Being a piano teacher (and….)

Hi there,

There’s lots of art and music here today, folks!  Also, this week I’d like to talk a little bit about how it is to be a piano teacher…

Up until the end of March I was teaching 34 young ‘uns each week,on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

34 half hour one on one lessons – it’s a joy, but it requires a heap of energy and a lot of patience, especially with the primary school the aged students I have. 

I’ve been extremely lucky to have been teaching at this primary school in Melbourne, Australia, for about ten years now. Hampton Primary has a great culture, great teachers and fantastic leadership. It’s very much a pleasure to be part of proceedings. 

For the last 4 months(?), out of necessity, I’ve been teaching about 2/3 of these students online. It’s been a quick steep learning curve, but it’s proving to be fun and effective.

Prior to this, my main income was generated through ‘pianoman’ gigs and before that, band Gigs.

I miss playing ‘live’:

bas crypt

 

A decade ago, The restaurant (at Southgate, Melbourne) where I had my last residency was closing. The writing was on the wall that I was nearing the end of my ‘piano man’ days. These were great times. I’ve written about it a lot. I’ll have another blog active about this soon. 

I mention it here because the wages just didn’t go up with the times and with a young family to finance. I was suddenly responsible for others and I needed ….more. 

Luckily, piano teaching kicked in. It’s great to be passing on an art. 

Fast forward ten years. I do all my art and music around my teaching. It’s a juggle, particularly with a family. But it’s a passion – it’s who I am. It’s not some sort of ‘extra’. I’m really enjoying publishing these blog posts, including art like this…  

This week’s Plein Air Painting:

As I’m not allowed to paint on the spot presently, I’ve just been in my studio, painting from a photo…

For the next few weeks I’ve decided to take you on one of my favourite walks. Today’s painting is of the view you get as you walk onto the path.

Moondah 1 sml

Moondah beach,  Mt Eliza, Vic,  Australia.  29cm x 12 cm  $125

More here:    plein air paintings

Mornington is in the distance.  One of these days I’ll find the time to play golf on those fairways near the centre of the painting. 

There were no boats out (no ones allowed to fish) and no gannets. They stayed at home too.

I’m more than happy to play my part. I’ve barely gone anywhere for …is it about 4 months now, here in Melbourne?

I’m so thankful I took the time to learn how to produce some art and music. I feel very lucky to be painting (realism in the studio) art like this:

2 yachts serene sml

Sandringham.     150cm x 60cm   sold             

More here: prints of Studio Paintings

– and I feel lucky to be teaching -thank goodness I’m able to teach piano from home..

The thing about teaching piano to young ones is: I care so much about each and every one of them. I really want each lesson to be fun. I want them to progress, feel like they’re learning plenty. 

They’re all on a journey with the piano. It’s an exploration, at this age. Some will carry on, some won’t. I see it as my responsibility to make sure they enjoy themselves as they learn, and regardless of whether they carry on with it, I make sure they’ve got plenty of theory under their belt to use if they try other instruments. 

Also, it’s a general ‘learning how to learn’ time at this age. These lessons are an opportunity to get motivated; discover a passion; see how the energy flows; put into place a work ethic, to nurture …something… 

Nurturing a A dream? Maybe that’s what it is. 

bas catching big

I endeavour to help ignite my students imagination. I  constantly ‘play’ as we explore with different concepts at the piano. Play based learning is very effective.

I’ll weave a little cartoon drawing into proceedings. the student’s books have cartoons drawn by us both, plus lots of  brief notes and symbols in bright colours…

…cartoons like this one- want to have ago?

YouTube video:
How to Draw a Cartoon  Hippo With An Umbrella

The great thing about any art is that once you get some techniques, a ‘process’ up your sleeve, you can use it to create all sorts of characters.

I started years ago by emulating others -including those amazing artists who drew the original Disney cartoons. I used to love those Disney comics. I still love watching the old animated Disney movies. Where would we be, without ‘Disney’s folly’, Snow White?!

hippo umbrella sml

This Purple Hippo came out of thin air one day..

 

When I’m teaching my students, I try to see the world through their eyes, I imagine how it is to have these lessons once a week with a man who’s so obviously into piano playing. 

and here’s me ‘on the job’ as it were…

Recollections (solo piano)

from the album:

PEACE FRONT COVER SML

One hour of relaxing piano. This is my 4th album.

I’ve got a stack of piano music like this available to be streamed on your favourite streaming app–  there’s more on the way, too. The 4 albums are very cruisey – great for creating a relaxed environment.

 

I make a point of showing my students my songs as I compose them. Just a snippet -and I explain how I’ve used a concept they already understand, so they get to see how it fits into the process.

bas power of perf

Teaching one on one, I think it’s really important to realise you are in a relationship that grows each week. And if it doesn’t, the learning suffers. 

There has to be respect for each other. As a teacher I’m learning all the time and I let my students know this. 

I feel like an imposter some weeks. I have no formal qualifications. I have made a living from being a pianist/vocalist/band member/songwriter (800songs)  my whole life.  I’m trying to pass on my musicality, my passion.  I hope that it ‘sparks’ something for the student so they can then go on and find their own path.

Here’s a bunch of snapshots of my own ‘journey’ ..

——–

‘Song And A Chat’ Podcast.

Episode #21   Don’t You Ever Give In  (12:03  & 28:51)

Dont you ever rgb3000sml

 If you streamed this episode,  what would you to hear about ? Well…

(from the show notes)

Hi, my names Pete Pascoe, I’m a songwriter with a lot of songs. Each week I talk about a song I’ve written & what I was thinking when I wrote the song. I relate anecdotes from around time as well & include observations about life in general- all delivered in a laid back manner with a dose of humour. 

