Learning a musical instrument is a microcsm for life.
The first years of learning to play the piano are very personal ones. While we all share so many faculties in common - eyes, ears, five fingers on each hand, etc. - we all, even at the earliest age, bring different thoughts and ideas about ourselves to learning something new.
The mechanics of music - the notes, their names, time and pitch, etc - are fairly easy to learn. Children are very bright and eager learners. From the beginning, students are encouraged to read music as written and, as early as possible, to play "real music" in which right and left hands perform complementary parts.
The main shift in a young person's learning really occurs in the areas of practice habits, learning to deal with mistakes (they are gifts that show us what we yet need to learn!), patience, and above all, listening. In short, the ability to look into the heart of a matter or issue and to bring forth a possibility or outcome, a future that otherwise wouldn't have happened. In essence, the ability to develop one's life as a creative process.
In a high-level environment, hard work and dedicated practice predicts success far more than innate ability. Music performance offers opportunities to fail. Students learn the value of persistance and of working hard for an uncertain outcome.
There is so much wonderful music in the world to learn to play. Once a solid foundation has been laid, the nuances of music are taught - dynamics, expression, tempo - the nuances of performance (and life!). The bottom line in written music is that it is little more than black dots and lines on white paper. It is the performer that brings music to life as each of us brings our own unique expression to our individual lives.
Once a solid foundation has been laid, I use the Royal Conservatorium of Music's curriculum to develop a player. Their courses provide a very thorough foundation for all areas of music - performance, theory, musicianship, etc. - a springboard for whatever you choose - and there is so much gorgeous music in their repertoire.
From time to time I will also write pieces for my students, some of which are included below for you to listen to. I have a very personal approach to teaching each student, a quality that I hope that the pieces below will reveal.
- Richard van Oosterom
We have been fortunate to have Richard teach piano to our two sons, aged 7 and 10, for the last three years.
Richard is an exceptional musician and teacher.
Both of us are teachers in the public school system and have each had experience coaching and providing leadership for sports teams and other student groups; this gives us an experienced perspective when it comes to recognizing effective mentorship.
Richard has high expectations for his pupils and positively encourages their development by focusing on their individual skills, talents and interests. He is firm and kind in his teaching style and, as such, brings out the best in his pupils.
Richard has been generous, friendly, warm and humorous with our entire family.
We look forward to our weekly visits and hearing a tale or two about his long musical journey that spans several countries and genres!
We would recommend Richard as a piano teacher without hesitation.
David & Monica Anderson
"Richard has been the most amazing piano teacher for our daughter Evangeline. Not only is he extremely talented and professional but he has an encouraging warmth to his teaching style. He has written many songs for Evangeline that she played for her recitals. We have enjoyed Richard as our daughter's piano teacher for the past five years and look forward to many more."
Lynnae & Todd
From time to time I have written pieces for my pupils. Here are some of them:
Finger exercise for Stephanie