In today’s world, the expectation for pianists is higher than ever. We are called to be performers, scholars, teachers, writers, collaborators, and ambassadors of creativity and inspiration to the greater community. And although a career in music can be highly rewarding, it takes hard work, determination, thick skin, and passion to find success.
That’s why as a piano teacher and a teacher of teachers, I feel it is my job to not only expand what students know, but influence how they use and communicate this knowledge, and make it a part of who they are.
My primary goal is to ensure that my students receive a rounded education, which is not only important to building a “complete” musician, but vital in giving them a chance to succeed in our increasingly competitive profession. It is my duty to cultivate their love for music and motivate them to reach their full potential as musicians and future educators. I achieve this by challenging them in four areas: Intelligence, Creativity, Discipline, and Freedom.
Intelligence – fostering an environment for high capacity learning. I incorporate the knowledge of music fundamentals – such as musicianship, theory, and history – in lessons to receive an in-depth understanding of the music. Students are expected to do research about pieces and composers to discover the motives and significance of the composition, the current performance practice scholarship associated with the piece, and information regarding the composer. I often create exercises to engage a student in learning and internalizing rhythm, tones, and musical movement.
Discipline – modeling a healthy and productive work ethic. I aim to instill in every student effective and efficient practice habits. I guide critical and independent listening skills and ensure that demonstrated practice techniques are understood at every lesson. My objective is the development of a solid physical and musical technique, and the knowledge of a vast amount of repertoire of different styles through short-, medium-, and long-term repertoire learning goals. Equally important is the development of a sensitive ear to ensure a strong command of the instrument. I assess student development by requiring reflective journal entries to be made at the beginning and end of each practice session.
Creativity – stimulating the transcendence of traditional ideas. Knowing the parameters for interpretation and having the technique to accomplish them will bring forth exploration for new ideas. I encourage students to listen to recordings not to imitate, but to analyze the reasons for the interpretive decisions of artists and learn from the great masters of the past. Students are expected to attend live performances to appreciate and experience the spontaneity and aesthetic of the art. Because of my background in conducting, I encourage the use orchestral imagery – such as string bowings, wind breathing and orchestration – to cultivate a variety of sound.
Freedom – responsibility and preparing independence. As learning is a life-long process, I want to challenge and be challenged by my students. Allowing them the liberty to make their own informed choices builds character and shows growth. Encouraging them to ask questions and seek answers gives them the confidence to stand on their own and assures them that I am also excited to learn with them.
Although the demands of our profession are great, I am committed to preparing my students for a life and career in the performing arts. I have been a long-time believer that success is not built only in the practice room, but in the artistic, academic, and general communities. I hope that these core values will inspire them to be active contributors, promoters, and life-long lovers of music.
Jovanni gives a teaching demonstration at the
2017 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy,
then talks with Dr. Robert Duke
(author of "Intelligent Music Teaching").
Jovanni talks with TEDx UofM in early 2012 about his future in teaching, the piano's current role in society and how he'd like to shape it.
“Dr. de Pedro has raised the level of expectations in regards to the historical/contextual knowledge of pieces. [He] has pushed me from day one, but remained encouraging throughout, and has brought new, more effective methods to the table. [The piano course] has been challenging to my focus, forcing me to re-evaluate my approach to the physical technique of playing…[Dr. de Pedro] has given me the tools to be an independent artist.”
- Colin McDearman, Millsaps College
Dr. de Pedro is available for consultation lessons, coachings, and online video sessions via Skype, Hangouts, or Facebook.
To inquire about a lesson or coaching, please contact him!