Antonio Carlos Jobim
This is just a small selection from the huge library of music that I have at my disposal.
“Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”
- Wassily Kandinsky
“The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind.”
– Maria Cristina Mena
“If life was a piano light and darkness would be the keys. And shadows would be the melody that creates the harmony.”
– Joe Rodriguez
“There are eighty-eight keys on a piano and within that, an entire universe.”
– James Rhodes
It is hardly surprising to find so much praise lavished on the piano. An instrument of extraordinary power and intensity, so dramatic, yet capable of the subtlest nuance of expression, it has an exquisite ability to articulate every human emotion. From the sublime harmonies of Chopin to the dazzling counterpoint of Bach, the complexity of Rachmaninoff to the simplicity of Satie, the riotous ragtimes of Joplin to the torrid tangos of Piazzolla, the piano really does offer something for everyone.
The piano is a lifetime companion, always there to accompany you through life’s ups and downs. It will celebrate your greatest moments with you, and offer you solace when you need it. Whatever your day has thrown at you, to sit down at the end of it and express yourself through your favourite music is both liberating and renewing.
If you are new to the piano then you are in safe hands, I will guide you through the first steps patiently and carefully, and always at a pace you are comfortable with. Lessons are informal and light-hearted, without compromising on diligence or attention to detail. As I take you step-by-step through reading music, you may be surprised to find that it is not as daunting as it might first appear. Don’t worry about remembering everything, I would never expect that, familiarity with the fundamentals is gained over time by doing, and I am more than happy to go over anything that needs further explanation as many times as you like. Music is interactive, it is about getting involved, starting with something you know, and then building your confidence and experience through successful practice.
To achieve success, it is important for a teacher to understand and appreciate that people hear and visualise things in different ways, so what works for one student may not work for another. In addition to this, hand size and finger length vary enormously from person to person, as does muscle tone and flexibility in the wrists and arms. It is my job to find the right approach for you, to explain and demonstrate concepts in a way that make you feel confident in your understanding, and ready and eager to give it a go. Approaching new concepts in different ways helps to achieve a clear and balanced understanding and reinforces progress with confidence and authority.
As your confidence grows, we move through a wide and varied selection of pieces designed to introduce you to different styles and techniques. To complement this, I have an extensive range of materials from the ABRSM grade syllabus to help us measure your progress as we go.
Along the way we will be developing your ‘touch’, that is to say the way you physically connect with the piano as you play. Success in any instrument involves expressing the emotion and energy you are feeling through a mechanical interface without losing any of its intensity and nuance. Your emotional intent and musical passion need to negotiate the journey from your imagination to your fingertips unhindered, and your body, shoulders, arms, wrists and elbows all have a role to play in expressing each note and phrase with just the right delivery, just the right touch to convey your emotion to your audience, and of course to your own ears.
At this point it is worth mentioning the numerous volumes of exercises that exist which promise to transform you into a virtuoso. Exercises certainly have their place for the serious pianist with Hanon, Czerny, Schmitt and Joseffy leading the way, but these should be used wisely and appropriately. The careful guidance of an experienced teacher is essential not only to check that the techniques are developing correctly, but also to balance the workload of the advancing pianist so that exercises don't become an end in themselves. Mastering the scales and arpeggios in all their forms is infinitely more useful to the music, and it is the music that must always take precedence. In short, exercises must always serve the music.
By this stage, your own musical preferences will have started to assert themselves and as you continue to explore and develop your own unique musical style, this will shape the direction of our progress as we move on. More advanced techniques will be explored naturally as we start to explore more complex pieces, and experiment with different tone qualities, textures and more complex rhythmic patterns. As you start thinking about how to interpret and express the music, you will gain the knowledge, confidence and, most importantly, a sense of authority with which to put your own stamp on it, to play it your way.
And from there we can explore anything from Beethoven’s soothing Moonlight Sonata to Satie’s hypnotic Gymnopedie No.1; the beautiful second Nocturne by Chopin to Bach’s ‘Ave Maria’ Prelude; or perhaps you would prefer more contemporary works from the likes of Michael Nyman (‘The Piano’) and Einaudi (‘I Giorni’ and ‘Le Onde’); then of course there are the iconic rags of Scott Joplin ('Maple Leaf Rag', 'The Entertainer', 'Pineapple Rag' to name but a few), or how about a bit of swing, anything from ‘As Time Goes By’ and ‘Summertime’ to ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘What A Wonderful World’ and ‘Georgia On My Mind’; or go bluesy with ‘Angel Eyes’, or Latin with ‘Chega De Saudade’. I have an extensive library covering everything from classical to jazz ensuring you will be able you to truly find your style and play confidently in any situation.
Rodgers & Hart
I also have extensive selections from a wide range of genres including classical, swing, blues, Latin, and a huge collection of jazz standards and ballads.
Your first lesson is completely free with absolutely no obligation to continue. So come along and give it a try, you have absolutely nothing to lose and you never know, we might just unleash your inner superstar!
Phone: 02392 340304
Mob/Text: 07941 001755