Sylvie with her former piano teacher, Dr. Mark Birnbaum, circa 2005
From my first piano teacher, I acquired a foundation in theory and technique on which all my later musical development has been built. From my college music professors, I learned rules of harmony and voice leading— rules I didn't fully grasp until years later. Dr. Mark Birnbaum assembled these parts into a greater whole. Dr. Birnbaum's approach is less like an instructor and more like a director— like a stage director shaping his cast's enactment of a drama, he uses allusion and suggestion to guide his students to expressive and engaging renditions of pieces.
I believe all these elements— technique, analysis, performance— have their place in a musical education. In teaching beginning pianists, I hope to provide some introduction to all these aspects of playing and comprehension. For rock keyboardists who have strong performance skills but lack theoretical knowledge, I can help you to develop the reading and notation ability to play from scores and write down complicated ideas.
What you will learn
Topics covered in private piano lessons include
- components of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, articulation
- music theory: keys, intervals, chords, voice leading
- technique: posture, fingering, touch
- practice habits: techniques for breaking down difficult passages, isolating performance components
- analysis: discovering the structure of great compositions
Time to Proficiency
A reasonable estimate of the time for a beginner to reach a moderate level of facility is eight to twelve months. Your mileage may vary.
Lessons that occur in my studio will be given on my Yamaha CP-33 digital piano. Students should have access to an acoustic piano or a digital piano with weighted action for practice. Students also may need to purchase additional items such as a music manuscript book, study or exercise books, or sheet music.
- Students must be at least twelve years of age.
- Lessons must be paid in cash at the beginning of the lesson, or by PayPal prior to arrival.
- Cancelation requires 24 hours notice.