How did you come to start playing piano and what were your influences?
I had my first piano lesson at the age of 8 with a downstairs neighbour. I was his first student, and so his teaching methods were based around his own playing experiences as a jazz pianist. The lessons quickly took a focus on improvisation and creativity, which I found exciting and enjoyable. Being a young child, It wasn’t long before I lost interest, and stopped playing. It was only a few years later, where my school offered lessons, that I picked the piano back up, only this time with a more formal and classical approach. I quickly came to realise how much I loved the instrument, and combined improvisation and classical techniques together, creating my own arrangements and compositions. I joined the school Soul and Jazz bands and went on to discover a passion for jazz and funk, and have enjoyed playing ever since. Some of my greatest influences include Cory Henry, a jazz-funk and worship keyboard player, and Anomalie, a genre-crossing electro synth player.
What advice would you give to someone interested in learning Piano for the first time?
My advice for a first-time learner is to have fun. Discover what you enjoy doing on the piano, and go from there. Some people love Classical, Jazz or Rock, or many others. Some want to do technical exercises and progress through grades, some want to improvise, play with others, write their own music. There are no rules when it comes to piano, so do what makes you happy!
What are some of your favourite teaching techniques?
One of my favourite things to do with students is get them in the creative mindset from the very beginning, freely improvising over the top of some chords. Getting them to discover melodies and rhythms through improvisation helps them see the personality and emotion that can be created, and encouraging my students to make their own sounds and pieces is a large part of learning.
What do you usually cover in your lessons?
My lessons cover the very basics of learning the piano, as well as having a focus on improvising and creativity. I am flexible according to each students needs, teaching individual songs, classical, rock and pop, and jazz grades and any combination of genres and focuses desired.
How have you found your experience teaching at RMC Academy?
I have found my time teaching piano and RMC Academy extremely rewarding. Watching new learners progress and break through barriers, and seeing them finding enjoyment from their playing is just fantastic.