Information About Gaspar - Lewisham teacher
This is how 2 referees rated Gaspar:
I started playing the piano at the age of 4, and I am now a professional pianist with a vibrant career. I studied on scholarships at the Royal Academy of Music (Junior) and Trinity College of Music.
I am thorough and detailed yet friendly and encouraging. All my students say of me that I am the most patient person they've ever met. I never get frustrated with students, as I believe this betrays a lack of creativity and knowledge. If a student doesn't understand something, it is my responsibility to explain try another angle or try something different.
I have taught extensively since my teenage years. Though I am not an exam freak, I have passed every single student who has chosen to take an exam (most of them with distinction; the only thing I can say about the others is that there is only so much I can do for students that don't work!).
When I was 20, I was selected by the WAM foundation as a particularly promising young teacher, after a thorough evaluation. They sent me with a handful of other outstanding young pianists to train piano teachers and students for an entire summer in New Delhi (India) all expenses paid. This involved teaching over 30 individuals one-on-one, as well as performing, running lectures, workshops and masterclasses in venues such as the British Council and the Dhoon school, India's "Eaton".
I am in constant demand as a soloist and accompanist. Concerto performances include Beethoven's first piano concerto with the St Albans Philomusica, Mozart's 23rd piano concerto with the Harpenden Friend's ensemble, and Rachmaninov's 2nd piano concerto with the Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra. In 2009 I was involved in BBC's 2009 Maestro series final as concerto soloist with 'Drum n Bass' legend Goldie conducting. More recently I played for E4's **Removed By Admin**). I worked with Matt Willis (guitarist/vocalist from Busted and 2006 winner of ITV's I'm a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here) as the arranger and pianist for Boys In The Front Room, a new musical on the life of Joe Orton which is currently undergoing production. I performed in an interesting solo Covent Garden concert this year, where the entire programme was chosen online by the audience ahead of the performance; they were made to request and vote for any classical/popular/movie music they wanted to hear, and I had a week of extreme musical marathon to learn the pieces I didn't already know! I also regularly work for Puzzle Piece Opera as musical director and pianist, as soloist or accompanist for functions, and as arranger and composer.
I have won a number of prizes, including the European Teachers Piano Association's piano competition and the 2009 UHRecordings composition prize which involved a large cash prize and a recording. At 16 I received a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music (Junior) where I studied with Timothy Barratt who is a trainer for ABRSM examiners and co-writes the ABRSM teaching notes on piano examination pieces. I took advantage of a full grant to study composition for a year at the university of Hertfordshire and then accepted a scholarship to study piano at Trinity College of Music under Philip Fowke, an internationally renowned concert pianist. I was also incredibly fortunate to take lessons in France from Bernard Flavigny, who studied with Cortot, Messiaen, Nadia Boulanger and was a classmate of Boulez.
I find being a composer brings huge benefits to my playing and my understanding of music. I have written music for ads, short films, and plays. I run a successful business, Commission A Piano Song, where people commission pieces based on a loved one's name (which we code into musical notes, more information on the company website). My interest in eastern traditions and music has involved me in performances on the Indian harmonium of hindustani classical ragas, devotional bhajans and sufi qawwali in various venues, including the Brighton Festival. I also play jazz piano.
I am thorough and detailed yet friendly and encouraging. All my students say of me that I am the most patient person they've ever met. I never get frustrated with students, as I believe this betrays a lack of creativity and knowledge. If a student doesn't understand something, it is my responsibility to find another angle or try something different.
Too many teachers just make their students tackle incrementally harder pieces, without fully (if at all) tackling the wealth of basic instruction. This was the case for many of my early teachers, and that cost me years of improvement. I feel bitter about this, but it fuels my passion for teaching: I want to pass on the gems of knowledge which I wasn't given as a child. Balance between hands and lines, voicing of chords, imperceptible fluctuations of tempo to make the phrases breathe and the music speak, anticipatory pauses for expressive notes, dynamic sculpture of phrases, micro-phrasing, highlighting a piece's architecture, finer points of pedalling, articulation, and the use of all the above to express what the music is saying and bring it to life… These are skills that students need to tackle from the very outset for them to develop alongside finger coordination and fluency. This is what makes students sound professional no matter what level they're at (and earns them distinctions for exams!). I cannot bear teachers who simply say "you must feel the music" when they don't provide adequate training. Once you have mastered and internalised these skills to the point when they become completely natural and inbuilt, only then does "feeling the music" make sense, because your subconscious can manipulate these tools on its own. As a result, playing the piano becomes incredibly pleasurable and immersive, regardless of the student's level.
I ensure all my students understand music in the full sense of the term; most pianists play the notes in front of them in the same way someone might recite poetry in a language they don't understand. It may be a perfectly competent rendition, but it's ultimately ludicrous. I teach sound theoretical skills which makes taking grade 5 theory effortless, as it's infinitely easier learning theory hands-on in the context of a piece of music rather than abstractly from a book or in a class. I teach aural skills, transcription and jazz basics (which incidentally enables students to play keyboard for rock/pop should they ever need to). This brings tremendous benefits to their classical playing and makes well-rounded musicians.
I really emphasise reading skills, so that students' playing and reading improves at the same rate. Unfortunately, most students' reading only develops during the last minute panic over exam sight-reading, and during the first few days of tackling a new piece before muscle-memory kicks in. The chasm between their reading and playing levels steadily widens over years and learning new pieces becomes increasingly painful. Finally most loose interest and give up, only to bitterly regret it in later life.
I often hear teachers complaining that students don't know how to practice properly, but they rarely seem to do anything about it. That is always my first priority because if a student spends his time at the piano improving his practicing technique, his playing will follow naturally. What works best is asking them to record 10mins of practice (i.e. 8 bars) and upload it to Soundcloud, **Contact Detail Removed**'s equivalent for audio files. I am then able to give timed feedback on it, and within a couple of months they are usually able to practice like professionals.
In short, it all boils down to this: if I get my pupils excited about their playing and practice, I've done my job.
Additional Languages: French
Availability: Weekends / Weekdays (all times)
References Available: Yes (✔ On File)
- Trinity College of Music, London (2013) - BMus Piano performance (Bachelors) (✘ Not On File)
- ABRSM board (2007) - LRSM, piano performance (Other) (✘ Not On File)
- self-taught (2007) - French Baccalaureat, scientifique (College) (✘ Not On File)
- ABRSM board (2006) - grade 8, french horn (Other) (✘ Not On File)