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Andrew focuses on the positive development of each student at his or her own pace, and carefully tailors lessons to suit the individual needs and aspirations of each pupil. Lessons are both enjoyable and challenging, so that pupils can be inspired to make the best progress.
Although trained as a classical musician, Andrew also teaches jazz, popular and other contemporary styles. Whether you want to play jazz and popular piano pieces for fun or train seriously as a classical player, Andrew has the skills and enthusiasm to help you fulfill your musical potential.
By cultivating good technique, musicianship and understanding, Andrew helps his students develop into confident independent musicians, whatever their special interests.
Andrew’s students achieve exceptional results, and many are now pursuing careers in music.
Pupils who wish to take Grades are entered for the graded exams provided by ABRSM - the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music - who are the world's leading music examination board. Of the pupils Andrew has entered for graded examinations, 100% have passed with an amazing 80% gaining a Merit or Distinction (see Latest Exam Results). This is about twice the general average.
Andrew also organises regular student concerts and all who wish to are encouraged to develope performing experience. Over the years this has proven to be a huge benefit to students, and one that is sadly neglected by teachers.
However, it is important to understand that taking exams is just one of the positive goals that a pupil can work towards, and must never replace playing for pleasure and personal enrichment.
Unlike piano players, who learn to use both hands independently, reading separate musical lines for each hand, keyboard pupils learn to read and play chord symbols with the left hand, and use the instrument’s built in auto-accompaniments. They play music in pop and jazz styles only, not classical
Andrew's best-selling Keyquest Books form the basis of his keyboard teaching, but are supplemented by other pieces that pupils are especially keen to learn. This ensures students are highly motivated, while developing sound musical skills that will enable them to fulfill their potential as players.
Andrew makes it a top priority to help each pupil develop into a confident independent musician. At the most basic level this includes teaching pupils to read music. Although it is possible to play many keyboard tunes by ear, it is important to develop good reading skills, as these contribute significantly to the goal of confident musical independence.
Andrew's teaching is known for his emphasis on creativity, including making full use of the features of a modern digital keyboard to make musical arrangements of pieces, develop compositions, and improvise freely. Keyboard students learning in Andrew's studio typically develop and interest in music technology, including recording. In many cases Andrew's students will also move on to learning the piano with him.
While ideally all piano students have their own acoustic piano at home for practising on, many beginners use a keyboard. In the earliest stages this is fine, even if it is a small portable keyboard. However, when a pupil is clearly enjoying the piano and making some progress it is strongly advised to get a piano or electric piano with the full range of keys, and with a weighted/hammer action keyboard. Any student working beyond Grade 5 must have an acoustic piano in order to develop the physical freedom and control required by more advanced repertoire.
The electronic keyboard is also taught as a separate discipline. Several of Andrew's most successful students began as electronic keyboard players before subsequently switching to the piano.
Keyboard pupils learn to read treble clef notation and play melodies in much the same way a s apianist. However, with the left hand they will concentrate on learning to read chord symbols instead of the bass clef, and use the instrument’s built in auto-accompaniment backings. They play music in pop and jazz styles only, not classical.
Piano pupils meanwhile learn from the start to use both hands independently, reading separate musical lines for each hand, and using both treble and bass clef notation. They play music in a variety of styles, usually including classical and jazz.
Some skills are transferable between the two instruments, and pupils will often switch from one to the other. For example, pupils who start learning the electronic keyboard can successfully transfer to the piano at a later point, and a number of my own pupils who have done that have later gone on to study music at higher and further education.