Piano Lessons

Welcome

I’m glad that you are exploring taking piano lessons. I hope this information helps you decide on a teacher that is right for you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to schedule a meeting!

Virtual Lessons - COVID Safe

Here’s how it works:

  • you need a piano or electric keyboard (need help? ask me)
  • you need a computer, tablet or phone with a video call app (e.g. Facetime, Skype, Zoom) 
  • we will set up a time once a week for a lesson (days or evenings)
  • I will drop any materials you need at your home or ship to you
  • I will share a Google Doc with you to track assignments and progress

I’ve been teaching like this since March 2020, and it’s about 95% as effective as in person lessons.

Contact me to set up a meeting and a free mini-lesson to see if it’s a good fit. 

About Me

I am a pianist, composer, improvisor, and conductor. I am passionate about teaching music creatively and holistically by integrating piano, theory, improvisation, and composition into lessons.

I hold a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Manitoba, diplomas in composition from the European American Musical Alliance at La Schola Cantorum in Paris, France, and a Bachelor of Music in piano and music theory from the University of Manitoba. 

I hold a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Manitoba.

I love playing the piano and making music!

It’s fun, it’s hard work, and it’s beautiful!

I hope to help you or your child along their musical journey!

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe that when we teach music we are teaching a language. When we learn a language we learn to read, speak, and write.  This is how I aim to teach others to be fluent in music: 

  • to read through learning to decipher a score, and perform repertoire;
  • to speak through improvisation exercises that augment and expand on the repertoire that is being studied;
  • to write, using those improvisations to develop small compositions.

For you, learning to read, speak, and write music will open up so many possibilities for a lifetime of music making. Whatever musical journey you are on – playing in a band on the piano or another instrument, singing in a choir, or becoming a singer-songwriter –  you will have a deep understanding of how music works and the skills to adapt that knowledge to any musical situation.

Testimonials

Ian’s natural instinct is to unlock and reward students’ creativity.

– Eric

Ian is an extremely knowledgeable teacher and has created a customized lesson plan for me that is engaging and challenging.  I would highly recommend him as a teacher for students of any age!

 

 – David

Ian’s approach to teaching piano is unique, creative, and tailored to the individual student.

 

Our children have become conversant in ‘the language of music’ since starting their lessons less than a year ago; they enjoy sitting down to the piano to play and have each worked on some of their own compositions with Ian’s guidance.

 

We really appreciate Ian’s work with our children.

 

– The Beardsalls

Ian is very encouraging and understanding with a sound theoretical knowledge and excellent performance skills.

– Farah

Ian’s genuine love for what he teaches and enthusiasm for his students’ learning progress shine through his piano lessons. This honest and authentic personal investment makes the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher, and Ian is a great teacher.

His lessons are well-planned, balanced, and engaging. Not to mention, his extensive knowledge of the age-old, but now obscure craft of partimento, which informed some of history’s greatest composers, is a rare and precious gem in today’s world.

I enthusiastically recommend Ian as a teacher to any student wishing to progress their piano skills and their understanding of music.

– Chace

Online Lessons

What You Will Need

You will need a phone, tablet, or computer that can video chat and some way to prop the device at the end of the piano so I am able to see your fingers and face. 

First Meeting

A no-fee consultation with the student, parent, and me, where we can meet, I can answer any of your questions, and we can have a mini-lesson.

Practising Between Lessons

Practising between lessons is important. At each lesson I will write comments and suggestions to practice and improve in the student’s lesson notebook or in a shared Google Doc for online lessons. 

Each student’s practice habits are different and the amount of time necessary can vary with one’s level and other commitments. For some, amount of time spent practising will ebb and flow each day, for others it is important to keep a consistent schedule. I can help students create practice schedules that work for them.

See my Practice Tips page for lots of tips, ideas, and links for parents and all types of learners.

What I think is most important is that there is a consistent and regular effort most days to practise.

Studio Policy

Please sign and date the Studio Policy before our second lesson. The Studio Policy is available for download here.

My schedule

I teach from September to early December and from January to late May or early June. 

Summer lessons may be arranged on an individual basis. 

Payment

Please pay for the coming month’s lessons on or before the 1st of each month. I will send a monthly invoice. My preferred method of payment is by e-transfer.

Fees

$50/hour ($25/half-hour)

Missed Lessons

Please give me 24 hours notice if you need to cancel a lesson. If it is less than 24 hours before a lesson your fee will be forfeited. As my schedule permits I will do my best to schedule make up lessons. 

Discontinuation of Lessons

Please give me 4 weeks notice of discontinuation of lessons or payment of the equivalent of 4 weeks of lessons.

Safety

I have completed a Winnipeg Police Service Criminal Record Check, a Vulnerable Sector Screening, and a Child Abuse Registry screening. 

All checks and screenings are clear of any wrongdoing. I can provide copies if requested.