© 2018 by David Hughes

A Teacher with a Different Philosophy

Piano Lessons in Philadelphia

…Yet another form of monotony results from “knowing,” from having grown up; from the consciousness that we have ceased to grow. When a man reaches the point where he concludes that he “knows” his subject, he decides, consciously or subconsciously, that he has nothing more to learn, and he promptly begins to lose what he does know; when he becomes aware that he has “grown up,” he has reached a stage where he has already begun to stultify those potentialities for growth which once were his, and which might have been his to the end. Boredom, monotony and discontent follow swift upon the establishment of this condition.

--F.M. Alexander, "Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual"

At the age of 21 or so I came to the conclusion that to make further progress in my technical and musical development I would need to completely overhaul my physical and psychological approach to the instrument. This has led me to a 10-year (so far!) investigation into holistic methods of bodywork (Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method), Zen philosophy, the pedagogy of pianist Abby Whiteside (the subject of my dissertation), and various other thinkers, musical and otherwise. I've availed myself of private instruction in some of these areas and incorporate them into my teaching.

I believe that the process of learning is more important than the actual result attained: to do more with less is one of my main goals as a performer and teacher. With older students I work to expand their pianistic consciousness to detect and eliminate harmful habits and attitudes. My work with younger students is more focused on prevention of these habits. I incorporate ear training and music theory into lessons and encourage my students to perform. Above all I believe that the study of music should be linked to the study of one's self. I do not follow any one "system" of pedagogy and find that with any kind of set approach something is inevitably left out. I am continually discovering new things and try to get my students to do the same.

My studio is in the Passyunk Square area of South Philadelphia, where I have a wonderful Schimmel grand piano. I can also travel to the student if scheduling permits (this would incur an extra fee, depending on distance). Please inquire within for rates. Lessons are usually weekly and are generally available for 30 or 60 minutes. Other durations of time (e.g. 45 minutes, or longer than an hour) may be possible as well.

Please be aware that I am a classical musician and the repertoire I teach is generally all in that direction. I am happy to help out with musical theater and pop to a certain extent. I do not teach jazz improvisation, however. Students at all levels are accepted, ages 6 and up. Younger students will be considered if they show signs of considerable musical talent.

Please contact me for current rates and availability.