My musical objectives revolve mostly around community and engagement and the representation of personality and experience. I am trained in both repertoire and improvised music, and I seek to bring together all the musical impulses with which I have become acquainted, when writing or performing. As an educator I am keen always to know where the student is currently situated, and from there to determine how best I might be of assistance. The authentic personal statement is, for me, the most worthwhile and I want everyone to discover the music that lies within.
(That’s from my CV, which I dutifully trot out when I’m asked to.)
As teacher of piano, improvisation and composition
My teaching aims to locate the music within the student, to help him/her to find what it is that he/she wants to say and then to develop the best means by which to say it. I am keen to ensure a mastery of fundamentals, but anxious too that these things not distract from the journey itself. The journey is the thing. Equipment with basic competencies is mandatory and I shall always seek refinement in understanding of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic concepts, but students should always be able to make an effort to discover their own artistic position and to occupy and develop it.
Standard repertoire is useful in the exploration of formal concepts, the use of functional harmony, and the construction of melody in concert with words. They need not be the only repertoire the student plays – let’s hope they won’t be – but the collation of a good library of them is advisable since they do appear on the gig.
Original composition is important for the organisation out-of-time of one’s harmonic, melodic and rhythmic ideas. Given the chance to consider and revise, ideas are explored differently from how they are managed in performance.
Free improvisation is a means by which ideas may be located, and compositional techniques ‘sped up’ as the music proceeds with the moment. I often have students who initially resist this, but once engaged treasure it for its particular capacity to mobilise the mind.
You can write to me at the Contact page if you are interested in finding out more.