Alessandra Tiraterra, pianist

 



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Teaching Philosophy


Teaching is a vital component of my career. Whether it is teaching beginners or advanced students, my goal as a teacher is to facilitate the learning process by providing the appropriate environment and the mandatory tools for the students to have success and enjoyment, and to motivate them to study and learn more.

I fill two roles in my career – both that of teacher and that of performing artist. I consider my piano playing and active concert career as vital to my success as a teacher, and I consider my teaching as an inspiration for my playing. Artist teachers span the world of performance by giving recitals, playing with orchestras, making public appearances, and yet they also spend time in the classroom and studio, engaged in the work of passing their art on to the next generation of musicians. I am a firm believer that the best way students of music learn is by the living example of their teacher’s playing.

In my teaching career, I have taught beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. As a pianist and musician, I have grown up in Europe, and my studies and work experience in the U.S. have greatly enriched my artistry. In my way of teaching you can now find both the European and American experiences and this makes it complete. Besides an excellent preparation as pianists, my students develop important skills as a good ear, a good capacity of improvising, and a good ability in sight reading, because I give great importance to all these aspects during my lessons. In this way, my most talented students are complete musicians and have all the conditions to be admitted to prestigious schools of music and to win awards in piano competitions.

I think that each student should have an excellent background about the repertoire: for my students I choose pieces of repertoire from the Baroque to the Twentieth Century Period since I want them to explore the musical style of every “Master of Music”. There are not composers better than others, but I know that there are some pieces of repertoire that help form a very good pianist: for instance, practicing Bach is really important for a young pianist. To play well a piece of repertoire has to be the first objective of my students: to reach this difficult objective, I give great importance to both the technique and musicality. I always consider both these aspects, so along with the technical etudes and the scales and the arpeggios in my students’ programs you can always find a Classical piece, a Romantic piece, and a Contemporary piece of repertoire. When my students start studying a new piece of repertoire, I always analyze the piece with them, show the right way of practice, and go through the main difficulties, so that they know how to better face the piece and how to improve quickly.

I often organize recitals for my students. In this way, they can show their abilities and the results they have reached. The moment of a student recital is very important for a teacher: by listening to each of my students’ performance, I plan my future work with them. For instance, if a student shows any problem about memory, difficulties in concentration, little confidence when he/she plays, difference between the performance in class and during the recital, my work after the recital will immediately address each of these problems. The period before a student recital is crucial: I noticed that, when students know that they have to perform in a recital, they work and practice harder. In this period I work particularly hard to improve their program and solve their problems. Sometimes I play with my students four-hand pieces. I consider this a key moment of interaction: by playing with me, my students learn the importance of rhythm, accuracy, and precision in chamber music.

I have been teaching since 1996. I have worked for eight years as a piano teacher in my independent piano studio in Rome, Italy, where I was also instructor of Music Theory, Form and Analysis, Theory and Solfege, and Music History. I also worked as a piano teaching assistant at the Georgia State University (GSU) School of Music, where I taught group piano classes. The large nature of the school gave me the unique opportunity to interact with a lot of students who came from different backgrounds. I have had the opportunity to mentor several undergraduate students in their efforts to pass the Group Piano Proficiency Examination. My work for Courtnay&Rowe Corporation gave me the opportunity to teach students of every age and level.

In my career as a pianist, I was privileged to work and collaborate with renowned concert pianists and pedagogues such as Marcella Crudeli, Professor at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris “A.Cortot”, Sergio Perticaroli, Emeritus Professor at the Rome Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and at the Salzburg Mozarteum Universität, Sergei Dorensky, Dean of the Piano Faculty at the Moscow Tchaikowsky Conservatory of Music and Professor at the Mozarteum Universität, Joaquin Soriano, Madrid Royal Conservatory of Music Professor of Piano, and Marc Silverman, Chair of the Piano Department at the New York Manhattan School of Music. I have known the most important European Schools and learnt how excellent performers mentor their students, put them on the right path, introduce them to challenging pieces of repertoire, and provide them with advice and emotional help. Moreover, collaborating with pianist Geoffrey Haydon at GSU helped me know the American School and develop the skills to successfully teach American students.

I think that music learning is really important for many reasons: the educational background, the concentration and coordination, and the inner life of an individual. Music also opens your mind and makes you be more sensitive towards people and the nature of things. I think that it is really beautiful to see the musical growth of a student and I always feel a great responsibility when a new student starts an artistic relationship with me.