Cairngorms Music offers professional piano tuition from our base in Dulnain Bridge. With over a decade of teaching experience and degrees and diplomas in music, piano accompaniment and instrumental teaching, Robin Versteeg is a teacher of sensitivity, perceptiveness and breadth. He has taught piano privately to young people and adults of all experience levels, and as a member of staff at Lomond School, Fettes College and Dundee City Council. Robin is a professional member of both the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the European Piano Teachers Association.
Have you always fancied learning the piano but never been sure quite when or how to start?
Do you want to improve hand-eye coordination, to complement a sport or another instrument?
Do you enjoy "picking-out" tunes on the keyboard and now want to learn how to read music?
It may be a resounding YES! to one or more of these questions, or perhaps you have another reason. Whatever your inspiration, or your experience, introduce yourself to Cairngorms Music today! Book a consultation lesson, or simply get in touch for a chat.
Read more about Robin's approach to teaching, below...
Whether in introducing an early beginner to the rudiments of music theory and the stave, or in coaching a more experienced pianist towards their first public performance or SQA examination, my approach to teaching young people is friendly and flexibile. In tailoring lesson content and repertoire to the individual pupil, I take into account not just a player's physical and aural abilities, but also their personal attributes and life experiences - interests or hobbies which may inform or inspire their music-making for example, or perhaps any on-going worries or pressures they may face in everyday life.
While there are elements of piano pedagogy which will always form a part of my teaching - the musical stave and sightreading, aural awareness, posture and hand position, for instance - I am acutely aware of the necessity of pupil choice, both in terms of the repertoire we work on and on the management of time in our weekly sessions. Some pupils may want to explore the basics of jazz harmony or in recognising chord symbols on lead-sheets. Others might ask about the place of the piano in the wider musical world, chord playing in a ceilidh band for example, or acting as the "orchestra" in a choir or opera rehearsal. It is precisely this chameleon-like flexibility, the piano's ability to move from solo performance through vamping accompaniment to choral reheasal tool, and back again, which I find fascinating, and it continues to inhabit all sorts of different areas in my own musical world on a daily basis. So if I can inspire the same breadth of outlook and openmindedness in my own pupils - by responding to and encouraging their particular questions, desires or worries - I'll be doing something right!
One of the things I am most passionate about is instilling in pupils a sense of what it is we do when meeting on a weekly basis. Piano practice must not become a chore, to be completed as quickly and as mindlessly as possible; it is not "homework", and should not be equated to, for example, completing a series of maths exercises before the next class. Learning an instrument provides the same enthralling, eye-opening, wonderful experience as does any skill or art - playing football, for instance, attending Salsa dance lessons, following a training plan towards your first 10k, or picking up some juggling balls for the first time...! Inevitably then, and in common with any coach or tutor, a piano teacher must assist, guide and monitor, but there will come a time as there does with eveything when we are on our own; and be it a young pupil facing a problem bar in a piece they have worked on doggedly for weeks, or an adult deciding to sit down at their living room piano for the first time in years, a pianist needs to know how to play the piano, and how to practise it. And good teaching should never be mere demonstration.
The most telling quote I've read recently on teaching, and one which I feel summarises my own intentions in piano tuition, comes from Charles Crew, one of a team of elite, master teachers in Singapore whose responsibility it is to manage the ethos and curriculum of the island's schools:
"I don't teach physics; I teach my pupils how to learn physics".
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