Piano lessons in the city of Bath

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Piano Lessons in Bath for 2015

Looking for piano lessons in Bath? Do your children need extra piano tuition in addition to their school lessons? Or maybe you are looking for a new direction and inspiration for your piano playing?

Whatever the reason, get in touch with me today to organise a free introductory piano lesson. In January 2015 I will be going full time with teaching, and so will have many more early afternoon and evening slots available all through the week. I also have availability during the day, so if you are not working 9 – 5 hours, I may have a slot for you.

I teach many pupils at present, from a range of backgrounds and requirements. I have provided extra tuition for students already learning at school, providing alternative directions and ideas where existing tuition is heading into a rut. I also teach adult beginners, some completely from scratch who have always wanted to play but never had the time. It’s a wonderful experience to watch someone develop from nothing to playing a piece of music with both hands confidently.

I also work for The Piano Shop Bath, so I can advise you on getting the best piano for your budget.  And when I am not teaching, I am studying for my own advanced repertoire, as well as writing my own music for concerts. So if you ever want to delve deeper into the music, be it performance, composition, or the history of music, you will get plenty of information from me!

So get in touch today by clicking on the ‘Contact’ tab.

The Spring Student Recital

This post has been slightly delayed due my hectic teaching schedule, but I have finally grabbed five minutes to report on the wonderful student recital that took place in March. Back in December, I teamed up with Bath-based piano teacher Susanna Downes to organise a recital evening, where our students could play their pieces. You can read about this recital by following this link. It was a thorough success and this spurred Susanna and me to carry  on what we had started!

We decided to hold future recitals on a quarterly basis, to give a sense of momentum to both students and parents. Having these recitals on a regular basis will give the students something regular to work towards outside of music exams. In music exams, a large part of the marks are given to performance, and yet there is little guidance on how to work on this. This is because performing is something you have to do regularly in order to gain experience; you learn how to deal with the inevitable nerves and demands of concentration.

Creating a performance environment is not a simple task. From a teachers’ perspective it is potentially a logistical nightmare. I have tried to compile a to do list, which is not exclusive, and hopefully gives an idea of what is involved:

  1. Find a suitable hall that is large enough, has chairs on site and is easy to access for all your students.
  2. Coordinate with parents to find a suitable date and see if that is available with the hall.
  3. If there is no piano on site, you need to arrange for delivery, removal and tuning of the piano.
  4. Invitations/tickets for the recital and repeated confirmations/reminders with parents to attend!
  5. Arrange Drinks/refreshments.
  6. Arrive a good few hours before doors open to arrange the hall and for a concert performance.

As I mentioned, this is not an exclusive list and you need to be prepared for all the things that might go wrong! We had one or two minor things, but the main aspects of the recital were well prepared for and as a result it went smoothly.

Organising an event like this provides little financial return for the teacher, and requires a great deal of organisation on top of regular teaching commitments. So why did we go to all of this effort? It was, of course, all for the students and their musical development. I still remember getting an unnecessary amount of nerves in music exams, simply because I was not used to performing outside of the exam room. As a consequence, any fun I could have derived from playing the music was diminished, because I was a bundle of nerves.

The only remedy is regular performance practise opportunities, which conditions your mind and body to the unique situation of performing music to an audience. At the heart of our student recitals, we try foster an atmosphere of support from the audience (who are anyway family and friends) giving the student something to feed off and help settle them into the music. When you can do this, you start to enjoy the music and performing to an audience.

St John’s church hall provided the setting; a medium-size hall, with excellent acoustics, and the essential kitchen area for serving tea and squash! We also continued our proud association with The Piano Shop Bath, who sponsored the evening and really spoilt us. The Piano Shop Bath supplied a Yamaha C7 concert grand, professionally delivered by the the delivery team and expertly tuned by Stephen Cooper. You can see from the pictures how good it looks, but more importantly it has an exceptionally balanced action and tone. As a pianist, I can tell you that having a quality instrument beneath your fingers inspires good playing, as you are not wasting effort worrying about certain keys that are getting stuck, or an action which is too heavy for all those delicate passages you spent hours practising. So many thanks once again to The Piano Shop Bath and the team for making this possible for the students.

A performance on the Yamaha C7 grand piano

A performance on the Yamaha C7 grand piano

As performers and families arrived, it quickly became clear that this event was going to be a sell-out! A fantastic turnout ensured rapturous applause for all the players, all of whom excelled in their performances. The occasion was clearly motivating everyone to play their best; I could tell my students had nerves, but they were clearly rising to the occasion and bringing out polished performances. My weekly teaching advise of ‘remember to keep counting’ was definitely being utilised, to my relief. And it was a very proud moment for me, to see students who I had taught from a point of not knowing a piece, to performing in a recital with such confidence. To answer an earlier question, this is why we put in the work to organise the recital.

Certificates being awarded at the Spring Recital

Certificates being awarded at the Spring Recital

All the players were awarded a certificate for their efforts, and seeing those previously nerve-wracked faces replaced by beams of confidence and pride, was a very touching moment. The question soon being asked was, ‘When is the next one?’ Susanna and I have already begun organising the next recital for summer, and I look forward immensely to see how the students have progressed.

Bath Piano Lessons – First Blog

This is the beginning of hopefully a regular blog on my piano lessons in Bath, UK.

Teaching piano offers a unique insight into people’s development as pianists. In my own piano studies, it is easy to get lost in endless self analysis and criticism. Hours of finessing legato lines and running octaves can narrow one’s outlook on learning, so teaching is a really good way to learn more about the instrument and the difficulties people can encounter with it.

I have a range of students from the youngest at 5 years of age to mature adult beginners. Each one presents challenges, as no two students are the same. We are all individuals, learning at different rates and responding to different teaching methods.

The two keys to teaching I have discovered so far are patience and empathy. Empathy is probably the most important skill of all. If I have a student who is losing concentration, I need to immediately ask myself ‘if I were in their shoes, why would I be losing concentration?’ This is especially pertinent for young beginners and I have found that this lovely summer weather can be a major distraction! So mixing up the lesson plan, trying new exercises and even just taking a 30 second breather can really help to find that focus for the last ten minutes of a lesson.

That’s it for now, but I hope to keep a more regular posting of teaching observations, my own studies and music life in Bath in general!

If you are looking for piano lessons in Bath or near by, then please do get in touch via my contact form!

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