My teaching has been greatly influenced by my former teachers Edmund Battersby, Edward Auer and Karen Shaw. I feel I have held on to different aspects from each teacher which I now advocate in my students. Prior to college I changed teachers quite frequently, most notably studying with Joanne Polk and Maria Asteriadou at MSM precollege. I feel during these years, while I enjoyed some teachers more than others, I never really connected properly with them.
My first teacher I studied with for a substantial amount of time was Edmund Battersby. Most of my teaching approach derives from my 4 years working with him. He believed in the importance of hearing all voices properly, even separating difficult passages from one hand into both in order to remove the technical difficulty and hear the desired result. He often quoted Goethe saying, “one cannot paint a color that one has not seen” and compared this principle to sound. Battersby also made every one of his students learn all the Bach two and three part inventions. It is no surprise then that I require my advanced students at NYU to learn a two part invention. Period instruments and performance practice were also very important to Battersby and I feel I too now value these as well. During my time with him and following my studies he became a close family friend and since his passing in 2016 I have felt the responsibility of carrying on his teaching legacy.
When Battersby felt I had spent enough time with him he recommended I transfer to Edward Auer. Auer regularly had his students play in class and perform full works in lessons even in consecutive weeks. This gave me confidence in my ability to perform and I would encourage my students to perform on a regular basis. Auer also recommended recording oneself regularly, which I also recommend to my students. He also continued the idea of hearing in music and advocated using your ear to guide your performance. For my final year of my masters I switched to Karen Shaw who further reinforced the value of performing on a regular basis. Professor Swann has a breadth of knowledge that I hope to accumulate and pass on to my students. I believe it is very important for students to be able to situate their music historically as well as within the composers body of works.
I feel my ideal student would be similar to myself in terms of drive and historical interest. Unlike most of my NYU secondary piano students, they would practice and have a strong, driven work ethic. They would also possess knowledge outside of music. Composers were all products of their time and we cannot represent their work without knowing at least a little about when and where they lived as well as the socio-political atmosphere of the time.
As a teacher I hope to carry on the pianistic legacies of my former teachers. This would require having students who continue into music. I also hope to teach subjects outside of piano performance such as history and performance practice. Professor Battersby taught a doctoral seminar on classical performance practice which I was lucky enough to audit. Like Professor Battersby, it is my goal to be a renaissance musician; not only a pianist but also a scholar.