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Richard Devens

Fishkill, NY 12524 (map)

Lessons Offered

Piano, Music

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home

About Me

I have been teaching for over 32 years. I'm a former faculty member of Marymount College, and I'm currently on the faculty of The Community Music School of Dutchess Community College and The Music Conservatory of Westchester. In addition, I have a private studio in Fishkill, and travel to students' homes.
I concertize, accompany singers, instrumentalists, and dancers, and also play at country clubs, for weddings, parties, corporate events, and for black-tie affairs.
I believe in establishing a solid foundation. This includes: proper seating, posture, hand position, fingering, rhythm, reading, technique, theory, and ear training. The goal is to eventually make the student musically self-sufficient.
I always stress that one is never in competition with anyone but ourselves. No two people learn at an identical rate, or in the same way. The final result is more important than how long it takes to get there.
I think it is important for a teacher to never raise his or her voice or resort to sarcasm. Everyone deserves respect and encouragement. Having trouble with a particular piece does not mean a student has a lack of "talent." Often, a different fingering or approach will solve the problem.
Regular recitals are something that is always available to all my students. By having a "deadline," this forces the students to prepare as thoroughly as possible. It also teaches them how to deal with nervousness and jitters. If a student does not perform as well as he or she would have liked, this is never viewed as a "failure," but only as a learning experience.
I feel that I bring to my teaching the practical experience of being a performer as well as an instructor. Some of the places I have performed include Bargemusic and Alice Tully Hall. I have also performed in Russia.

My Musical Education Background

I hold a BS degree in Music Performance from Brooklyn College, where I studied with Augustin Anievas and Michael Rogers. I hold an MM degree in Music Performance from The University of Arizona, where I studied with Nicholas Zumbro. I also studied with Richard Fabre of the Julliard School.

Genres and Subjects Taught

Although I am primarily a piano instructor, I have also taught theory. I was classically trained, and teaching classical music is my specialty. I have, however, taught pop music. In addition, I have used method books which focused on music written in a jazz, rock, or ragtime style. It is important to always incorporate music that a student will like, and that will hold their interest. Anything that one learns can always be applied to other material.

Lesson Rates

Rates are $40 for a 30 minute lesson and $70 for an hour lesson in my studio. There is an additional charge if I travel to your home, depending on the distance.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

I accept students of all ages and levels. I always stress to adults, that it is never too late to learn how to play an instrument.

My Certifications and Awards

Although I believe in teaching reading and playing simultaneously, I have been trained in the Suzuki method.

My Musical Influences

I have a deep love of music from all periods and styles, and not only classical music. Although the piano is my specialty, I love the vocal repertoire: opera, lieder, and jazz. I feel it is important for pianists to listen to great singers, as "singing" was the first instrument. We can learn a lot from singers as to how to phrase and how to breathe between phrases. Pianists are always striving to "sing" the melodies, and to balance the melodic lines properly with the accompaniment.
The list of composers and performers I have been influenced and inspired by would be exhaustive. But a particular influence of mine has been the late great Romantic virtuoso Earl Wild, who I had the opportunity to interview. The interview became the cover feature of the Novemeber/December, 1996 issue of PIANO GUILD NOTES magazine.

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