Throughout the years, I have learned to appreciate the special gift given to music teachers -- an opportunity to influence the young musicians both spiritually and intellectually. The professionalism of a young musician is bound to grow when the music is presented as a means to decode the valuable information the composer wanted to communicate to the world. First and foremost, in my teaching routine I am constantly aware of the need to motivate the students to approach the music consciously, to work on comprehending its content. Analyzing the music is a skill that must be learned. It contributes dramatically to the process of learning to play an instrument. Heinrich Neuhaus once said, "The question of how to solve all kinds of technical and interpretive problems in the new piece cannot be answered unless a different question -- what is this music about? -- is explored first"
The involvement of children into the complex world of classical music can be approached in different ways. I am fond of using methods that rely on conscious piano practising combined with diverse other musical activities, such as sight reading, playing by ear, listening to music. A while ago, I read a wonderful book by Nancy B. Reich about the prominent pianist and musician, Clara Schumann, whose only piano teacher was her father, Friedrich Wieck. I was delighted to find a description of her famous father’s teaching methods. His belief was that students would learn best when they learned to practise regularly and when they conscientiously attempted a combination of ear training, improvisation, sight-reading, singing, and musical analysis. Additionally, students had to listen to music constantly. These skills served as a solid foundation for the future development of true artists.
His method lends weight to my pedagogy: Integrating as many activities as possible into a lesson will strengthen the pianistic abilities and musical intelligence of the student. As a result, the process of learning is less stressful, meaningful, dynamic, and thus enjoyable. I have shared the basics of my approach in my book, Discovering Color behind the Keys. This book is my contribution to the popularization of Russian piano school teaching tools and music, written expressly for children by a broad range of composers.
Teaching others requires commitment and constant self-development. I was blessed to have teachers who always demonstrated high levels of professionalism. I feel compelled to follow their path in every possible way, through the continuous and ongoing deepening of my knowledge of music and art, and by expanding my solo repertoire and researching new ways of teaching music.