My own musical life began when I was 7 years old. My parents were not musicians and the idea to start taking piano lessons came to me at the age when I could make my own decisions. From the very beginning I got so lucky to study with Elena Litvinova, one of the greatest teachers of my native town Rostov-on-Don. Now at her 81 years old she is still a full time teacher at the central musical school, actively preparing her students for National and International competitions. I will remember her for my entire life for her dedication to the music, her students and teaching.

 

I was one of her favorite students and that required my full commitment to the lessons and practice. I was practicing for hours every day, traveling for competitions, participating at masterclasses and using all sorts of opportunities to perform. The diversity of venues was from libraries and museums to the major concert halls. She believed in me, encouraged me, fostered and helped in every way. This is the kind of teaching that I experienced, inherited and benefited from. With this attitude and dedication I teach now.

I strongly believe that the process of learning music is conceptually different from any other area of study.

It is based primarily on interpersonal communications between a teacher and a student. This is what makes it unique. I incorporate teaching and performing strategies acquired from the Russian school, but also European style of musicianship, knowledge gained from conferences in United States, Teachers Association meetings, observations of my colleagues’ work, and my own teaching experience. That helps me to find the shortest way to students’ learning mechanisms and activate them.

 

Along with that I always remember that music is personal and overall subjective art. Musical talent as a natural gift has many ways for realization. However, it’s not always easy to reveal and demonstrate the full potential. Each student has a natural way of expression. I see my teaching mission in helping students to understand and show their individuality. What I value the most is the great power of imagination. On our lessons we walk through historical background of the piece, composer’s personality and emotions behind the notes. There is always some magic to the process of cooking musical characters. Along with the original idea of the piece I encourage students to refer to their experiences, feelings and thoughts. This is what makes the music interpretation catching. What I tell my students is that we, as artists, need to own the performing piece and to communicate our personal truths through the music. Together we always look for ways to make performance meaningful and convincing.