Teaching Philosophy

From the Piano Studio of Kathryn Desjardine

I believe music enriches our lives. In fact, every culture on earth has some form of indigenous music; it’s part of what makes us human. Through studying music at the piano, my students will learn to communicate using the language of music.

By giving them opportunities to experiment with different sounds and styles, I seek to provide my students with a developing musical vocabulary. That vocabulary will include a solid understanding of the music alphabet, the ability to read the notes on the staff, and a sense of rhythm and meter. By providing my students with imaginative music that speaks to different human emotions, I encourage them to express different thoughts, feelings and sound pictures at the piano.

I use a variety of methods to teach beginner to intermediate level students. My goal is to tailor my teaching to each student’s learning style. The majority of my students are ages 6-12, and are studying the piano for enjoyment and enrichment.

Lessons consist of a warm-up exercise, review of assigned pieces and the assignment of new pieces. Theory may be included in the lesson or assigned as homework. The development of good technique is taught and artistic playing is one of the goals. Occasional games away from the bench are used to reinforce and review concepts. Sight reading skills are developed and the periodic improvisation activity is offered. The lesson is concluded by a summary of the week’s practice assignment. Daily or near daily practice is encouraged. Group lessons may be offered from time to time. A recital wraps up the year in mid or late May.

Students are encouraged to bring their own musical goals to the teacher’s attention for incorporation into the lesson times. Once I am aware of these preferences, I seek ways to include them in lesson planning and repertoire selection. By being open to students’ own goals, I aim to provide a caring environment where students are free to confidently explore the range of sounds and expressions the piano has to offer.

I am actively working to advance my teaching strategies by participating in courses on piano pedagogy. I completed the Elementary Piano Teacher Specialist Course from the Royal Conservatory of Music in July 2016. Prior to that I completed the Introduction to Piano Teaching held by the Piano Institute with Joy Morin in February 2015.