Larstein Piano Studies

I have been a teacher now for well over twenty years after a lifetime spent in music as a student, professional musician, producer, songwriter, and composer.  Teaching is a vocation I enjoy and believe in.  But I realized a long time ago that I had been taught a traditional approach that had long since passed its usefulness.  I needed to develop a course of study that was enjoyable and easy to understand and that offered a way for students to learn music as creative action, as a stress release meditation, and, eventually, as public performance.    

Piano studies were traditionally taught simply as a method of learning to read sheet music. The approach I take in teaching is a little different for each student.  Every individual comes with potentialities that are unlike anyone else.  I try to discover the unique way he or she learns best.  But no matter which direction the student comes from, the foundations of music are the same.  

1. Basic technique.  We learn to walk by walking, by imitation, not by having it explained to us.  We don't learn to read before we learn to talk. You cannot play if you can't make your fingers press down the keys that make the sounds. The traditional approach stresses the written notes first, and the use of rigid technical exercises; scales, chords, arpeggios, and other finger exercises as supplements to train muscle memory in the hands. My method combines music theory, exercizes, reading, and memory into a kind of unified field of playing.  As a composer, I encourage students to write pieces of their own.   

2.  Reading music - The skill of reading music is far more complex than just memorizing the names of notes. This is a skill set which coordinates eyes, ears, hands, and mind - logic, logistics, and musical sensitivity.  It takes patience. time, and practice.  Some children learn relatively quickly, but for most it is a struggle that usually evens out by the age of eleven or twelve, if they have started studies by the age of seven or eight.   

3. Musical comprehension -  Creative students have more fun with this than anything.  It is a gateway to composition, songwriting, and expansion of general artistic potential. The knowledge of practical theory in the hands, of how music is made in the hands, leads to greater comprehension in reading music and in playing in different styles.

Music offers techniques that increase concentration and focus, and that exercise the brain more than any other activity.  It is a long and strenuous learning curve, which can, over the course of a lifetime, become an essential life skill, and perhaps even an art, to anyone who loves it and continues practicing.   

Music is an eternal wellspring of creative potential.  It is as basic to human life as work or sleep.  It is encoded into our dna, which means nearly all of us have the ability to hear and appreciate it. In the end, music defines us as human, and making it a lifelong practice offers enormous benefit to one's happiness and well being. 

contact -

phone - 831-684-1483