So this week, song # 368, Don’t You Ever Give In… the title says it all: it’s been a challenging time..but I won’t give in. 

This song came from 1996 which was the year before I left New Zealand and I headed off to Melbourne to start all over again, 

With all the ups and downs that happened in the years that followed, this song was a bit of a touchstone for me just to keep going – and I still am. I’m pretty determined. 

In between talking about the song, I’ll take you on an audition I undertook once trying out for the role of JC in j c superstar …

jc judas

Original photo by George henderson, NZ  (this is a copy)

This was also the year I wrote and recorded my first piano music album ,

Eridanus/River Music.

Eridanus River Music Cover 2015MP copy

This was my first go at painting ‘plein air’ (on the spot). The Manawatu river in Palmerston North, NZ. (one of my ‘Georgia’ kind of places- see below).

 

And our band (Strangetown)  played a large outdoor rock concert ….

miuntain rock

That’s us centre, bottom. Big speakers!

It was big year, looking back. It’s been an interesting ride, since. 

Come along with me on a journey back in time and hear some tales, we’ll look at the song lyrics, and there’s two versions of the song, to boot!

(If you’d like just the music, the song start times are in the titles).

Enjoy. 

——

 

I’m still on this ride. Sometimes it feels like a merry-go-round, other days a rollercoaster. One thing’s for sure: it’s never boring!

I’m planning to put all my teaching online, everything I’ve developed over the last ten years, as I can manage. I’m working towards that now. e-books, videos courses, etc.  Like everything I do, I’m giving it 100% , but I’ve learned to pace myself over the years. So while I’ve set up a timeline, the publishing date for this material will be: ‘when it’s ready’.  

When you’re publishing this sort of thing, I think you need to absolutely believe in what you have to offer, what you’re trying to achieve. 

I’m doing this because I think : wouldn’t it be great to be teaching 1000s of people, young and old, each week, instead of just 34!

I’ll let you know when those ‘learning to play’ piano books and videos are up. Then there’ll be other books, on arranging, songwriting, how to play my piano pieces, other songs. 

In the meantime – and into the foreseeable future – I’ll continue to be post (free) creative   blog posts, podcast episodes and videos each week. 

Like this one

Youtube music Video:
Cover: Georgia On My Mind by Hoagy Carmichael & Stuart Gorrell

 

I have a confession to make : I had no idea Stuart Gorrell wrote the lyrics until recently. It’s a crime – no lyrics, no song. The words are of course as important as the music.

Just like Ira Gershwin, who wrote all those amazing lyrics for his brother George to write brilliant melodys with.. you knew that right?

Anyway, Georgia On My Mind is one of those great songs. Ray Charles did such a great version he’s the guy I think of when this song comes up.

I’ve never been to Georgia (hey, there’s a song title!), but I do have some special places in my memory and special people whom I associate with those places. So when I close my eyes and sing, that’s what I’m thinking about + the pure joy of just being able to close my eyes and sing and play…

 

I’ve realised lately: I’m well along my path. It’s just sort of ‘crystallised’ lately.. the way forward seems so obvious now. I have been planning this for so long, it’s just been a matter of working out how to go about it. 

Thanks for coming along with me. 

If you know of anyone who’s looking for a few tips with piano playing, or art, please send them my way. Also, I’m thinking I’m ready to take some more adult students on (online lessons) ..

Ok, now it’s time to think about my next creative project: I’ll be recording another podcast episode tonight and working on another cartoon drawing video. Then tomorrow I hope to finally finish the Pascoe band album ‘The Roughest Cut’ …..(thinking now of ‘Don’t You Ever Give In’) it’s all a work in progress, and I think that’s healthy. 

We are all hanging in there, presently, with Covid -19. I hope you’re going ok.

bas keep balance

I’m already looking forward to how it might be in five years time. I’m optimistic. you gotta be, to do this sort of thing.

You’re pretty much on your own – except for supportive people like yourself. Thanks so much for having a read today. If you’ve enjoyed it, please do ‘like’ and leave a positive review below -that would really help me. You can also follow my blog …thanks in advance.   

So, in 5 years time…I plan to have hundreds of videos up, lots more albums, podcast episodes and blog posts like this – plus all my art and music archived – with new stuff appearing each week, too. We’ll see how it goes… 

Over the last 5 months there’s been 21 blog posts here, 21 podcasts, around 40 youtube videos.. it’s been busy.

I’m enjoying sharing what I’ve learned so far, in the hope I can help others along the way. I hope I’m making a positive difference with what I’m publishing online.  

I hope you’re having a great week.

Pete

PS here’s the Lyrics to the song on this week’s Podcast Episode  – feel like a listen?

        Don’t You Ever Give In        words and music by P. Pascoe. 

 

There’s a lot of people been down this road before

but they threw it away before they opened the door

Don’t you ever give in,  don’t you ever give in 

The toughest part comes at the top of the climb

but when you think of all you’re leaving behind

Don’t you ever give in,  don’t you ever give in

There’s a lot of mistakes that really do burn

but if there’s one thing we’ve learned, the tide always turns

Don’t you ever give in,  don’t you ever give in

There’s a lot of love in this world we live in

There’s a lot of people just beginning to learn

There’s a lot of good reasons to never give in

Keep telling your friends to keep hanging in. 

History says seems just like at the wrong time

you could never expect just what you’d find

Don’t you ever give in,  don’t you ever give in

To live in the day is the recipe

If you want to stay happy that way, you’ll listen to me

Don’t you ever give in,  don’t you ever give in