More About Ian
A teacher's skill level is almost always supported by their experience actually teaching the subject. Regardless of a particular person's aptitude or predisposition toward teaching as a profession, it takes months and years to develop and master the nuances of organization, communication, presentation, and successful interaction with students, parents, and colleagues.
I acquired much of my interest and general teaching skills at an early age (12-14 years old) by assisting my Taekwondo instructors at a martial arts "dojang" (studio). The instructors I emulated were Marines. Some were even former drill sergeants. They brought a commanding, powerful, energetic, dynamic, and charismatic presence to their teaching style. They knew how to balance discipline with genuinely positive encouragement, and I did my best to keep that tradition and style of instruction. If nothing else, I learned through the process that I actually loved teaching.
Later, as I continued to advance as a serious pianist in high school, I taught privately during summers to earn extra money...but also to continue getting better at teaching itself. In college, I took actual pedagogy courses and learned not only about how to teach piano, but about human development, child psychology, and the importance of good organization as a professional teacher. I continued my learning outside the classroom as well, by working at a well-known and successful local piano studio as an assistant. This is where I first started to learn more about the connection between teaching and business. The studio owner was more than just a "piano teacher." He was a savvy entrepreneur with innovative ideas about how to teach piano in a world where classical music was just one style in a pool of other genres the public wanted to play.
After college, I spent some time pursuing the recording and performing side of music a bit more before returning to teaching full-time. When I did, I started looking more closely at music methods and became very interested in pedagogy in particular. I wanted to offer my students something different, something unique, and, more importantly, something effective.
While I pursued further training and development, I discovered an explosion of new teaching methods, thanks to recent scientific developments in the fields of education, psychology, and neurology. Despite this, I felt that something was lacking in the curriculum being offered to most teachers. I started to explore how to develop my own method, which would be based more on a combination of ear-training, theory, and pattern recognition. As I did more research, I came across an existing piano method called Simply Music. I quickly realized that contained within this program were all of the elements and ingredients that I was attempting to implement: pattern recognition, playing-based learning, chords and accompaniment, etc. Why reinvent the wheel? So, in the Summer of 2016, I started training to become a licensed Simply Music teacher. I completed the initial training in October 2016 and continue to actively pursue additional training and development in this exciting new approach.
Theoretical training and research is one thing. Application is another. So, I have been implementing this new program into my studio over the past year, testing its application in the real world. Along the way, I have had numerous conversations and discussions with students and parents as we have undertaken this new journey together. I can confidently say that this way of teaching is unparalleled, not only in the results manifested in students, but in the quality of teacher training itself. With the help of this training and other resources, I intend to always stay on the cutting edge and pursue new and innovative ways to make my teaching more effective, and ultimately help my students reach new heights.