Philosophy

It is so fulfilling to share my experience with students and to help them realize their full musical potential. I have a desire to teach all I know even though for me, the learning process continues with every lesson and every student. One of the most important conditions for fruitful teaching is to have the fullest possible understanding between the teacher, student and parent.

 

Every student receives a “customized” plan, based on individual goals and potentials. Each lesson is an event and has to be taken in a positive, enthusiastic frame of mind, with vigor and spontaneity. Sometimes the slightest feedback, even a small remark, can produce rich results when applied to a student’s work. When a student says “I can’t,” I help him to find a way that he indeed “can.”

 
Teachers cannot create talent, but they can create and cultivate culture, which is grounds from where the talent flourishes. I try to teach my students to make their own musical decisions. 

A Piano teacher must be a teacher of music at first. This is particularly necessary with pupils at the lowest level of musicianship. It is so essential for students to grasp the poetic image of a piece. Student needs to listen and think as a musician and a performer. I teach the technical skills to help make music expressive; it is easy to sit down and play mechanically, flawlessly, but not necessarily meaningfully and beautifully.


A Piano teacher has to be a Pianist. Personally, I play any and all repertoire that I teach with my own hands before I can offer it to students. 
 

 

One of the main tasks for a teacher is to develop independent musical thinking

Although many students have told me that I am “original” in certain ways, I can trace my teaching style to my own teachers: from my mother comes my demand for precise fingering; from my teacher Evgeny Lieberman - my desire to demonstrate to the student what needs to be accomplished. I can still feel his unforgettably beautiful tone on a piano.

I believe in the power of visual arts, and make a frequent comparison between music and painting from the same historical period. 

 

One of the main tasks for a teacher is to develop independent musical thinking. I aspire to be one of the vital forces, an impression upon my students rather then a trainer. Giving praise is so important! It makes young people feel intelligent, creative and builds the foundations of becoming an individual. 

Dr. Birman in her home studio

With students at the Merit School of Music in Chicago