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Teaching Method

Supportive and encouraging, I guide students step-by-step toward mastery of the keyboard and musical expression. Both children and adults of all ages, from beginners to advanced, are welcome at my music studio. My method as a teacher is to streamline the learning process by removing obstacles and guiding students toward their goals at a natural and unforced pace. Because every student is unique, each lesson is tailored to the student’s individual strengths, challenges, and interests. I am very interested in your musical preferences, because it is easier for you to practice with conviction those pieces that you truly love, and the piano repertoire is vast with an abundance of excellent music in every genre. For the sake of musical adventure, I encourage students to explore various parts of the repertoire they may not have otherwise previously considered. Weekly lessons are focused on developing a solid foundation in keyboard technique and musicianship that will empower students to explore any kind of music. Igniting the imagination of students, and providing them with the tools to realize their highest potential is the basis of my teaching.

With every lesson students acquire a deeper understanding of musical structure, harmony, rhythm, breadth of phrasing, as well as sight-reading, and playing by ear. These skills constitute musicianship, enabling you to rapidly master any musical composition with confidence, and empowering you to bring your musical aspirations to life with vibrancy and persuasiveness.

Whether classical or popular music is your focus, refining various aspects of keyboard technique is always front-and-center. You will develop an understanding of the variety of hand placements in coordination with flexibility in the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and the most appropriate posture for the upper and lower torsos. Developing a healthy balance between creative tension and relaxation will result in poise: this is essential to create a singing tone, acquiring stamina without unnecessary fatigue, and avoiding damage to various joints caused by excessive strain. Students are coached in effective practice techniques that enable them to choose goals, focus attention, vary approaches to problem solving, and pace themselves in a reasonable manner to maintain a healthy relationship to the art form. Above all, we remember why we play the piano: Music is one of the great adventures and joys in life!

About Jonathan Baker

Raised in Southern California, I began piano studies with Dr. Grace Volkmann (a student of Walter Gieseking) and through her no-nonsense discipline acquired a solid technique that made all my advanced studies possible. Advanced studies proceeded with Florence Stephenson (a specialist of chamber music) at the University of California, and Wladimir Kochanski, a concert pianist and pupil of the legendary Rosina Lhevinne. I also owe considerable thanks to Dr. Paul-Martin Maki (from whose phenomenal ears no musical detail escaped examination) and the great virtuoso Walter Baker, conductor and concert organist from whom I also acquired a sophisticated mastery of the pipe organ and its literature (especially Bach). Working as assistant to Thomas Schippers (Metropolitan Opera) provided me with conducting skills, especially with choral music.

Following my graduation from the Manhattan School of Music I won first prize in the Pennington International Piano Competition, as well as winning the coveted Ceravolo Prize for Excellence tin the Performance of the Music of J.S. Bach. I made my formal debut at the age of seventeen with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra performing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto in C minor. I continue to perform solo recitals, accompany singers, and direct choral ensembles throughout the United States, Canada, and England.

I have a passion for teaching, and have been providing instruction from my New York City studio near Lincoln Center for more than twenty years. My students are a diverse group, from children to adults of all ages. Some are experienced musicians seeking advice on technical issues as well as new perspectives of interpretation. Others are dedicated amateurs eager to develop their pianistic skill as a means of artistic fulfillment and personal growth.

Please feel free to contact me with an questions regarding lessons for yourself, or your child. I look forward to talking with you.

Email: jonathanbaker@nyc.rr.com
Phone: 917-526-2253
http://BakerPianoLessons.com

 
Studio Location
31 West 69th Street
New York, NY 10023
 
Phone
(917) 526-2253
 
 
Website
www.bakerpianolessons.com