Gillespie Music Studio emphasizes traditional classical skills, but also provides even young & beginning students with tools for improvising and arranging in contemporary style.
Emphasis on comprehensive understanding of and proficiency in the most common scales and chords in every key. On piano, this includes chord inversions and arpeggios.
Hearing is a major part of musical proficiency. Our piano lessons use ear training games to develop recognition skills.
Proper finger technique (such as keeping fingers curved) is emphasized. Students are assigned drills to develop coordination and proper fingering (usually involving HANON or CZERNY method).
Rhythm is treated as an important part of music… sometimes it is even more important than the notes themselves. This is true for all genres, but especially for contemporary method.
If a student plans to enter the piano contest category of ISSMA, Gillespie Music Studio piano lessons will prepare him or her accordingly. Our students consistently win gold in ISSMA, even in the highest division (LEVEL I).
Preparation for college-level proficiency: Owner and instructor T. H. Gillespie successfully entered Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, as did his brother, Luke Gillespie, who presently is on the IUJSoM piano faculty. So we know what it takes to audition for such programs. We can prepare any student who wishes to audition at this level.
Students learn how to read and improvise on contemporary chord charts (blues, pop, rock, gospel and jazz standards). We also offer the option to study traditional hymn accompaniment for church applications (which involves improvisation). Students are encouraged to listen to and “lift off” tunes on their ipods.
GMS emphasizes the number system in theoretical understanding (i.e., do = 1, re = 2, etc.), as well as intervallic relationships (3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.). Even young and beginning students learn to recognize notes and chords for the roles they play in functional harmony.
Occasionally, we orchestrate and record tracks during piano lessons. Students are encouraged to come up with their own compositions and arrangements using various voices (bass, strings, percussion). Producing their own ensembles helps students develop an understanding of how music is created.