Students of the Chopin Academy of Music belong to an elite group of people who share the bond of music. The following pages detail important information and valuable considerations for prospective students, whether one is a child or an adult, as well as a place to display the merits and accolades of our many talented students.
What Makes Us Different?
It is obvious to us that when one takes into account our faculty, accomplishments, and facilities, that the number one answer is quality. All our teachers are carefully chosen to provide the highest level of education and service to each student. Our instructors must have the minimum credentials of a master of music in instrumental performance, while most have the highest possible education (doctorates in music). We are not a collection of rooms that are rented out to anyone who is willing to pay the fee, as most facilities are. We have a unified music program in which all teachers work together to build a comprehensive music education for everyone. Instrumental lessons, group performance classes, and musicianship classes make it possible for every student to attain his or her potential, regardless of age, talent, or level.
All of our instructors excel in teaching from the earliest beginners to the most advanced university-level students. When comparing us with others, notice that we do what we preach. We are active performers, known in the stages of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, as you will discover by reading our faculty biographies. Instrumental lessons, for centuries, have always been a relationship of pupil and master, who will always be able to demonstrate the artistic and technical aspects of any piece of music. A sensible student or parent should be wary of a teacher who has not touched the instrument for years.
Furthermore, Chopin Academy of Music provides rooms and instruments that are spacious, elegant, and inspiring with comfortable seating for parents or listeners. We work closely with local instrumental stores and halls, reserving venues for students to display they skills and artistry frequently throughout the year.
If the quality of the education that you seek matters to you, the Chopin Academy of Music is the obvious choice.
Did You Know That…
Currently in the United States, no legislation exists to control who is teaching private music lessons to the community. By comparison, one needs certification and licensing to open a hair salon. However, anyone can put up a sign saying “Violin Lessons”
or “Piano Lessons,” get a business license and legally run a studio. In the state of Washington, anyone may obtain a business license for $15 annually regardless of credentials, qualifications, or background and call himself or herself a music business.
In such situations, all the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the adult student or parent to find a qualified teacher. Many think that anyone can teach beginners, or that they do not need the most qualified teacher to have fun learning a new instrument.
WRONG! By saving a few dollars with an unqualified teacher, you are imposing poor habits that will likely be impossible to change later and that may even lead to injuries and diseases including Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinitis, and Focal Dystonia that have the potential to plague a student for a lifetime.
As an example, do not think that piano playing is like typing and learning to wiggle the fingers. The entire body must be seated and positioned precisely, from the feet to the neck, in order to develop healthy, injury-free technique. A graphic manual on posture will not suffice, since every student has unique body proportions. If taught correctly, piano playing should never cause any pain or discomfort and can bring hours of daily fun and satisfaction while experiencing the art of music. Furthermore and most importantly, only correct technique may bring a truly beautiful sound to the instrument; and isn’t sound the most important aspect of music?
A Word About Frederic Chopin…
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was a legendary romantic composer of Polish origin. Throughout his entire life, his concert appearances numbered less than forty. Showcasing himself was not his primary concern, as was the case for many other virtuosi of the day. When performing, he often improvised and preferred smaller gatherings over large public venues. His main focus was teaching and composing.
“…it was with veritable joy that he devoted all his strength to teaching several hours a day…His demands, so difficult to satisfy, the feverish passion with which the Maestro tried to raise his disciples to his level, the obstinacy he used to make a passage repeated until it was understood, were proof of how much he took to heart the progress of a student…A holy artistic zeal burned in him, and every word from his lips was stimulating and a source of enthusiasm.”
-Mikuli, pupil of Chopin; found in Tad Szulc’s Chopin in Paris, The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer, Da Capo Press, New York, Scribner, 2000, p. 239-40.
His approach to technique was perhaps one of the most revolutionary in the history of piano performance, emphasizing flexibility, fluidity, suppleness of the wrists, all of which contributed to his sublime world of sound and expression.
The founders of the Chopin Academy, throughout their extensive international education, had the privilege to study with some of the world’s top Chopin interpreters. The knowledge, insight, and skills that they learned from such masters as Professor Andrzej Stefanski (a grand-pupil of Ignace Jan Paderewski), Tatiana Shebanova (a prize-winner of the international Chopin competition in 1980), Marek Jablonski (a legendary Canadian Chopin artist), and Dr. Henri-Paul Sicsic (a powerful pianist and grand-pupil of Alfred Cortot), heavily influenced their own performing and teaching styles.