Since piano can be such a solitary pursuit in the early years, I like the idea of a community studio where children in the neighborhood can come to learn music and compare stories with their friends. Although I’m not a Suzuki teacher, I completely support the Suzuki concept that anyone can learn to play and progress in music; music is one of the seven intelligences and a skill that can be learned.
My primary raison d’etre is to help piano students learn to play freely and develop a vibrant sound palette so that they can “tell a story” or express themselves when they play. Playing the piano (or any musical instrument) engages the whole body and all of the senses, it’s not limited to the fingers. It should feel effervescent and easy; if it doesn’t, something needs attention. Developing the physical awareness to move well and associate that movement with the quality of the sound we produce is essential to developing as a pianist.
It’s a great irony that we have to work so hard to play effortlessly. Even the youngest students get tense when they are concentrating and need frequent reminders to soften and breathe. If we can help students develop good posture along with the self-awareness to move in sync with their playing, technique will flourish and many other life activities will benefit.
My other raison d’etre is to help students learn to develop effective practice methods. My upbringing was in the school of “Practice More” rather than “Practice Right” and I wasted thousands of hours doing the wrong things the wrong way, all of which had to be unlearned at some point (which took even more time)! With everyone’s schedules overbooked these days, it’s essential that students learn to spend their practice time on doing the right things the right way. Not just for piano, but for all endeavors!