“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” - Albert Einstein
The Hafez Piano Studio is a vibrant music education program that focuses on musical excellence, character development and continuous learning. I believe in piano lessons that are not only directed towards the development of musicianship, but also on fostering critical thinking skills and musical independence.
Availability and Openings
I am presently based in Lincoln, NE, and teach out of my studio in Southwest Lincoln in addition to online lessons. In-home lessons are offered on a case-by-case basis, and travel fees may be assessed. Lessons are available for students of all ages, including adults!
Teaching hours are from 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Teaching semesters are September-December and January-May. Summer lessons are also available from June-August. I am currently accepting new students, but have limited space. Please click the button below to inquire about rates and availability.
My teaching philosophy focuses on valuing the learning process, respecting the learning environment, developing critical thinking skills, and developing musicianship. First and foremost, I want my students to value all parts of the learning process, especially the struggles. Learning music is like learning a new language—it takes time to understand the language, and even longer to develop fluency with nuance and fluidity. Each part of learning music—aural, visual, cognitive, and motor—has its own challenges and demands. Developing the patience to work through these stages continuously is essential for any musician.
Respect for the learning process also requires respect for the learning environment, including the instructor. As a teacher I commit myself to fostering a safe and focused environment that is conducive to learning and creativity. Students are expected to have a commitment to learning, especially if they endeavor to succeed as a musician. This includes regular practice, but also attentiveness in lessons and purposeful questions. Honesty and integrity are also expected, especially in regard to practice. No one is perfect and off-weeks are normal—being open and honest about struggles with practice, time-management, or other areas is encouraged to help both student and teacher have realistic expectations for each individual. A professional teacher-student relationship opens the door for honest communication and a willingness to ask questions. My goal is to have my students consider my studio a safe environment where they are free to ask questions and express thoughts and opinions.
Though students will learn at different paces, the ability to think critically is incredibly important to music and learning in general. Critical thinking involves higher-order processes—questioning, reasoning, and synthesis of information gathered. Because music is not a “one-size-fits-all” subject with absolute rules, it is important for a student to dissect the scores presented to them with an attentive eye. For instance, looking beyond the print and knowing background information on the time period, composer, and notational style are all important for interpretation purposes. Essentially the student is gathering information beyond the direct scope of music, delving into history, sociology, and other subjects to become more informed about their own field. Asking why something is written a particular way, or for what reason was this composed can become the basis for critical thought. Young and advanced students can partake in various levels of critical thinking and ideally apply it to their everyday education.
Beyond general processes of learning is the specific goal of developing musicianship. We are first and foremost musicians who set out to create music, not just sound. Our goal as musicians should be to communicate a piece of us to someone else, expressing our emotions in a new way. For many students the selection of repertoire is key in fostering their passion in music from an early stage. Exposure to repertoire in general can also help develop musicianship, especially through live performances.
On the topic of performing, I intend to make particular effort to teach healthy playing habits. Because of the increased reports of playing related injuries I consider it my responsibility to focus on healthful playing starting from a young age. Your instrument should not be seen as your enemy or a source of pain. Adopting healthful playing techniques allows for the student to focus on other aspects of playing with ease.
Overall my goal as a teacher is to have my students develop an appreciation for music, for thinking, and for pedagogy. I intend to create a safe, open environment for my students to share their struggles and triumphs—a place where we can work together on developing instruction best suited to their needs both mentally and physically.