Mandy has been teaching music since 1983. She spent ten years teaching ear training, theory and private piano for Mohawk College Music Department and Part Time Studies. During that period she also spent two years with the Hamilton Wentworth Roman Catholic Separate School Board as an Artist in Residence teaching piano keyboard classes at the School of the Arts. After moving to Toronto she taught for three years with Merriam School of Music teaching private piano lessons, group piano lessons, training teachers and developing curriculum. She has maintained her private studio teaching for over thirty years.
Mandy has also been working as a professional singer since 1990. She has recorded three CDs, ranging from jazz standards to her own compositions, and performs in various venues and festivals across Ontario.
Mandy’s program focuses on classical piano and developing a solid foundation in music theory, piano technique, reading and repertoire. Many of her students have completed Royal Conservatory Exams ranging from grade one to grade eight. Whether pursuing a formal education or musical goals of a more personal nature, Mandy’s main objective is to instill in her students a love and respect for music as an art form as well as independence at the piano.
Group piano lessons are designed to fully engage the beginner students in gaining an understanding of musical concepts. Games and activities focused on rhythm, reading, ear training and technical skills play a major role in the group approach of teaching. Students develop skills at a steady pace when working together as they quickly recognize how much fun it is to play with other players. Parents are strongly encouraged to accompany children 6-8 years of age. Ideally, this adult will also be helping them at home with their practising and preparations for the next week. This aspect of learning brings a very special dynamic to the classes, the children are eager to please and love learning along side their adult companion.
Every lesson will include time spent on keyboard technique combined with theoretical study, ear training and a minimum of three pieces and a review of the homework completed as well as that being assigned. Over the course of the year the lessons may include focused work on duet playing, reading, composition, and interpretation.
Over the years I have discovered many great resources of piano repertoire. I am currently very happy with the Faber and Faber series for beginners. Faber and the Royal Conservatory of Music level books serve me very well with children between the ages of six and eighteen, and for students who are further along in their studies I like to stick to music that is commonly referred to as “classical”, although, I feel it is very important to keep my students engaged in a wide range of styles, from baroque, classical, romantic, 20th Century and contemporary compositions. This means drawing from the libraries of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Grieg, Satie, Kabalevsky, Khatchaturian, to name but a few. Duets are great, and can be found in all of the sources listed as well as in separate collections ranging from pop to classical and jazz. Christmas music is a great way to encourage reading and duet playing.
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