Once I have learned your goals in classical piano, I’ll define a pathway of study tailored to your individual needs.
Please contact me to find out the general framework of your classical piano lessons.
As pianists we are blessed with a uniquely vast treasure trove of classical repertoire. A lifetime of enjoyment and enrichment awaits! However, I don’t believe in an artificial border between classical and popular music. Many classically orientated students like to mix in some jazz or other popular styles from time to time, which I totally encourage.
If you are a beginner who already has musical enthusiasms, it is fun and inspiring (even in the first piano lesson) when I show you how to pick out a favourite melody on the keyboard, while I fill in the underlying harmony. This lets you hear immediately what you will be able to achieve with practice.
The importance of establishing the optimum hand position cannot be over-emphasised, so we work on this from the very beginning. You will also get an idea right from the outset of the range of sounds you can achieve by the way you approach the keys physically. Obviously I will impart this information in a way appropriate to the student’s age.
There are many excellent piano tutor books available nowadays, and I will make a suitable choice according to your personality and aspirations. You’ll be reading music from very early on and relating the notes on the page to the keys on the piano. As we spend time together, I’ll learn what verbal triggers you respond to most readily (extra-musical imagery etc) so that you can assimilate new concepts in the shortest timescale.
In my piano lessons you’ll learn to play with physical freedom, and to maximise the energy you put into the keyboard, without any unnecessary effort. We will also focus on using the hand in an integrated way, to give full support to the weaker fingers.
Making the most of your practice time is vital (despite all our ‘time-saving’ gadgets, most of us complain about having less time than ever) so I will show you how to work on the specific challenges in your piano pieces to achieve results as quickly and effectively as possible.
It’s also crucial to develop your listening ability, so that you can evaluate your own playing. This in itself will also benefit your practising.
Whether or not you follow an exam syllabus, I will normally use scales and arpeggios not just to develop your fingerwork, but also to familiarize you with the different tonalities (keys) and general geography of the keyboard. Although playing scales and arpeggios is not everyone’s favourite activity, it makes you think harmonically, which gives you a shortcut to learning most new pieces (except some non-tonal contemporary repertoire) more quickly.
You will have the chance to explore as many of the great classical composers as possible, irrespective of whether you are taking graded exams. This will give you the platform from which you can later develop your own specialisations.
As you mature as an artist, I will nurture your appreciation of how judicious inflections of sound, texture and rhythm can make the difference between an ordinary and a compelling performance.
Also, you will be encouraged to listen to many classical pianists (YouTube is fantastic for this!), to become familiar with the wealth of interpretative possibilities for each piece.
According to your abilities and needs, here are just some of the topics we are likely to focus on:
- increasing refinement of touch to produce a richly varied palette of sounds
- sophisticated tonal balance between the hands, and within each hand
- subtlety of phrasing, and relationships between phrases
- developing all aspects of your agility
- ‘insider’ tips for mastering chords, octaves, leaps and all other physical challenges
- tasteful rubato, as appropriate for different musical styles
- structural and harmonic understanding, and its implications for interpretation
- the expressive potentials of the pedals
Each of us has a different musical personality, forged by our individual creativity and life experience. Stravinsky was notoriously suspicious of anything that could be labelled ‘interpretation’, but that is an unusual and extreme view. A great performer is capable of revealing aspects of a work that can surprise and delight even the composer.
In your piano lessons with me, you will develop a sense of how far you can go in terms of musical expression while keeping within the boundaries of artistic good taste. Given that framework, however, you will be encouraged to stamp your own personality onto everything you play. After all, a teacher can only be a facilitator and a guide; the performance belongs to you.
For more information about me and my musical experience please see the about section of this website.
£50 per hour; £40 for 45 minutes. Durations longer than an hour are possible for advanced students. There’s a small extra charge, to cover travel distance and time, if the lessons are in your home.
Please contact me now to find out more about my piano lessons
“Ian Flint is a truly inspirational piano teacher. Each lesson is a class of musical mastery. His artistry and musicality evoke images and emotions which bring music to new heights. The energy and vibrancy of his teaching is electric and addictive. I couldn’t hope for a better teacher. Finding Ian Flint three months before my A-level recital was heaven sent, playing pieces I thought impossible were turned into a reality.”
“Ian Flint is a superb pianist with a remarkable level of artistic insight, which he is able to communicate powerfully and effectively to his students and the musicians around him. This was again demonstrated recently when I invited him to adjudicate our main Birmingham Conservatoire Piano Prize (in which I might add that I concurred entirely with his expertly reasoned deliberations). Ian has an in-depth knowledge of the entire piano repertoire and a particular passion for the great romantics. His special natural abilities and virtuoso command make Ian a professional of the highest integrity and accomplishment.”
Head of the Department of Keyboard Studies, Birmingham Conservatoire.
“Ian is very focused and very encouraging, and makes the lessons fun as well as serious music. It’s great to work with someone with a sense of humour, and who knows such a huge amount about the wider subject, and I feel I’ve learned a lot about music and composers, alongside learning to play better. He’s also extremely flexible about times, always willing to try and accommodate a difficult week, which is really helpful if you’re juggling family and work commitments.”
Patricia Hughes, Classical Pianist