About Rachel Ann Piano Studio
My studio is located in my home in Southfield, Michigan.
I enjoy teaching children ages six and up, especially those who exhibit diligence and an enjoyment of music. Doesn't matter if you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, I would love to teach you! I also enjoy working with homeschoolers, as I was home-schooled all the way through high school.
I offer 30- 45- and 1 hour lessons, depending on the student's level. Usually, beginners will have 30-minute lessons, intermediate students will have 45-minute lessons, and advanced students will have hour long lessons. I offer affordable rates for each of these lesson lengths. Please contact me for my current rates.
I also offer a free trial lesson to each student, so that the student, parent and myself can get to know each other. This is a great way for me to assess the student's musical abilities and ensure that our personalities fit well together, and for the parent and student to ask me any questions they may have.
Please contact me to set up a free trial lesson today!
Philosophy of Teaching
I believe in teaching a whole-body approach to the piano to foster ease and a painless technique (more about this below). I strongly emphasize building a solid technical foundation. But, by technique I do not mean mindless, boring exercises on the piano. Technique is the way a musician approaches the piano, no matter what they're playing. It is built into the way they play every piece. It's what enables a concert pianist's hands to fly over the keyboard with ease on a difficult Chopin Ballade. Having a solid technique not only frees students to play without pain or injury, but also enables them to express themselves at the piano.
I fit my teaching curriculum and style individually to each student, taking their tastes and goals into account. My students enjoy a variety of methods and styles of music, including classical and more contemporary styles. I go step by step with lots of reinforcement for students to become confident in new skills. I also strive to incorporate music theory, ear-training, sight-reading, composition, and improvisation in my teaching curriculum so my students will be capable, well-rounded musicians.
My ultimate goal in teaching the piano is that my students would have the skills to enjoy playing the piano with freedom for their whole lives, no matter if they keep it as a hobby or go into it as their career. I will make sure each student has a solid foundation so they can continue to learn and grow in their love of music, wherever that takes them.
What is a Whole-Body Approach?
A "whole-body approach," is a kind of piano technique that enables the student to understand how their whole body should work in relation to the piano. I believe it is one of the only ways to become completely free at the piano.
So many students as well as professional pianists play the piano in tense, unnatural positions. They experience considerable discomfort or even pain every time they practice the piano. Oftentimes teachers encourage this by teaching techniques that are unnatural and forced.
A whole-body approach is a completely different approach. Instead of just talking to the student about their hands and fingers, I teach the student how their whole body should be properly aligned when sitting at the piano. This frees them to use each part in its most natural and balanced way in order to play the piano. You'd be surprised at how much natural musicality and artistry comes out when a student is able to play the piano in the way their body was designed! I also explain how the piano's mechanism works. This all helps the student understand the why behind piano technique instead of just doing it because the teacher says so.
I have written a paper further expanding the subject of whole body awareness, which can be found here.
I am indebted to the ideas of BodyMapping and the Lister-Sink method for this idea of a whole-body approach, though I am not a certified teacher through them or affiliated with them.