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Piano from the Center A Powerful New Approach
Serving Southwest and South-Central Missouri, with National and International Internet and Touring Services 417-733-3776
Since it's invention over 300 years ago, the piano has been the instrument of choice for countless composers, virtuosi, and amateurs.  Today, about 21 million Americans play the piano-that's about one in every ten persons. More Americans play the piano than all the other musical instruments combined!  What could possibly be new and different about piano lessons? My Piano Story I began piano lessons at the age of 5: John Thompson method, Every Good Boy Does Fine, scales and scales and more scales, hours of practice.  By the time I got to high school, I worked myself up to playing Chopin, spending an entire year at a time on one piece to perfect for the Spring Recital.  Everything I learned came through great toil.  I also loved to improvise; enjoying the strange and random sounds dancing under my fingers, but without any control.  By the time I got to high school, after a decade of lessons, I had mastered a total of 1½ pieces, and my sight-reading was painfully slow.  I dropped my piano lessons, but continued in music, playing the flute, which seemed more natural to me- especially because I only had to read one note at a time! Teaching is Learning: Fast-forward 15 years:  I've just left the reggae band, and want to settle down and teach flute lessons.  I didn't find many flute students in Wasilla, Alaska, so I decided to try teaching beginning piano-I figured I could teach kids for a couple years, then move them on to a "real" piano teacher.  Among my first students were four children in a Christian home school family.  I decided to let them play anything they wanted, in the original.  Within one year, the 10 year old was playing Bach inventions and the 8-year-old played Beethoven's original Moonlight Sonata.  Through teaching, I found that I could read and play music that I had not ever been able to before.  I discovered many new ways of looking at the piano to teach the great variety of students that I began to attract. The Key to Learning the Piano: Through teaching, I discovered why my previous training hadn't worked.  I soon realized that music theory was the key to understanding piano playing-both by ear and sight-reading.  But not the music theory I had learned as a kid.  I had learned my scales, one by one, and begun to learn intervals and chords-but they were all on paper.  Chords and scales are based on specific repeating patterns, and we can learn to feel these patterns with our hands.  I found that when I taught all the scales of a certain pattern at once, and all the major and minor chords at once, as specific, repeating finger patterns, that my students-and myself!-where able to learn the material much faster, recognize and apply these patterns quickly in written music, and use them to create their own music and accompaniments. The more I used this approach, the more I realized that everything in piano, and in music, emanates from these simple patterns, what I refer to as The Center.  We can learn these.  One of the beauties of the piano keyboard is that it reflects and expresses these patterns so directly, in a way that we can see them with our eyes and feel them with our hands.
Click to read more Andrew’s Piano Story