Shallon van den Akker Green
Certified as an Elementary Specialist with Royal Conservatory of Music, I teach piano beginners of all ages, through to Level 4 of the RCM curriculum. My primary goal as a teacher is to help cultivate a solid foundation in the pedagogical techniques required to succeed in learning and playing music. It is my objective to equip my students with a secure knowledge of the basics so that they may continue to play and enjoy music, with a deeper understanding and appreciation, for a lifetime. I hope to instill in my students the structure, discipline, and drive that I feel is necessary to excel, not only with piano but in all aspects of life. Perfection may be inaccessible, but, with effort, I believe excellence is attainable. Through kind and encouraging direction, I guide students through new challenges and gently push them towards growth. I strive to develop in each student a personal pride of a job well done.
I believe the student/teacher relationship is all about connection and trust. In an environment where one hopes to encourage learning and growth, there will also be frustrating stumbles and mistakes. How I respond as a teacher can contribute towards a student’s willingness to try again or resistance to new challenges. I aim to provide a safe, warm atmosphere for students to learn, where they feel secure enough to show vulnerability, specifically regarding self-expression.
Proper posture, movement, and fingering will be points of focus, along with an emphasis on sight-reading and a solid understanding of musical markings and terminology. I will strive to incorporate analysis, rhythm exercises, technical exercises, and ear training within the weekly lessons as well as an introduction to music history. The ability to properly interpret musical selections contributes towards greater independence, personal enjoyment, and self-supported discovery. The end goal is that they are equipped with the necessary skills to continue with a self-driven practice beyond formal lessons.
I believe developing a connection to the material is an excellent self-motivator for students, and so I strive to inspire their musical imagination. This goal is accomplished through the exploration of descriptive titles, personal experiences, creation of musical narratives, an introduction to history and lives of the composers, and listening to various interpretations of the piece. These are done to help spark in the student interest because I believe that is where the desire to work hard begins. As said by Albert Einstein, “Life is like a piano…what you get out of it depends on how you play it.”
I do cater to those students who choose to pursue the more formal curriculum of the Royal Conservatory Certificate Program. I feel this is an excellent approach for those students who do well with organized learning as it delivers a structured path with clear goals. Yearly evaluations by professionally trained examiners provide students with invaluable feedback. Components of the program include technical requirements, musicianship, music literacy, repertoire, and musical development.
Although my focus as a traditionalist is to provide a solid foundation in the standard classical repertoire, I do encourage feedback and attempt to offer flexibility in both teaching methods and curriculum used. I believe that setting performance goals, both with recitals and RCM examinations, helps to push students towards success. That said, I do recognize that some students find the idea of public performance daunting and possibly even a deterrent to studying music. Although I encourage performance, it is not a requirement, and I’m more than happy to work with students who play for pleasure and development of musical awareness.
The art of piano is a serious study, and I endeavour to offer a well-rounded experience to all my students; to create flexible lesson plans based on each individual's strengths and weaknesses. No two are made completely alike, and although I prefer things to progress at a good pace, I adjust expectations according to the students as individuals. I feel accessible goals and measurable progress help to bolster confidence and set students up for future successes in music and life.
- Youth (7-17)
- Adults (18+)
- Young Children (under 7)
- 2009 - Certification - Rhema Bible Training College
- Conservatory Piano - Private Lessons - RCM Grade 9 - 2014
- Conservatory Piano - Private Lessons - RCM Grade 9 - 2015