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Helen Tong

Helen Tong

My goal is for each student to acquire a lifelong love of music and have the freedom to be able to play the piano for pleasure or professionally in their future. The central element in my teaching practice is creating an enjoyable, effective and impactful learning experience for students of all ages by providing private piano lessons that are tailored to the student’s individual pace of learning, strengths and weaknesses. Whether a student desires to be able to play popular pieces for fun; become a classically trained pianist; or both, I will provide technical elements as well as musicianship training to enable the student to achieve his or her goal. As a classically trained pianist of the Royal Conservatory of Music program with over 9 years of teaching experience in Canada and the United States, my students will be encouraged and have the opportunity to participate in assessments and recitals. Although not mandatory, many of my students have found great joy in performing in recitals as well as a strong sense of achievement after successfully completing various levels in the RCM program, from elementary to advanced. I specialize in teaching students of all ages from young children to mature adults, including grandparents, parents and siblings. Having the privilege of also teaching students with hearing disabilities (along with their interpreter) has also taught me -more than anything- that the joy of music is wholly and wonderfully universal. It brings me great joy to connect with students of all ages and varying levels and create a nurturing learning experience while defining clear music goals and instilling a sense of discipline to allow my students to grow individually. A typical piano lesson for the beginner will be based on the James Bastien Piano Basics books in which the following elements are incorporated: corresponding music games and fun activity sheets; technical practices; and theory homework. All of these elements will complement and enhance the new piece that is learned along with occasional quizzes. For fun and as reward for hard work, I will play a duet with the student which will not only be an enjoyable and rewarding experience; but will also instill a strong sense of rhythm, musicianship and a beginning foundation for performance. Periodically, I will give an informal evaluation report to offer insight to the parent and student on their progress. This straightforward report will highlight areas of music he or she is excelling in and the areas that we are currently working on improving. As the beginner student progresses, the lessons will streamline and transition to the Royal Conservatory of Music program. The repertoire and technique will expand and become more challenging and yet fun with a chance to learn popular music selections as well. My strongest areas of teaching are in music theory and musicianship (which includes ear training and sight reading). Whether a student is preparing for an assessment or not, I thoroughly train them with ear tests, sight-reading and chord recognition as well as other theoretical elements. I believe these skills to be the backbone of a solid music foundation, not just in piano but also in every musical instrument. In my teaching practice, the accomplishments of performance and passing assessments are the by-products of hard work, dedication and tenacity. The real goal, however, is to achieve fulfillment in having this love of music in one’s life and ultimately, having the freedom to do whatever one wishes with this passion. Playing by the heart is truly the greatest reward.

Instrument / Discipline

  • Piano
  • Rudiments
  • Theory

Spoken languages

  • English
  • Chinese (Cantonese)

Specialized in

  • Youth (7-17)
  • Adults (18+)
  • Young Children (under 7)
  • Beginner/Elementary
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Teaches At

  • Music school
  • Online
  • Teacher's home
  • Teacher's studio

Specialist designation

  • Piano - Elementary