When I was working in the Corporate world and told colleagues that I was a pianist, I would often get one of the following responses:
“Oh, I’d love to be able to play the piano”
“I used to play when I was younger – I’d love to start playing again”
Well, why not?
Playing the piano is an excellent form of stress relief. I write more about this in my blog (click here). It is also a great outlet for creativity, which can often be stifled in our professional lives (particularly in areas such as accounting where creativity is frowned upon!) I believe that more and more people are returning to the things that they loved when they were younger – or starting things that they’ve always wanted to do – as a way to deal with the pressures of modern life and to restore some balance.
I am very interested in working with adult beginners, and returners up to an early advanced level (approx. Grade 8).
Lessons will be guided by the aims and interests of each individual student. Some students may want a formal, classical approach which includes notation, technical exercises and repertoire. Others may prefer to focus on developing a good grounding in chords and harmony to enable them to play popular songs by ear or by using lead sheets. I always encourage my students to develop a strong knowledge of chords and harmony as these are the building blocks of music and, by understanding what we play, we gain more enjoyment and fulfillment from our playing.
Many of my returners come to me having had a relatively traditional, classically-based education when they were young – very often with a focus on graded exams. Some may want to continue down this route, maybe continuing to take exams – and I am happy to help them do so. However, many who began on this route became disillusioned with the narrow requirements of an exam-focused approach which is often why they gave up. In many of these cases, the students had not been taught how to use chords in order to play by ear, improvise or even compose. Some students may get to a relatively advanced level of playing – e.g. grade 5 and above – without ever having been taught how chord progressions work and how they can be used in these activities. Therefore my focus with these students will be to widen their experience of the piano by introducing them to these activities and giving them a solid foundation in the workings of chords and harmony.