Piano/Voice Lessons In Your Home!
LEARN FROM A PRO
Rick Blackson was teaching piano while in his teens in the seventies. By his late twenties he had been the music director/arranger for numerous vocal groups and theatrical presentations. He has worked with choirs and taught in schools. Over the years, his private students number in the hundreds. This page reflects his teaching objectives and policies.
Since I see participation in the performance arts as a "quality of life thing," I expect all students to learn at least enough to bring them years of fun and enjoyment. Therefore I try not to take things too seriously or put students under a lot of unnecessary pressure causing them to quit prematurely.
I expect some students to eventually become accompanists, church musicians, lounge pianists, participants in school and/or community theater, wedding singers, members of various music groups or bands, and even musical directors and arrangers. Therefore I have a very eclectic approach that exposes students to a variety of musical styles, respects their individual tastes, and can prepare them for numerous performing experiences.
I expect a few students to go on to music school. Those more disciplined students are encouraged to rehearse diligently, study theory, and play or sing more challenging repertoire until it becomes apparent they are ready for a different kind of teacher.
All vocal students are required to study some music fundamentals with the goal of learning to read music and play piano at a very basic level.
There are intangibles that I bring to each session which I personally believe to be more valuable than music. Every student is approached individually, with attention given to strengths, weaknesses, and personality. This is essential when working with the little ones.
Since Mary Jo and I will not have our own children, it is very fulfilling for me to have so many kids to love, appreciate, and attempt to influence positively by edifying their self-esteem and being one more caring person who loves them. During these often troubling times it is more important than ever that you know that I use the utmost professional and ethical discretion in every aspect of our relationship, especially whenever I demonstrate appropriate affection towards your children.
What I endeavor to be to your kids is a friendly, loving adult in their lives who is both funny and serious, who happens to be at least one teacher they can call by first name. I hope the boys see me as a guy who is into a lot of the same things as they are, like sports for instance, while at the same time being into music and singing and entertaining, things which are cool for guys, too.
While we live in a time in which girls and guys increasingly share more common interests, I believe that there are very obvious advantages to approaching each differently. To the girls I hope to demonstrate extra kindness and patience, and warmth and acceptance. Perhaps idealistically I hope this influence may resonate with them in positive ways that go beyond music and outlasts my association with them. With all of my students I try to be an effective listener and develop good, friendly relationships that have the potential to last a long time. In other words, for me it is about a lot more than just music.
I offer two voluntary showcases per year. I encourage my students to get involved in a variety of church, school, and community theater functions where they may get the chance to perform. I will be glad to help prepare them.
If you are parents who want what I call the Western European or traditional approach consisting of recitals, classical repertoire, competitions, scholarship searches, art songs, and preparation for the music conservatories, there are many teachers in the area who are better suited for you. There are teachers who will place their students in numerous competitions in order to prepare them for music school and the possibility of scholarships. If I have a student who displays unusual discipline, interest in classical music, and adequate ability, I will suggest you find this kind of teacher.
Do not misunderstand, I do teach fundamentals, but my emphasis tends to include learning music for personal enjoyment and life enrichment as well. My training techniques are tried and true. If you have any questions about them, just ask - but don't expect a short answer!
Although my attitude may seem laid-back, my commitment to the schedule is solid. Please seriously evaluate your willingness to make the standing weekly appointment a priority. The new rate schedule and fee assessment for more than 2 scheduled cancellations may assist you as you consider.
As most of you know, I don't hesitate to text to confirm appointments, or find substitute times, or even text at the last minute to let you know that I can come over sooner. I will continue to do this and assume it is all right with you unless you tell me anything different. I certainly don't want to be an annoyance by texting too much. You are also welcome and encouraged to text me any time for any reason, but particularly regarding scheduling. Also, please let me know if you ever would like to schedule time on the phone or in person to talk about you or your kids or anything that pertains to our relationship.
If for any reason you or any in your family discontinue working with me I hope we can continue a friendly association. Sometimes kids can be very awkward if they see me after quitting. Let them know that it's all right; no need to feel embarrassed, I'll still be happy to see them! Also, if you feel you want to try another instructor, that's all right, too!
I have come up with the following list of considerations (not necessarily in order of importance) that will help me decide who will be maintained and who will be denied.
- Tenure – the length of time a student has been working with me already
- Talent – the "wiring," reflexes, voice, etc. the student naturally has
- Attitude – the combination of ambition, drive, motivation, focus, willingness to learn, and willingness to work (or enjoy doing music) on their own
- Potential – my perception of where the combined talent and attitude may lead
- Rapport – my feeling of personal connection and exchange with the student along with other perceived intangibles
- Ability to keep appointments – although I realize that some of the most ambitious and talented students will naturally have more scheduling conflicts, at some point the realities of maintaining a business must (obviously) become a consideration
- Location, location, location – where you live will be factored into my ability to schedule you
- Student/teacher blend – the student's willingness and/or ability to take advantage of what I uniquely bring to the plate as a teacher/mentor.
- Commitment to schedule – your past tendencies regarding keeping appointments, respecting my time and commitment, etc.
Please know I make scheduling decisions with the highest and best intentions for all concerned. Again, thank you for the opportunity to have enriched your life or the lives of your children through musical instruction. To those of you who will be part of my schedule, I look forward to our continued growth together!
1) $22 per half hour session plus $7 for my travel/travel time expense.
2) A fee of $16.00 is required for each half hour unscheduled (24 hour) cancellation plus $7.00 if I show up at your house and you cancel. It is to be paid at the next session. The fee will be waived if we are able to schedule a make-up session that week.
3) Each student will be permitted two advanced scheduled (1 week notice) cancellations per season. A fee of $16 per half hour session will be required for any subsequent cancellations.
PLEASE WRITE DOWN THIS PHONE NUMBER AND KEEP IT WITH YOU:
Cell: 330-519-9634 anytime