‘All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.’
My teaching method has two main focuses:
1. To teach the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal School of Music) Jazz & Blues Grades 1-5, and the LCM (London College of Music) Jazz & Blues Grades 6-8. This includes all scales, aurals and sight-reading components.
2. To enable students who don’t want to do exams, to build up a repertoire of music they love.
More details below:
1. Exam Material
You don’t have to be a Jazz fiend to get enjoyment from the Jazz & Blues grades. There are many melodic and beautiful tunes to choose from. Fly Me To The Moon, Inchworm, Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby… to name a few!
Mastering the Jazz & Blues exam material will give you targets and a sense of accomplishment whether or not you choose to sit an exam.
I have decided to teach the Jazz & Blues grades rather than the Classical grades for one important reason: the Classical grades teach you to sight-read, but the Jazz & Blues grades teach you to sight-read AND play by ear. If you follow the Jazz exams you will learn to sight-read well enough to play classical music. If you restrict yourself to the Classical exams you will never know the freedom that comes from playing by ear.
2. Your Repertoire
Right from the start I will encourage you to build up a body of music that you can play confidently without the music in front of you. Wherever you go, and wherever there is a piano, you will always be able to play and never have to say, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve left my music at home!’
You choose the music that goes on your repertoire. It can be tunes you’ve always wanted to play, or ones I’ve introduced you to that you particularly enjoy. Or maybe ones that you’ve composed yourself! I give you regular opportunities to learn new pieces for your repertoire as well as the time to keep up with the ones you’ve already learnt.
I make this an important part of the learning process because I feel that too often piano students spend a long time learning a piece of music only to forget it when they move on to the next piece. Besides, if you haven’t got a body of music that you can sit down and play for your own and other people’s pleasure, then frankly, what’s the point?!
In a nutshell, learning an instrument involves both practice and pleasure. The exam material provides the practice, the repertoire provides the pleasure!