I have been studying classical piano with Jan Gwatkin since early 2007.
I am nearly 50 years old, and after a 30 year break from any piano playing, I resumed piano studies at the conservatory of music, at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Canada, where my husband was based. I was fortunate to study with an extremely kind, patient, Russian-trained teacher of piano performance. Even though I lack any natural talent at all, he told me I was his hardest working student and he loved teaching me.
I studied with him for 18 challenging months, struggling to remember all the basics of piano playing, and making painfully slow but steady progress. When I realised we would be transferred to Perth, my teacher helped me to identify suitable teachers in Perth. He felt there was a distinct lack of what he termed truly professionally qualified and experienced teachers here – and he only found a handful he thought were suitable.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have found Jan. It is a privilege to study with her. Every lesson is extremely well structured, challenging and stimulating. She seems to bring a tremendous sense of joy to her teaching. Each lesson is varied, humorous, highly professional, and more than anything, enjoyable and satisfying – even when I play terribly! I see my lessons with Jan as an on-going learning journey and a gift to myself.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have found Jan. It is a privilege to study with her. Every lesson is extremely well structured, challenging and stimulating.
She has extremely high standards and I respect that enormously. I can see and hear the progress I have made and it is due to her persistence, encouragement and gift for teaching music. I find she has a wonderful and unusual combination of intellectual depth, outstanding piano performance skills , and most importantly, a passion for teaching music. Her heart shines through in all her lessons. Teaching is her love, not her job, and all her students benefit from her passion.
Teaching is her love, not her job, and all her students benefit from her passion.
I believe that Jan will one day receive the recognition she deserves as an exceptional teacher and will probably lecture at a college overseas – but until that time, it is a privilege to study with her.
She has helped me to re-discover my very rusty piano playing skills in an environment which is never embarrassing or awkward. I enjoy my lessons so much I have signed on for 2 lessons a week from next term . Jan is prepared to teach me jazz, in addition to my classical studies. That in itself is a testimonial to her enormous belief in her students. I see it as a tremendous leap of faith on her part – but I know I will not fail… Jan will keep pushing me along firmly, and we will laugh, play beautiful music, work very hard, and continue to study together.
I love my lessons – and I like and respect my teacher very much. I wish her great success and happiness. She is an exceptional teacher. I highly recommend her.
Wendy-Anne Counsel June 2007