"[I have seen students] play the piano to perfection. You can't play it better. But I ask them: When will you start to make music?" -- Arthur Rubinstein
Music is the expression of feeling par excellence.
I received my ARCT performer’s degree when I was 16. During that time; I entered contests, I composed (to attain my levels), and I tutored piano (at the RCM 10 level). I played the piano, but I never made music. Years later, only when my feeling function had grown did the music start to descend on me; it writes itself into song, and I merely record it. I was out of practice but I found myself able to produce something close to the (seemingly ever elusive) tone that I could only hear at 16. For someone like me, coming back full circle to music has been a kind of homecoming.
I learned to how to form and nurture relationships (that is to say, teach) during a senior volunteer posting at the Vancouver (Suicide) Crisis Centre (an institution accredited by the American Association of Suicidology) from 2013-2017. I trained new volunteers to take their first calls, individually and in small groups. The critical ingredient is warmth. I discovered that needs of the learner depend on his or her starting point. I searched for learner’s dominant function—how s/he processes the world—words, feelings, images, or senses; I then tried to speak in those terms in order that the learner could orient his or herself (keeping in mind that the opposite function would make up the less developed area). I learned to make analogies, much like a comedian making a comparison statement so the audience can understand the joke. My own teacher Tak Lin emphasized good form in the body and in the hands (rounded like a tennis ball). I would emphasize the capacity to produce a tone like that of pianist Arthur Rubinstein; Rubinstein mentions the soul in connection with his tone. The combination of tone and articulating each note inwards (singing the melody throughout) is key.
My understanding is that this approach of teaching translates roughly to a feeling of emotional safety and support that allows a learner to risk him or herself creatively—an approach that will allow the learner to make his or her own sound, the one that only he or she can make, individual in every way, an artist.
Age is not always correlated or indicative of the development of the learner. I would use my understanding of Jungian psychology to understand the starting point of the learner. I think music is less about melody, and more about rhythm, which is a function of emotional growth.
It is my understanding that playing piano is not about playing the piano. It’s about expressing the inner experience of going through life that is incapable of being communicated in any form other than through music. It is that one is oneself captured by the music, compelled to sing and breathe it inside, that it is the pianist’s own internal experience of the music—what the music does to you, what your own experience of life does to you—that reaches the audience. The pianist is experiencing the music, and the audience happens to be present; the result can be breath-taking.
Art, and especially music, transcends all other forms of communication. For me, it constitutes a kind of healing because it brings about my wholeness. It is an approach to my totality.
I am a trained classical pianist with an ARCT Performer's degree in piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music. I have previously tutored piano for one year at the RCM 10 level. I work in music, composing classical music (using Notion 6), and popular music (in Ableton Live 10).
Outside of music, I have answered suicide calls and trained new distress line volunteers at the Vancouver Crisis Centre for four years (the Centre is accredited by the American Association of Suicidology and subject to its level of standards). I also hold a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of British Columbia, after which I lived and worked abroad in the Netherlands.
Free initial consultation by phone to assess fit, followed by first free lesson to confirm that the instructor is the right fit for the student.
Due to COVID-19, lessons will observe all protocols set out by WorkSafe BC. No mask no lesson policy. Instructor, students, and parents are required to wear mask and maintain social distance.
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