Teaching Philosophy

"Students are taught never to 'play in general', it is not a sincere way to play music" (Lisa Childs)
           Izzy, Anamika & Milly -  ABRSM Scales workshop    Duets & trios are encouraged    BenjaminAge4

My main training as a piano teacher came from the Childs Pianoforte School which I attended from the age of 5 years old. My teacher, Lisa Childs was an extraordinary lady, a unique musician and my inspiration for many years.

This distinctive learning method was devised by Lisa to teach her daughter, Valerie, when she was 3 years of age. As a young student, I was encouraged at 6 years old, to teach the 5 year olds; at 7 years old, to teach the 6 year olds and so on and so forth. Lisa's way, of 'teaching me how to teach' started very young and was so quickly and deeply absorbed, it is as learning to walk, I will never forget!

I started teaching professionally at the age of 14, officially joining the Childs Pianoforte School as a teacher soon after and starting my own successful school in Buckinghamshire. After a period of professional performances and tours in Europe and the United States I returned to teaching and the past ten years or so have seen me running my Brighton school and also a summer school in Marbella, Spain. Further musical studies came from attending the Purcell School, the world-wide acclaimed specialist music school and exams taken at the London Royal Academy of Music. My teaching method is that of my own teacher, mixed with a pinch of my own personal style.

I like to make lessons fun, but also encourage regular practise and a professional approach. Emphasis is on phrasing and 'getting a feel for the piece'. More than just learning to read the notes, I endeavour to teach my students how to listen to and enjoy the music and to play with style. As I was taught, they need to find something personal in the sound of the music so as to give it meaning. Students are taught never to 'play in general', it is not a sincere way to play music. The music should be their own interpretation, so as to allow them to really enjoy the piece from the heart.

Students start off with the Lisa Childs Piano books 1-4. With these books you can learn just for fun or make progress to The ABRSM examinations, scholarships or diplomas. Book 1 uses colour stickers and shapes along with Intervals (distance between notes), to introduce keyboard knowledge. It is the natural way to learn and makes it a painless process for children as young as 3 years old. The French 'Ta' system is used to explain rhythm and timing, so that young students don't have to recollect the days maths class when playing! ABCDEFG follows effortlessly and easily when students are discussing music and for naming scales and keys and when theory is studied. Small percussion is used in a fun way to encourage understanding of rhythm and we have an assortment of other instruments here.

Students perform at recitals and music festivals, giving them a sense of achievement from the performance (and always receiving high marks & prizes in competitions). They are also encouraged to take the ABRSM graded examinations in practical and theory. I always ensure they are well prepared and have never in my entire teaching life had a failure, my students always receiving good results, thus their hard work is rewarded, gaining confidence in themselves as individuals and inspiring them to go further. Wherever possible duet playing is introduced, which is great fun, creates friendships and gives the experience of playing with others.

The message in this method of teaching, is to present a well and truly tried system, based on a life time's dedication of my teacher Lisa, her daughter Valerie and those who have been trained by their school and which has brought the joy of music to hundreds of people; professional performers, teachers and those who wish to play the piano for their own pleasure.

If you would like to have a chat about lessons for your children or yourself, please do not hesitate to telephone or email me to discuss any questions you may have. I intend to continue to bring the joy of music into the lives of children of East Sussex region for many years to come.

Poppy Gonzalez.

"Poppy Gonzalez is an exceptional and talented piano teacher, with a dynamic character and a warm personality. She encourages her students to have fun and stimulates excellence in their piano playing."
Valerie Childs - Childs Pianoforte School