Piano Practicing, Piano Lessons and Nathan's Strengths
Piano lessons are really all about piano practicing!
Piano practice comes in many forms, and for many reasons, but at its core, it is exercise for body, mind and soul.
For some, the routine of focusing on music provides a peaceful, grounding part of their day.
For others, eager for the next musical challenge, it is the ultimate brain game.
There are those who particularly like the physicality of making music with their hands.
Whether you want to (in any combination):
- delve into the great works of art written for the instrument;
- play with others;
- perform with confidence;
- compose your own great works of art;
- improvise; or,
- explore other piano activities that bring music into your life;
Whatever level, pace, or inclination, practicing piano can be deeply satisfying, and just plain fun.
"When I first started lessons with Nathan, I was a young girl who for the past 6 years just 'played' the piano. Nathan taught me how to play rhythmically correct, practice efficiently, and all the while play with the emotion and depth that makes music pieces enjoyable and fun to learn!"
While piano practicing offers many rewards, it can also be:
- hard to start without a guide;
- difficult to stick to without a relevant purpose;
- frustrating when it is unclear why something is not going to plan; or,
- uninspiring when there is no discernable progress.
Lessons are meant to help with these kinds of things and more by providing an opportunity to learn with someone who has been there before, and who shares an interest in making music at the piano.
"Thank you so much for teaching me this wonderful way of playing a piano. I am so very grateful and had a blast! I will always play every day for the whole summer!"
"I thank you so so very much in improving my skills and making me more mature and polite. Whenever I play piano I will always remember you and your kindness."
Piano lessons come with a variety of teaching styles with each teacher having a different perspective. Here are some of the areas where Nathan is most influential with his students.
Helping students overcome rhythmic coordination difficulties
Nathan had trouble keeping the beat for most of his life (including all through his formal education) before developing his own practice methods that finally enabled him to feel the pulse securely.
These symmetrical, comparative practice methods use the body to provide immediate, physical feedback so that the student can knowingly adjust to move smoothly in rhythm with both hands.
Helping students use spatial reasoning in music reading and traversing the piano
While our ears evaluate pitch, on piano, different pitches come from different locations in space, forcing us to move to find them.
An emphasis on shapes and patterns through time and space on the piano and how they correspond to shapes and patterns on the music score helps reduce the steps it takes to read music fluently, and land on the intended keys.
Introducing the elements of music in a natural, integrated way
Nathan routinely challenges the student to make and refine their own rules about how things (such as practicing, harmony, and rhythm) work, ultimately leading the student, through their own progression, to either the commonly-accepted musical understandings, or even deeper ones.
This highly flexible approach is anchored by potential. If there are rules – conscious or unconscious – that are now limiting, this approach aims to spot them and, through gentle persuasion*, help prepare the student to move past them on their own.
*only if, of course, the student is not already delighted to simply shed such restrictive beliefs!
Nathan is an exceptional piano teacher. As an adult student I've taken music lessons from several excellent teachers over many years, but no one else has ever taught me to practice as effectively as Nathan has. A highly intelligent and reflective musician, he has a deep understanding of the learning process and is continually coming up with new ways to effectively help students understand difficult concepts.
When my 6-year-old son also started lessons, Nathan was very good at holding his interest and keeping lessons creative. I have the impression that Nathan really thinks about what will work best for each student and adjusts his approach accordingly. He does an impressive amount of preparatory work custom designing exercises for students at various levels. I highly recommend studying with him.