Learning to play the Piano through self expression, discovery, & fun
- Have you wanted to learn to play the piano?
- Do you have memories of learning as a child and now wish you had continued?
- Are you someone who says I can only play if I have the written music?
- Are you someone who says I can only play by ear?
Perhaps you can remember a time when you were excited about learning to play the piano. Then that excitement disappeared. Playing the piano became little more than boring technical exercises and practicing the same pieces over and over.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Would you like to learn to make music in a joyful way?
- You can begin or continue to learn at any age.
- You can let go of regret and take lessons again.
- Everyone has the capacity to create and express themselves at the piano. I can show you how.
- Anyone can learn to read written music. If you can read these words, you can read music notation.
Learning how to play piano was a big dream of mine (as I have loved this beautiful instrument since I was a little boy) but I’ve never quite dared to venture into learning it, as in the past my uncle used to tease me saying that I was tone deaf.
I’ve known Craig for a while and I knew he was an amazing piano player, but I knew nothing about his teaching methods. However life, with it’s mysterious ways, had Craig and I cross paths enough times to encourage me to pursue this dream by asking Craig to give me piano lessons.
His method of teaching left me profoundly impressed. His patience, his charisma and the love for the instrument are infectious. His approach is quite unique, and even though I never took lessons from anybody else, I can sense his enthusiasm and the love for the instrument and teaching. I feel very comfortable and confident that one day not too long from now I will be able to express myself through music… and this is the catch: Craig doesn’t ONLY teach you a song or a 100… he teaches you how to express the music “trapped” inside of you… that in itself is a whole other ball game. His level of presence throughout the lessons will make your learning experiences very enjoyable and transformational. I am really happy I took the leap to study piano with Craig as I am beyond satisfied and honoured to be his student. I recommend to anybody interested in learning how to play piano to give Craig’s lessons a shot… go through one lesson and see it for yourself as these words don’t do much justice in conveying the experience.
P.S: …and guess what?… Craig helped me prove to myself that I am not tone deaf at all… : )
Distinguishing differences in what I offer as a piano teacher
My approach to teaching is from a classical tradition with one very major difference. I have a commitment to the value and benefits of learning to improvise. As students gain facility with this, they will discover an access to a very deep and satisfying self expression and creativity. The great classical masters and musicians in general, had a great facility with improvising. Somewhere in the evolution of classical music training, this was lost. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and many others were famous for their remarkable abilities to improvise. I have a passion and commitment to bring that back. It’s a great tool for gaining a sense of freedom in your playing, even when you are not improvising, and for exploring musical theory and technique in a fun and engaging way. You also develop a capacity to deal with the unexpected when you perform or play which ALWAYS happens.
Upon hearing the word “Improvisation”, you may understandably leap to the conclusion that I teach Jazz performance. I do not. If this genre is your passion, you will want to seek out a teacher who specializes in that idiom.
I came to Craig for instruction in improvising after having enjoyed his concerts and been inspired by his playing. I found Craig to be gentle, encouraging, creative. He presents the material of the lesson, and the exercises to practice in a visual mind-mapping graphic, which I found fun and useful. I highly recommend Craig as a teacher for anyone wanting to develop their piano playing, or improvisation skills, in particular for adult learners, either new to piano, or with a background with other instructors. Craig offers a warm pleasant atmosphere in which to learn, and a style that is supportive of the full range of learners.
When you learn to improvise you are really learning to compose music spontaneously. You may discover that you want to learn to write your music down and to think about it more formally and structurally. I’ll also teach you composition if you discover this as an interest for yourself.
As much as possible, I take an approach where students learn and discover for themselves. This is, from my perspective, a much more powerful and rewarding learning experience. Of course I’ll show you how to do things, but usually only when it shows up in your own process of learning. If you want a highly linear and regimented approach to learning (perfectly valid and workable for many) I may not be your teacher.
I had taken more than 10 years of piano lessons when I was growing up, and once I was ‘allowed’ to quit, I never touched the keyboard again until just recently when I signed up for lessons with Craig. I knew it would be a battle for me as I had anxiety around teachers, lessons and exams leftover from when I was a kid. I had also only been taught one way where music was plunked in front of me and I had to ‘practice till perfect’ with someone hovering over my shoulder.
Craig’s approach is much different and I knew that if anyone could calm my anxiety around playing, it would be him. His calm demeanour and his understanding of what many adults have experienced is invaluable. We approach the music several different ways – some of which are easy for me, some of which are harder. What is most novel for me is learning from ear where he plays something, and I repeat it. Lessons with Craig are always relaxed where the theme is ‘let’s just see how this goes’. There is no right or wrong when playing with Craig. In fact, my favourite line of his was when I’d played something wrong, and he said “that wasn’t wrong, that’s just not what the composer wrote.”
So now I find I’m playing the piano for fun and enjoyment, which is a great feeling.
Here’s an example of my Improvising
Contact me today to discuss the possibility of piano lessons
Education & Training:
Piano Performer’s A.R.C.T. (Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto)
B.Mus. (University of British Columbia) – Composition & Piano Performance
For the story behind my passion for teaching read my blog post here – Rediscovering a Passion for Teaching Music