Nathan Eisentraut

Piano Teacher • Music Mentor • Collaborative Artist

780.999.9691 •

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Piano Practicing, Piano Lessons and Nathan's Strengths

Piano lessons are really all about piano practicing!

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;
it is primarily practicing (along with some inspiration) that brings forth the abilities.

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!"

-Katie, after 4 years with Nathan

Piano Lessons

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!"

-Daniel, age 10, on a thank-you card after 1.5 years with Nathan

"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."

-Daniel (again), age 11, on a thank-you card before moving away after 2.5 years with Nathan

Nathan's Strengths

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.

-Anne Fath, after 2 years with Nathan

Helping students embrace ‘failure’ as a road to success

Being able to dis-identify with any particular attempt can free the student to be able to imagine creating something new from within, and to find the focus and perseverance to work through enough attempts to bring it to outward fruition.

The use of encouraging, honest language together with a sense of adventure, and a willingness to smile through his own struggles in front of his students, can put Nathan in an excellent position to disarm them from themselves so they can enjoy the process of making mistakes and moving forward.

Preparing students for RCM exams

Though the RCM way of understanding music is only one path of many, Nathan can prepare students for exams if it will serve their needs.

Nathan has had multiple students successfully pass RCM exams in both practical piano and theory at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Working with boys

While a great teacher for girls too, boys of a certain age tend to get an extra boost from working with someone who shares their gender, if for no other reason than the variety it can bring if most of their other early teachers are female.

Working with adults

Nathan’s capability of explaining things in direct, different, and detailed ways tends to jive well with those who like to know all about what they are going to do – and why! – before they even contemplate doing it.

Conversely, Nathan can also get out of the way for those who like to do first and think later...if it is still necessary.

Whichever learning style, Nathan considers himself at least as much a coach as a teacher when working with other grownups.