I teach children from the age of five and adults with no upper age limit! I work with complete beginners and advanced pianists; no two students are alike and I enjoy using different approaches with each individual, playing to their strengths but also encouraging them to develop aspects of their musicianship that do not come so easily.
I encourage parents to attend lessons with the younger students if they can – and if the children want them to be there! I am fully DBS checked.
Playing the piano can be a solitary pursuit and this has a great appeal: when we play the piano we don’t need anyone else around. We also communicate when we play, however, and I believe it is important to share music with others. I encourage all my students to perform at an annual piano party, where everyone from the earliest beginner to the most advanced student plays a piece in front of an audience of fellow students, parents and friends – and then we all eat cake! In addition, there is a more formal Summer Concert in St George’s Church, Beckenham (where the photographs on this site were taken) which provides a different performing experience.
Examinations are not compulsory – some students stipulate from their very first lesson that they want to play for fun and not to take exams and this is fine by me. I often find that they change their minds after a while, and want to mark their level of attainment by a grade certificate. I enter students for Trinity and Associated Board examinations when they have reached the required standard of playing and if they want to take the exam. The prospect of performing to an examiner can focus the mind, and some students will suddenly make rapid progress when they have been entered; others find the whole experience too nerve-wracking and don’t do themselves justice. I think examinations can be useful but are by no means essential in learning the piano.