Bon anniversaire, monsieur Dupont!

Gabriel Dupont was born on March 1, 1878. I’ve spoken extensively about his piano works, but his operas were also quite popular. Have a listen to his final opera, Antar. He never got to see it staged before his death, but audiences loved it when it finally premiered in 1921!

Another Exciting Update!

Hi Everyone!

My Recording is finished and now I have the opportunity to release it on a label. So exciting! I could really use some help with fundraising thought. Anyone who donates $20 or more will get a free copy of my 2 CD recording of Gabriel Dupont’s piano music. Please consider donating and sharing with all your friends!

BTW, I’m graduating on Friday! I’m officially Dr. Ties!!

When should you start piano lessons?

A question I often get asked is “when should my son/daughter start piano lessons?” Here’s my take:

Of course every student is different, so there is no true perfect age to start lessons. I rarely take students younger than 6 because of attention span, inability to read and other physical limitations. I also rarely take a student before they know how to read, but starting them as they are learning to read can lessen frustration in reading music. Really any time between ages 6-8 works well to start, but depends on each student. I know other teachers may take younger students, and I give them credit for that, but I am willing to admit I’m not the best teacher for the very young.

Perhaps even more so than age as a determining factor is the intrinsic desire to take piano lessons from the student. If the student shows obvious signs of musical interest and ability, or asks for lessons, that may signify it’s time to start lessons. It depends on what value is placed on taking music lessons, and whether the student is skilled at appreciating delayed gratification. Music takes time to craft. In a world of instant gratification, I try my best to help students understand the satisfying payoff of delayed gratification.

Now, if the student simply doesn’t want to take piano lessons, that may be a good indicator to wait. If the student is unable to find enjoyment, time and/or self-motivation to practice, then lessons may not be the right fit either.

Of course, parents and students must manage expectations. Will every student I teach end up becoming a concert pianist, probably not. But studying piano lessons can provide so many valuable lessons that are applicable to any aspect of life that I would say it’s worth it for that reason alone. I can’t tell you the number of people that have told me they wish they would have either taken piano lessons or never quit. To me, that’s a testimonial of the power of music.

And finally, if you yourself have always wanted to take lessons but feel you can’t or you missed your window, I would challenge you. What’s stopping you? Sure there are challenges to learning as an adult, but there are also advantages, namely that you are doing something that you want to do, not something you are forced to do. I have several adult students who would absolutely beg to differ that it’s not too late in life to learn piano. Will you become a concert pianist, again, probably not. But you might find that being able to sit down at the piano and play something simple or some piece you’ve dreamt of playing enriches your life and your loved ones in ways that you may never have imagined.


Why should you choose the Bearded Piano Teacher

Let’s face it if you are looking for a piano teacher the choices can be overwhelming. Unless you get a personal referral you don’t really know what the teacher is going to be like. Even then you won’t really know if personalities will jive until you get into the lessons. Here are a few reasons why you should choose me:

1) I offer a one-month trial so you can decide if you really want me as a teacher. If we get to one month and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out, tell me and there will be no hard feelings and you are free to find another teacher. Though I can teach most students, I’m not the best teacher for all. Anyone who says they are the best teacher for everyone is not being realistic. We all have different approaches and personalities. Some mesh well, others don’t.

2) I have the education. Many piano teachers in the Iowa City area do not have the amount of education that I do. Completing a Master of Arts (Piano Performance and Pedagogy) from the University of Iowa and working on a Doctorate of Musical Arts has given me knowledge and experience in a way that most Method-book teachers just don’t have. I have studied with amazing faculty which has exposed to me to vast amounts of music, insight into diverse teaching techniques, was able to finely craft my own technique, and given a thorough knowledge and understanding of Music Theory and Music History. Twice I was able to co-present with the University of Iowa collegiate chapter of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) at national conferences. I am able to bridge the gap between method book beginnings into the world of classical music with ease and excitement.

3) I come to you. No more packing everyone up and waiting at a studio for several consecutive lessons. That’s a win for everyone!

4) I care. I know how fulfilling a life that includes music is because I think about it all the time. Music is a major part of my life and I want to be able to share the joy it has brought me with whoever I can. As a teacher I get so excited when my students begin to grasp the concepts that I’m teaching. Watching the lightbulb come on is so awesome and never gets old!

So there you have it. Four reasons why you should choose me as your piano teacher, or refer me to those you know. What’s stopping you? Contact me today!