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Christina Puhacz

toronto ON | M1M1K1

About me

I am a Royal Consevatory of Music certified piano teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience, who returned to piano teaching in 2009. I left an engineering related career in the business world in late 2006 in order to explore other interests, including some that were entrepreneurial. Prior to acquiring my engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, I was a piano teacher with many students and, during the course of my engineering career, I continued to teach a handful of students, including my own children. By 2009 I had returned to what I loved most -- music, in particular, the piano.
In 2010, I successfully competed in RCM's own music festival winning a bronze. My musical journey has been a continuous one and from there I went on to study with Dr. Michael Esch , a former collaborator with the Canadian Sinfonietta Chamber Players. He is also one of the featured pianists for the 2015 RCM syllabus recordings. Occassionally, I write music and from time-to-time, some of my pieces have been played by my piano students and heard by the attendees at my piano recitals and salons.
My interest in music seems to have always been there. I can’t pinpoint one particular event that turned me on to music but I do know that I have always been surrounded by family members with a strong interest in music whether it be vocal singing or other instruments like the piano. Did I always want to practise when I was a child? I wouldn't be honest if I said yes. However, I never wanted to quit going to my piano lessons and I am very grateful for the opportunity that my parents provided to me to learn music. Music has brought nothing but positive things to my life. The most positive of these has been the wonderful students and families I have crossed paths with while teaching piano lessons.
I have the desire to make a difference in the lives of my piano students by encouraging a lifelong love of music of all kinds. Stimulating a mind to open themselves up to the world of music is something that I believe will serve any student well in their future life endeavours. Please enjoy listening to the piano recordings and videos on this website and I hope to see you in my studio soon!

Lesson details

I believe that a quality learning environment, that is inspirational and motivating, is a key factor in developing musical abilities. For this reason, my students will have the opportunity to learn and perform on a grand piano at most lessons. I do have a second upright piano in another room that I utilize in a variety of ways when teaching lessons. Students who come early, or are waiting to be picked up, will often warm-up or practise on this piano if it is available.

I offer two options for piano instruction. One is the private piano lesson and the other is a partner lesson.

Private, on-one-one instruction allows me to tailor my lessons to each student's unique gifts, challenges and needs and allows students to progress at their own pace. This is the traditional means by which piano teachers have delivered piano lessons for countless years.

Although private lessons are tried and true, they can often be lonely for the student since the student goes to lessons alone and practises in isolation. In contrast, the partner lesson offers a social learning environment. In a partner lesson, partners are matched based on level, aptitude, age, and other qualities such as personality and interest. Sometimes the partners already have an established friendship. In other cases, a new relationship is formed with music at its centre.
The camaraderie that is offered through a partner lesson, more often than not, positively influences the motivation to practise, learn, and perform. Peer recognition and praise from a partner can also assist in overcoming performance anxiety too. There are also more opportunities for duet playing. Duet playing helps students develop listening skills and rhythmic sense.

Partner lessons are not for everyone. Some individuals may perceive the partnership to be competitive rather than friendly in nature and find that this is stressful. Others may like to have the teacher's undivided attention. Others may feel that their development is impeded because they are waiting at times for their partner to catch up. Sometimes it becomes necessary to dissolve or change a partnership and this can be stressful too.

For some families, partner lessons are a more affordable alternative to private lessons.

Lessons are scheduled once per week. My preference is a 45 minute lesson for those studying Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum at the junior levels or below. I prefer this because there is more time to devote to things like theory, sight reading, ear training, music writing, and improvisation. I have also noticed that 9/10 students with longer lessons tend to progress at a faster rate too. Once a student reaches level 6 RCM a one hour lesson is necessary. For beginning students, or those who are studying casually, the 30 minute lesson works well. If taking an exam, some students may require a few extra lessons at that time. In other cases, I have recommended a student come twice per week for lessons. This works particularly well for students whose attention span is short.

Instruction is provided based on method books such as Piano Adventures for beginning students, and also Pattern Play, Chord Play, and the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) syllabus including the RCM popular selection list. Other methods and repertoire are used too when student needs indicate that this would be beneficial. Performance opportunities are made available to students via semi-annual recitals, piano salons, RCM examinations, and local competitions.

There are many components of a well-rounded musical education. Each student will receive training in the following areas tailored to their unique gifts, challenges, and needs:
• Repertoire
• Technique
• Sight reading
• Ear training
• Musicianship
• Improvisation
• Ensemble/piano duet
• Theory
• Music history

Education and Accreditation

B. A. Sc. Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, 1987
Grade 9 piano, 1st class honours

Testimonials

"Thanks for your commitment and passion, the kids have benefited so much from you." -- Tracy

"Thank you for all your help and kindness to Emily this past year at piano. She learned so many things from...

"Thanks for making me glissando to the top! You are a great teacher." -- Aidan, age 9, after placing...

Experience

more than 10 years

Rates

$50 - $59

Availability

Tuesday 4pm - 9pm
Wednesday 4pm - 9pm
Thursday 4pm - 9 pm
Friday 4pm - 9pm
Saturday 9am - 6pm

Teaching location

Teachers Studio

Genre

Childrens Music
Classical
Pop

Methods

Faber and Faber
Royal Conservatory of Music

Instruments and Subjects

piano
theory – rudiments

Levels taught

Beginner
Intermediate

Type of students

Children
Young Adults
Adults
Seniors

Languages

English

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