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About John S.
John has over 3 years of 1-1 teaching experience. In this time he has taught people from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, and abilities. He has learned to be extremely adaptable, able to tailor the delivery of the content he teaches to suit each student’s individual learning needs. In addition to his adaptability, he is also able to quickly make meaningful connections with students from all kinds of backgrounds due to his upbringing in three countries and experience in many different educational systems.
He received a 1st Class Honours undergraduate degree in Music at the University of York and is currently undertaking a postgraduate degree in piano performance at the Royal Northern College of Music. The fact that he is actively and passionately pursuing a career in performance gives inspiration to his students and helps excite them about playing their instrument.
Teaching in Piano
John teaches the piano from beginners to advanced students, ages 5 and up.
John focuses on teaching a firm foundation of technique and theory in order to allow for more advanced skills to be learned effectively in the future. This emphasis on good technique also importantly helps prevent potential injuries.
In general, lessons include working on technique, learning a piece, and sight-reading as these are the three areas which John judges to be the most important areas to develop in order to excel at the piano. Technique gives a foundation on which to progress. Learning a piece provides a place in which to put technique work into practice, and is an effective way to learn music theory. Sight-reading helps develop fluency at the piano and with notated music. With each of these areas John adjusts the style and speed of delivery to suit each student.
In order to make the most of the lessons, an appropriate amount and style of practice is recommended for all students. John structures his lessons in a way that helps familiarise his students with structuring their own practice sessions.
John takes his students through exams as he values the skills and performance experience they help develop. His preferred board is ABRSM, but also will teach Trinity. However, he will not pressure any student to take exams if they are uncomfortable with it or specifically want to focus on other areas.
John specialises in classical music, but also teaches pop music, playing by ear, and using a chord sheet.
At the beginning of the first lesson John will chat with the student about music and any other interests the student may have. He does this for two main reasons. The first is in order to learn what the student is interested in and understands in case there are any teaching links to be made to music. The second is simply in order to help develop a good connection with his students, as a healthy teacher-student relationship is of utmost importance.
The first lesson will be focused on putting the student at ease and helping John figure out how best to move forward in a way that will allow the student to progress as effectively as possible. He will do some technical work and ensure the student knows important fundamental things (such as how best to sit at the piano). He will then help the student decide a piece they want to learn and start learning it or give them a plan to start it before the next lesson.
All students are requested to bring a pencil and a notebook. John will use the notebook in lessons to write down what they cover so that the student knows what they need to be working on between lessons.
John remembers how nerve-wracking it can be to start lessons with someone for the first time. It can feel very daunting when a teacher asks a student to try new things push them to improve, but may be just beyond their ability at that moment in time. John ensures that his lessons are a ‘no judgement zone’ for students to get creative and learn from mistakes.