Age range: pre-teen to octogenarian.
Skill range: beginner to professional.
For beginner-to-intermediate students, Tom generally uses the traditional approach, with age-appropriate method books as well as supplemental materials he has prepared in advance or writes out during the lesson.
Tom specializes in an improvisational approach adapted to jazz, pop, boogie/blues, “American Songbook” standards, and Broadway show tunes. Students learn how to improvise, and to play from lead sheets and fake books.
For his professional performance profile and history, and to hear original music composed while serving as church music director at Unity Church of Today (Monroe, Ohio), please visit http://www.ReverbNation.com/thomasschneider.
Since a deep understanding of harmony is essential to this instant creativity, music theory is an important component of each lesson. The emphasis for ALL students is on understanding how music WORKS – the “anatomy and physiology” of songs and piano pieces, from the harmonic structural elements (the ‘bones’) to the rhythmic ‘pulse’ that keeps the music alive and flowing.
He especially enjoys helping adult “re-starters” – those who may have had years of lessons when young and now have the appreciation, time, and discipline to (re-)discover the delight of musical discovery.
Tom has had success with young students as well. The mother of one pre-teen boy, brought to me after negative experiences with a previous teacher, told me he exclaimed after our first session: “I wish I could have a piano lesson EVERY day!” And more than one parent has said that even though their child had stayed home sick from school, he didn’t want to miss his piano lesson!
Even non-pianists can benefit from keyboard studies. Tom will help prepare young pianists and other instrumentalists for high-school and junior-high jazz band auditions.
He makes generous use of contemporary technology – showing how to make creative use of digital keyboards and analog synthesizers, as well as iPad and Android apps and the Internet – to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of music learning. For example, audio accompaniments can be created quickly in the iReal Pro app for most simple piano pieces found in beginner-to-intermediate method books, and such video-game-like apps as “Inversion Invasion” can help young players learn the rudiments of music while playing a game.