I 'm looking for a piano teacher for my daughter. I play myself, for 44 years now, but I don't teach and I'm not sure that teaching my own daughter would be easy even if I did.

For at least the last 35 of those years I have played entirely by ear, mostly various Pop styles. I work regularly as a part-time musician. I mention those things because, while I want her to be taught to read and play composed pieces, I would like for my daughter's program of study to eventually include what I'll call the "improviser's toolbox" as well.(chords, scales, rhythms, playing by ear, etc.)

She's 12 and (nearly) a complete beginner, so this may seem premature. But I have heard stories of teachers who actively discourage skills that I not only need, and put to good use, but form the very core of my own "musicality". I spoke with a teacher last night who said he agreed that ear-playing was important, but still struggles to learn songs without sheet music. I would prefer a teacher who had more personal experience in that area.

Beyond my own preferences, my daughter really enjoys independent experimentation. Last year her middle school offered a "Voice and Piano" course. She was taught to read the treble and bass clefs and was assigned some very simple (mostly monophonic) pieces to play. She did her assignments, but spent most of her time at the piano trying to figure out the melodies to OTHER songs, particularly the ones that the chorus was singing. She did quite well at this, learning "Proud Mary", "Jamaica Farewell", "I Got Rhythm" and others by ear. At one point I showed her that she could play C, F and G bass notes under "Jamaica Farewell". After playing it for her twice I left it to her to work it out, which she eventually did.

She has that determined, serious, engaged look that kids get while doing something that really interests them. Having no teaching experience, I can't say I know how to incorporate that sort of thing into a course of study, but I hope it can be done.

We live in the New York City Borough of Queens. We would probably prefer the lessons to be in our home, but in the teacher's studio is OK too. If you think that you, or another teacher you know might be a good fit, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

Greg Guarino
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Greg Guarino