Teaching Philosophy

I believe learning occurs best when we create an atmosphere of fun and possibility while instilling proper technique and good practicing habits. My goal as a teacher is to help develop your musicality by matching you with the pieces of music that will best transport you to your next level of ability and by building your musical vocabulary.

From day one, I strive to select repertoire that speaks to each student and motivates them to discover the secrets within the music. I believe that students can play beautiful and expressive music from the beginning of their studies, not only after years of tedious exercises. Even technically simple music can be moving.

In order to become a well-rounded, artistic player, a pianist needs a strong foundation in effective technique, theory, ear training, and reading. The techniques I teach come from classical training. My students learn to find a relaxed, grounded alignment that encourages tension-free playing and the widest range of tone quality. Through analyzing musical forms and theory, students develop their ears for musical ideas and learn the skills to create their own music.

Each lesson typically features warm-ups, technique practice, sight-reading, adjustments of progress, and introduction of new material. I also use a variety of teaching methods including story-telling and music games to suit individual learning styles. But I can only guide students in their path. The real magic happens outside of the studio.

The single most important factor to your success as a pianist is practice! Consistent practice is essential for masterful playing. Learning how to practice is a skill that paves the way for a lifetime of successful learning, and I provide many tools including very specific practice instructions and practice logs to help students and parents get into the habit of practicing consistently. 

Finally, I know we learn best when we’re having fun, and I want students to enjoy playing their pieces. Also, playing music with other students makes learning more exciting. At Tonewood studio, there are plenty of opportunities for pianists to play duets and accompany peers. Click on recitals for details.  

Biography
Amy Norman has been making music and creating for as long as she can remember. Throughout her early years, she received various awards for high musical performance in piano and Italian opera, and many awards for drawing, painting, and sculpture in the national Scholastic Art Award competitions. Her local Indiana newspaper called her a “Renaissance Woman” in an article about her achievements. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with highest distinction from Indiana University and studied with concert pianists Allison Lovejoy and Gregory Adams, and jazz pianist Chris Seibert. She is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California. 

Amy has performed as a soloist and an accompanist throughout the U.S. and has more than fifteen years of experience teaching private piano lessons to students of all ages. Her success in the visual arts lends her a unique teaching perspective and allows her a wider range of techniques for assessing each student’s potential and individual learning style. She often employs visual metaphors to help students connect with musical narratives and to relate the abstract musical language to tangible things in their daily lives. Her record of high academic achievement informs her methods for effectively designing curricula. Amy is passionate about sharing her love of music with others.

Instructor Amy Norman
Kawai grand piano at Tonewood Piano Studio
Tonewood Piano Studio