016: Learning to Teach Beginners with Rebecca Stewart

TMPiano Podcast 16 - Learning to Teach Beginners with Rebecca Stewart

In today’s episode, we delve into the art of teaching beginners with our guest, Rebecca Stewart. With a rich background in music education, Rebecca’s journey began with the Yamaha method and later evolved into her own unique approach, filled with creativity and innovation. From her farm life in Australia to her recent speaking engagement at the Autumn Piano School, Rebecca shares valuable insights gained from years of experience. We explore her transition from established curricula to personalized lessons, her favorite method books, and her creative teaching techniques, including improvisation and composition. Join us as we uncover Rebecca’s passion for teaching, her role as Head of Certification at TopMusic, and her dedication to making music education fun, engaging, and accessible for students of all ages.

  • Rebecca shares a brief overview of her music studio and shares about her farm life in Australia.
  • Her recent speaking engagement at the Autumn Piano School in Armidale, Australia.
  • She shares highlights from the conference, including observing other teachers and assessing student needs.
  • Her transition from teaching with the Yamaha curriculum to creating her own lessons.
  • Her approach to beginner lessons, emphasizing creativity, improvisation, and individualized instruction.
  • Favorite method books for her students, including Piano Safari, Encore on Keys, and Piano Adventures.
  • Creative activities that she incorporates into lessons, such as rote pieces, improvisation, composition, chord playing, and transposition.
  • Advice on improvisation for teachers who may struggle with it.
  • Examples of using animal stories and dragon imagery to inspire improvisation in students.
  • Discussion about her sight-reading series called “Sight Reading Secrets.”
  • She highlights the community aspect of TopMusic, offering professional development and support for isolated piano teachers.
  • TopMusic certification program and how it provides practical professional development opportunities for piano teachers to improve their skills in teaching, business, and marketing.
  • She shared about some upcoming events with her students and working with new teachers in the certification program.

Guest Links Mentioned:

Links Mentioned:

Today’s Guest

TMPiano Podcast 16 - Learning to Teach Beginners with Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart grew up listening to her three older sisters practice their musical instruments. She delighted in her childhood music lessons and wanted to teach young children in a fun and creative way. Her piano teacher at Melbourne University recommended the Yamaha method, and Rebecca taught with Yamaha Music Education Centres from 1998 to 2018. She loved being a national teacher trainer with Yamaha, and enjoyed opportunities to travel to Toronto and Tokyo for Yamaha teacher development events. In 2016 Rebecca went to Jakarta where her 8-year-old Yamaha student performed his original composition at the Asia Pacific Junior Original Concert. Her first book “Sight Reading Secrets Grade One” was published in 2004, and there are now nine books in the series. In 2023, Rebecca worked with Tim Topham in developing the TopMusic Certification program and continues in the role of Head of Certification for TopMusic.

About Rachel Ehring

Dr. Rachel Ehring is a pianist, teacher, music administrator, and lover of piano teaching gadgets. She holds a DMA in Collaborative Piano from the University of Colorado Boulder and a MM in Accompanying from the University of Kansas. She currently serves as Director at St. John’s Conservatory of the Arts in Orange County, CA. Previously, she held positions at Concordia University Irvine and Henderson State University. Rachel is passionate about empowering music teachers to create engaging and exciting lessons for students of all ages. When she isn’t playing the piano, you might find Rachel reading books with her son or walking her beagle Frieda.

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