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Our Methods (Note: as we had a fire, we do not have the group lessons at this time. We are searching for a new place to continue wth the concepts below. Thank you).
We use a variety of methods to enhance the learning experience for students. They range from traditional technique and theory as well as repertoire to more experimental methods like group learning, student collaboration and the Levels Advancement System.
Students will gain a solid technical and theoretical background in a fun and exciting way. Basic technique is learned and reinforced in a gentle manner, taking into consideration that students, especially younger ones, are trying to perform skills that require two, three of four functions at the same time. Therefore, I do not overly focus on perfect technique as that can be defeating. As students grow and become more skilled and gain more coordination, they are capable of greater concentration on technique and move towards mastery. (of course, I work on certain basics).
This follows with theory and performance as well. Students will gain the level of mastery they are capable of at a certain age or time in their musical development and as they grow, will be able to gain more and more mastery and move towards higher levels of musical expression. This keeps them interested, motivated and feeling good about themselves and their learning.
The levels system is a great motivator as students will want to move up the levels and work towards moving forward. The feeling of being a part of a group is satisfying and the desire to master something and earn that next level is enjoyable and fun!
The Levels Advancement System
Students learn music in a group setting and develop their piano/instrument skills. They will gain all of the musical knowledge and theory as in a private lesson but with the added benefit of working with other students and actually using their skills in performance on a continuing basis. Students learn the basics and apply them to their instrument. They then work in an ensemble setting to learn that aspect of music. Students are highly motivated when they perform and work with other students and have the opportunity to show their talent and skill at frequent intervals. As students progress, they perform in class to "Move up" a level and receive a new tee-shirt and certificate. These frequent advancements are motivational and help keep students interested and wanting to study. We also offer a yearly concert to showcase their hard work all year!
The Keyboard Orchestra:
(Grades K through 4)
Students work with a partner in a small group and learn their part, just like a clarinet player in a band would do. They then play as a group (Orchestra) and perform the piece in class. I also have backing tracks that students play along with to add to the excitement. Students will perform in class for their fellow students and parents when they move up the levels. There are selected, theory and information to master to move up. Students will also collaborate and help each other learn in class.
I use Yamaha keyboards designed as a lab in a class setting. Each keyboard seats two students where they can work individually or together. This allows students to work at their own pace and collaborate as well. When students learn, teaching or helping other students produces the greatest level of retention and learning. Students will many times learn something better from each other than a teacher or an adult!! When all parts are learned well enough, we try the entire class performing the piece.
We offer private lessons throughout the year. If a student wants, they can have a private lesson to help clarify concepts or help them with a particular problem. There are some included with certain packages.
Older students may want to work in more of a rock or popular band setting. Students will learn their instruments as a band. The same idea as the Keyboard Orchestra applies. We work on a song and all the parts are given out. As the parts are simple to begin, we can play a song on the first day and move forward from their. This is open to students who already study and just want to play with other students. They can stay with their current teacher and play with our band class!
Students who sing or just want to learn to accompany a singer or a band can study in small groups to learn accompaniment styles. Many students of Broadway can benefit from being able to accompany themselves of even plunk out a melody. I teach a simple, attainable method where students play chords structures and progressions in different styles. "Laying down" chords and singing to them is a great way to develop intonation as well as singing harmony and getting "feel" for pitch and harmony singing! Singing along with the melody is a great way to master it for auditions or performances.
I teach vocal technique, and interpretation to students in many styles. Basic classical technique together with working on the particular style (Rock, Popular, Broadway) the student is interested in can greatly improve one's ability and make a difference in an audition or a band setting!
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