Teaching Philosophy

My principal aim is to instill a life-long love of music in each student .

As a piano teacher, I'm always saddened when I hear someone say, "Oh, I learned piano as a kid, but I don't play anymore!"

I judge my success as a teacher not by how many competitions my students win, but by the depth and longevity of their relationship with the piano. Some of my students have gone on to pursue successful careers in piano performance and teaching. Others have taken different paths. But all have acquired the skills they need to enjoy music making throughout their lives.

My teaching methods are designed to foster joy, confidence, and creativity. I carefully craft lesson plans so that students will feel a sense of accomplishment each week. And, while all my students must gain familiarity with a range of musical styles, I ensure that each has ample opportunity to play music they love.

My lessons are holistic. Simply learning one piece after another cannot do justice to the remarkably rich tradition of piano performance. In addition to varied repertoire, my students learn sight-reading, ear training, music analysis and history. I also ensure that all of my students develop the technical facility to play with power and ease. Proper technique is essential to preventing injury and necessary for long-term engagement.

Music lessons are quite unique in today's educational environment in that teachers get to work with students one to one. We piano teachers have the rare opportunity to tailor our teaching methods to suit the needs of each student. In the first few lessons with a new student, I learn as much as I can about their musical background, strengths, weaknesses, interests, and temperament. Then I create lesson plans to match.
 

Performances, Exams & Competitions

 

Music is meant to be shared! I strongly encourage all of my students to perform in whatever way makes the most sense for them, whether that be a complete solo recital at a concert hall or participation in an informal house concert.  I typically organize one studio recital each year. I believe that artists have a responsibility to their communities. As such, I also arrange performances for myself and my students at retirement homes and hospitals from time to time.

I am an enthusiastic proponent of Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Examinations. At these exams, students perform several contrasting repertoire selections and technical exercises, and demonstrate their sight-reading and ear training abilities. RCM Exams are wonderful goals to work towards and they provide students with helpful feedback from expert adjudicators. ABRSM Examinations are great as well and I am happy to work with students towards these if they prefer.

Competitions are good for some students and not for others. I discuss competitions on a case by case basis with my students.

 

Studio Admission

I welcome students of all ages and levels to my studio!

 

All students should be ready to commit to practicing at least five days a week. The amount of time spent at the piano will naturally vary from student to student. Practice time depends on many factors, including age and level, the desired rate of progress and, most importantly, the productivity of the practice. When it comes to practicing, I emphasize quality over quantity. Students should get up from each practice session feeling proud that they accomplished what they set out to do, whether they just spent 20 minutes or 2 hours at the piano.

For rates, fees and availability, please contact me through this website.

© 2020 by Elissa Miller-Kay