight readers or absorb theoretical information easily.  I start off by learning as much as I can about the person I am working with and then try to tailor the lessons to their own interests and aptitudes.   Working from their strengths to  build their confidence  but then eventually helping them with their weaknesses as well.

The reality is that most people learn how to play music well because, regardless of natural ability,  they develop a consistent habit of practice.    A good teacher is more an enthusiastic coach who guides the student to develop good habits by sustaining their interest.   This interest is the fuel that motivates the student and over time will enable them to practice and learn for themselves.     One way to  generate this is by working on music that the student loves.   (This is particularly important with children who are more likely to focus and stick with it when they love the sounds they are making.)   By learning pieces and skills that they are passionate about, they are learning about how they hear and are discovering something about themselves.  This develops both creativity and self-awareness, lessons that extend well beyond music  into many other areas of life.

Some of the skills I emphasize in my teaching are:

  • Learning to enjoy music more and have fun with it.
  • Deep, meditative listening skills.
  • Learning how to play by ear in a gradual way that motivates the student, limits frustration and develops the aural imagination.
  • Learning to read music more easily.
  • Clear and concise explanations of useful theory.
  • Developing an easy,  healthy, expressive  and fluid technique at the instrument to prevent injury and to make playing physically pleasurable.
  • Learning from  Jazz, Blues, Classical, Pop, and Latin styles.

With children, in particular, the emphasis is always on fun, positive reinforcement and playing games.     The old style cliche of the strict teacher rapping the knuckles with a ruler is not only an ineffective approach, it often ends up creating, tragically negative associations with music.    Learning to play piano should always be a joyful experience.


1356 Page Street #2 San Francisco, CA 94117