Teacher / Student Profile: Joe + Ben

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Piano teacher & student at piano

Ben’s Q&A

How old are you, and how long have you taken piano lessons?

I just turned seven years old, and I’ve been playing piano for seven months.

What do you love most about playing piano?

I love pushing the pedals down when I’m playing music– they make a cool sound.

What is the hardest thing about playing piano?

Playing with two hands.

What do you like about your teacher Joe?

Joe is patient and gives me compliments after I play. I also like his cat’s name, Laura.

What is your favorite song to play, and what is your favorite song to listen to?

My favorite song to play is “Herbie Hippo”, and my favorite songs to listen to are by a group named the Killers.

Joe’s Q&A

How old were you when you took your first music lesson, and what instrument was it?

I began taking music lessons during sophomore year of high school (2010). I started with classical guitar, and there I fell in love with music. During the rest of my high school career I absorbed as many music classes as possible including classical piano, music theory, choir, and private lessons during my lunch hour for guitar and piano.

What do you love most about playing music?

I love the science behind music. Analyzing the theoretical aspects of music while studying pieces always brings joy to me. I love how the science of sound breeds drama and creates every emotion imaginable.

What do you love most about teaching music?

I grew up in a time and place where studying music meant you were a specific type of person. Meaning athletes couldn’t be in the choir, cheerleaders didn’t take band, and any instrument other than the electric guitar was a bit nerdy. I love to show people how music-making opens a door that goes beyond stereotypes.

The way one feels when they play a piece that they truly enjoy goes beyond what anyone thinks. Playing music that you love gives meaning to the phrase, “It takes you to another place”. When I expose a piece to a student and go through the journey of not only playing a piece, but understanding it, I feel as accomplished as the student feels. Being a part of someone’s progression is a special thing.

What do you most appreciate about your student Ben?

I appreciate how much Ben tries in his studies. The reason Ben has achieved the things he has achieved in the short amount of time has little to do with my intervention. When you work hard, you get rewarded. Ben embodies that idea.

What is one of your favorite songs to play, and what is one of your favorite songs to listen to?

Jazz piano and classical piano are two very different mindsets for me but I appreciate them equally. I would say my favorite jazz piece for jazz is “Autumn Leaves” and my favorite classical piece to play is “June” by Tchaikovsky in his work The Seasons.

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