What I Offer
One to one piano lessons
I aim to develop thinking musicians. I encourage each student to become objective about their own work and performance and to be in control of their learning. This means students develop musicality and skills which stay with them forever rather than merely learning individual pieces as they were taught. I draw on different methods to achieve this depending on the learning styles of each student.
I do not have a set series of books or pieces which are played, regardless, by all students. I feel private tuition has an important role in childrens' lives and I like to get to know a student and then choose material which will be most suited to each individual. The personal aims of the student are taken into consideration and students are encouraged to take an active role in picking pieces to work on and in outlining goals for the term and year.
There is always time to play by ear; we regularly include improvisation, composition, jazz and pop as part of learning to be a rounded and spontaneous musician.
I teach on a one to one basis but the joy of music making with others and the advantages it offers when learning means that students often team up to play duets and trios. We have also teamed up with the students of a violin teacher to spend a few terms playing chamber music.
Although I specialise in intermediate and advanced classical grades I welcome students of any level and with any stylistic preference providing they bring enthusiam and determination to their lessons and practice sessions.
I love teaching theory and have had great success with a large variety of students. I recently helped a very talented guitarist take his grade 5 theory exam and consequently be accepted to the Academy of Contemporary Music. Here is what they had to say:
"Roberta is an extraordinary individual and a wonderful teacher who inspires, encourages, guides and supports above and beyond the lesson itself. My godson became her student in November 2015 to learn Music Theory which he had no prior knowledge of. In four months he passed Grade 5 with a point away from a Distinction. He has often said that Roberta is amazing. I agree! As a musician myself I can see how impressive Roberta's teaching methods are and I will always be grateful that we found her." Amanda
I am currently working closely with three new teachers, supporting them as they prepare for their teaching diplomas. Sessions are held individually and in groups. Please contact me if you would like to know more about piano teaching as a profession. It is a wonderful one!
Please get in touch if you are interested in finding out more about local performance groups. There are several and they cover a variety of levels.
I am happy to make myself available at any time to discuss concerns. I enjoy a good, friendly relationship with all my students and their parents.
Advice on choosing an instrument
Being able to practise between lessons is vital and choosing the right instrument can be daunting. Whether you are opting for a keyboard, digital piano or piano I am happy to offer advice based on my experience and my work on pianos.
I frequently carry out mock exams for other teachers. The aim is not to predict a result but rather to watch a student take a mock exam and then build confidence and coach them on performance, pacing oneself, mindfulness and any other specifically relevant musical concerns which may not yet be secure enough to be carried off in a new environment. Young Maddie came to me for a grade 1 mock exam, she did not take the prep test so her teacher wanted her to benefit from a pre-exam run through. This is the feedback I received from her mother.
"Thank you so much, Maddie felt much more relaxed about the whole exam after seeing you!! This has been a very positive experience for us both!" Lorraine Bond
We all know how frustrating it is when nerves and that annoying inner voice messes up a performance of a piece we can confidently perform at home. If you are looking to increase confidence through practical tips as well as through learning about minfulness and how to benefit from controlling your breathing then do come and have a session with me on performance preparation.
The most extreme case I have yet experience involved a deeply embedded exam phobia. This student ran out of an exam in 2002 and did not sit another exam all the way through University. In 2013 she came to me looking for a way to get over this exam phobia to take her grade 4 piano, she went on to pass this exam with distinction. Last year she passed her grade 8 piano and is now working towards her piano teaching diploma with me.
Developing Practice Skills Workshops
Piano Teachers, Students and Parents, join me for an inspiring session on developing practice skills. Help young musicians maximise their potential and productivity during practice time and enjoy the results, weekly.
These are useful in a variety of circumstances. They suit a student studying music who would like some feedback before an exam or audition. They work for someone who doesn’t require regular lessons but wants to discuss aspects of a piece; there is always something to be gained from another's viewpoint. One-off lessons will also work for you if you play for pleasure, when time permits, and enjoy occasional meetings and discussions with a teacher.
Dedicated sessions on Aural or Sight Playing
To other instrumentalists, as well as my regular piano students, I teach musicianship skills. Aural and Sight-Reading skills do not necessarily develop along the same learning curve as our playing skills. Sometimes they just need a little extra time and attention. It is well worth your while to invest and dedicate a block of time to developing these skills.
I love teaching these subjects and have had very positive feedback from many pleasantly surprised students who have come to me wrongly believing aural or sight-reading as beyond them.
I provide accompaniment for grade exams. Please get in touch to arrange a rehearsal schedule prior to your exam.
I have found the value of parental support in a child's learning cannot be overstated. Learning an instrument requires great discipline and perseverance. Parents who have experienced this themselves can offer support. For those who are giving their child an opportunity they did not have I offer sessions on practice techniques and note reading. These sessions would be based on the student’s level and their aims.