I offer lessons in the following areas:
- piano / keyboard
- beginning guitar
- songwriting / composition / music theory
For beginning piano and guitar students, I use a graded lesson series such as those published by Alfred or Hal Leonard. For voice students, I will typically select songs from various genres (music theater, popular music, classical arias, etc.), depending on the student’s skill level and interests, and work on technical aspects such as support and breath control as well as more interpretive aspects such as dynamics and phrasing. For more advanced piano students, I will select literature usually from a wide range of composers/genres (everything from Bach to Thelonious Monk) that will challenge them to develop new skills and techniques. I also help students work on sight-reading, improvising, playing “by ear”, and notating and composing music. We will also discuss the historical and social significance of music.
I also use some of the latest music technology in my lessons, having various music teaching software installed on the computers in my studio which are connected to MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) piano keyboards. So students can learn things such as note recognition, ear training, scales, keys, etc. through some pretty cool, fun and interactive computer programs.
I teach all styles and genres of music including classical, jazz, music theater, and pop/rock. And, while I believe that having a well-rounded music education is important and encourage students to try a wide variety of different styles, I also understand that sometimes we want to focus on only one type of music, so I try to tailor my lessons and use music that will hold the student’s interest.
I am also an extremely patient teacher. I understand that everyone works and learns at a different pace, so don’t worry if you’re afraid you won’t catch on quickly! I will help and encourage you!
I teach all ages. I currently have students as young as five and as old as 70. It’s never too late or early to learn!
WHY YOU SHOULD STUDY WITH ME
As the father of two kids, I’m also one of the most patient teachers you’ll find. A lot of that patience comes from my own personal experience of having spent a few years as a stay-at-home dad with my own two children. Not that child-less teachers can’t learn how to interact with children, but my experience has been that having kids of your own helps a lot and gives you a greater insight into working with young people.
Also, you will find that many music instructors have “day jobs” and teach music only part time; so they simply don’t have time to prepare for your lesson and think about what could be beneficial to you. That’s not the case with me. Teaching music is all I do and I spend a large portion of my non-teaching time thinking about my students, selecting music for them, and preparing lessons that will help take them to the next level.
Not only does teaching out of my home allow me to be affordable, it also gives us plenty of elbow room! There’s plenty of room for mom, dad and other siblings. This is a nice change from the scenario in most music stores where you’re crammed into a small, closet-like lesson room with no windows!
Finally, I am not only a musician (pianist, guitarist, vocalist) but also, and more importantly, a composer. And because of my training and vocation as a composer, I bring a unique element to music instruction that most ordinary teachers lack. When you think of great musicians of the past, they were pretty much all composers: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. These composers were highly sought after as teachers. They were the instructors with whom other musicians wanted to study. Why? Because composers are the ones who not only play music, but who create music! Think about it. Would you learn more about cars from somebody who just knows how to drive a car? Or from someone who knows how to build a car? Likewise, there are piano teachers out there who can teach you what notes to play and which fingers to use, etc. But they do not have nearly the level of expertise and understanding about the “big picture” in music as those of us who are composers.
In addition to my diverse musical background, I have been fortunate to experience great diversity in the students I teach. Not only do I welcome all ages of students, but students of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. People come to Champaign-Urbana from all over the world to study or work at the University of Illinois and many of these folks have sought me out as a teacher because of my appreciation for diversity. I have taught students from all across the globe—from Argentina to Venezuela, from Korea to Iran, and almost everywhere in between! I appreciate not only teaching my students about the universal language of music, but learning from them about their unique cultural and musical heritage and incorporating this into their lessons.