I passionately believe that every student can discover music that speaks to them and inspires them to stretch and grow. Whenever I see that a student has “checked out” and is not engaged with their studies, I am inspired to discover the one thing that can reignite their interest, whether it’s Chopin, Miles Davis, or video game theme songs. As soon as my students reconnect with the spark of their own creativity, I am instantly elated and reminded why I love to teach
I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa to a mother who played piano for church and a father who said (when asked if he played an instrument) that he “played the checkbook.” As a horribly near-sighted 4-year old, piano was physical therapy for hand-eye coordination. My teachers were concerned with my construction-paper-cutting skills. Turns out I was borderline blind until corrective eyewear turned things around.
I packed up my car and moved to New York City in 2005 to pursue my passion for music full-time. Since then, I’ve temped as a proofreader for a legal firm, toured the US and Europe, polished saxophone mouthpieces for a music store, and developed a love/hate relationship with the city’s bus system.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY - PIANO
My piano teaching focuses not only on piano playing but also on whole musicianship, including music theory, aural training, sight reading, improvisation and composition. I use a variety of games, methods, and approaches to craft a curriculum custom-tailored to each student’s abilities, strengths, and musical interests. As a piano teacher, I believe my primary responsibility is to instill an enthusiasm and appreciation for music. My dream is that, as my students grow, music will remain an integral and enriching part of their life, whether or not they continue with studies.
As my students develop to an intermediate or advanced level that requires more technical nuance, I suggest students consider private lessons, either with me or another good teacher. Being a performer gives me the ability and authority to teach the correct physical approach to the keyboard with confidence. In fact, teaching keeps me honest as a player, and I feel I learn as much (or more!) from my students in our time together.
While I specialize in jazz piano, I also have decades of experience in classical music, and am fluent in blues, rock, and pop styles as well.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY - COMPOSITION
I believe that everyone has an innate ability to create, and that anyone who can communicate in any language already has a grasp on the basics of composition. I use a variety of improvisation-based approaches to help students quickly generate material, and then we walk through the five steps of framing and transforming compositions as taught by composer Kenneth Gaburo. Along the way, I integrate principles of music theory, counterpoint, and orchestration as needed. My composition students gain confidence and fluency in creating music that expresses their individual voice.
Evan M. performs as a pianist and accordionist across New York City. With over 25 years of musical experience, Evan studied at the University of Iowa where he received both his bachelor's degree in piano performance and his master's degree in jazz studies. As a guest artist and clinician, he has taught master classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the University of North Texas, and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Evan integrates improvisation into his playing, writing, and teaching while remaining a performer/composer dedicated to innovation. Evan currently serves as musical director at Sunnyside Reformed Church in Queens, NY.
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