I never assume that my piano students will become pianists; life may guide them elsewhere.
In fact, I don’t assume I’ll be a pianist! This may be a passing phase; who knows what I’ll be doing in 20 years.
This view supports a foundational principle in my teaching: I teach my students how to learn. Of course, we all learn differently, so I guide them towards discovering how they learn best.
Jazz and pianism is only a framework; it’s a convenient commonality, a meeting place, a minor detail. Pentatonic patterns, bebop scales, classical music and jazz are all minor props in a bigger picture.
More important is how we master them. Students need to be shown how to appreciate things like discipline, motivation, inspiration and persistence. All of my lessons are founded on this responsibility. Otherwise, I feel that they wouldn’t be getting an optimal education.
I hope that when students leave my studio, they will know how to apply what they’ve learned to journalism, running a marathon or managing a successful business, not only to music and jazz piano.
After all, if you know how to learn, you can learn and do anything!