Vancouver BC | V6K 1E9
From a young age, my driving passion has been teaching music. I began my musical studies in Winnipeg in the 1970s with some truly inspiring teachers. Under the tutelage of the late Jean Broadfoot, I won numerous awards and scholarships in performance, and did collaborative work with singers at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music. At the university level, I focused on the application of music theory and performance on piano teaching. My instructors and mentors were Alice Enns and Winifred Scott Wood (pedagogy), Terence Dawson and Corey Hamm (piano), and Doreen Oke (harpsichord).
Complementary to my love of teaching is my knowledge and deep appreciation for history and the arts. I hold degrees in music, history, and archival studies. When I’m not teaching music, I manage and operate an archives (http://www.bc.united-church.ca/content/bob-stewart-archives-bc-conference). I am frequently asked to give lectures and workshops throughout BC and am known as an engaging and inspiring speaker.
I am currently accepting students at my studio in Kitsilano. Adults and children of all levels are welcome.
I work with students primarily in the classical music stream, but I love all genres and do include popular, jazz, and blues in the curriculum, if desired.
An area of special interest and study is early music (17th and early 18th century). My background in harpsichord allows me to offer students added insight into the interpretation and performance of music of the period.
In this work, my chief joy is in deepening students’ understanding and love for the repertoire. Lessons cover three main areas:
1. Musicianship, including analysis and interpretation of repertoire, critical listening to performances, ear training, rhythm games, reading, and general music appreciation activities
2. Technique, including how to use the body efficiently, memorization, performance preparation and choreography, etc. – so much more than simply acquiring speed
3. Practice habits, with an emphasis on effective methods to learning music quickly, and creative approaches that bring music to life
I am fairly flexible in working with the interests and age level of the student. I firmly believe in giving my students the best chance at developing an educated taste through exposure to a wide variety of styles. Because of my broad background, I have an interdisciplinary bent and frequently use art, architecture, literature, and world history to enrich a student’s understanding of musical ideas and styles.
I stress creativity and encourage exploration and experimentation with sound. Students learn how to listen to themselves. For me, technique is an important part of the musical palette – a means of creating art – not an end in itself. I also consciously work on instilling self-confidence in my students, so they learn to take ownership and play with conviction and authority. I work closely with each student in setting and monitoring learning goals and objectives.
Students will find that I am patient and good-humoured; laughter is an important part of every lesson. I balance this with high standards and persistently push for improvement. For those students pursuing RCM exams or other academic streams, my expectation is that they work diligently and strive for excellence.
Additional benefits of my studio include joint master classes and recitals with other studios, numerous opportunities to perform, use of rhythm games to develop an internal sense of rhythm, access to a substantive lending library of music, and regular notices of relevant extra-curricular concerts and arts-related events.
Education and Accreditation
A.Mus. (Western Board)
B.A. (University of Winnipeg)
Member, BC Registered Music Teachers Association, currently serving on the Executive of the Vancouver Branch
"Mr. Galston's gentle approach coupled with a strong underpinning of knowledge made for enjoyable, relaxed...
"Blair is a very patient and enthusiastic piano teacher. My son is 9 years old and he started his first piano...
Taking piano lessons was a retirement goal of mine. I highly recommend Blair as a teacher to any other seniors...