Studying the Piano

Carla Feldschuh at her piano lesson

I teach adults exclusively, because I find they are the most rewarding students to teach. They come to music with pure desire, a desire that has stayed with them throughout their lives. Playing music is different than listening to it. When a person plays music on the piano, it is an invitation to touch the sound, and that is what we all crave.

The Adult Piano School was conceived from this point of view. First and foremost, it is about the experience of making music, and all of us have the potential to do that. There is no formal requirement, no prior qualification needed. Music is in all of us.

The adult musician has requirements that are different from kids who study the piano. First of all, the adult is at the mercy of the demands of daily life. The Adult Piano School addresses this issue of time commitment by structuring the program in 12-week semesters. This gives the pianist a defined time in which to focus on the piano. And since every semester is tailor made to the needs of the individual, the pianist knows exactly what will be accomplished in that period of time. There is no issue of coming to a lesson “unprepared” to meet the teacher’s expectations. The expectations are yours, created with your particular circumstance in mind. The point is to feel good about coming to your lesson and enjoy an hour of working on music together.

The customized curriculum for the APS is very specific. All pianists are taught techniques for reading music at every lesson. There is a keyboard skills component (scales and chords) that is the foundation of study and supports the chosen piece of repertoire. Qualities of touch and tone are addressed, as producing different kinds of sound is what connects you to making music. Improvisation is introduced, both to free you from the confines of someone else’s “notes” and as a way to bridge keyboard skills with making music.

Because I believe individuals need recognition for their work along the way, APS offers a playing class during the 12-week semester. A small group of pianists gather at the studio on a Sunday to share their “Works-In-Progress.” It might be a section of a piece, or it could be a first performance of a complete work. The pianists share with one another their thoughts and ideas, and at the end I give each pianist comments highlighting what was achieved and where their work may take them next. Those projections formulate the curriculum for the next 12-week semester, if the pianist chooses to continue lessons.

There should be no trepidation about taking up piano at this point in your life or expanding on the process you began as a child. Playing music and touching sound should feel good, and it should be something that you do for yourself.