The Belmont Piano Teachers
The Belmont Piano Teachers
Michal Grace Harris is the owner of and piano instructor at the Belmont Piano Academy located near Boston, MA. She received her masters degree in piano performance from the University of Michigan and currently resides with her husband in Boston.
As a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and NEPTA (New England Piano Teachers' Association), Michal has been teaching private piano lessons for over fifteen years and is thrilled to be able to pass along her love of music to her piano students. She is particularly passionate about helping all her students learn to develop healthy technical habits at the piano. She has several students who have competed and won first place prizes in the American Guild of Music. From beginner to advanced level young pianists, Michal believes that there is always a solution for every technical and musical problem, and thrives on helping students find those creative solutions.
My goal as a classical piano teacher is to equip my students with all of the tools they need to be independent learners, as well as technically accurate and creative musicians.
I believe my role as a teacher is to aid each student in getting to this place of independence, and then stand to the side, offering professional input to help guide them further. Every student should be able to read, understand, and eventually musically interpret for themselves the piano score in front of them. Though I do believe there is some place for rote learning in music education, it should never be the primary means of learning.
Technical accuracy is not only aesthetically necessary in classical music, it is also bi-product of healthy body movement. I spent several years in my late teens and early twenties debilitated by crippling tendinitis in both of my arms as a result of unhealthy piano playing. For years afterwards, I studied how my body moved naturally at the piano, experimenting with arm weight and proper alignment and posture at the keyboard. I worked extensively on muscular retraining with my private piano teacher at the University of Southern Maine, Laura Kargul, and somatic integration therapy with Craig Williamson (MSOT). I have also studied Alexander technique and therapeutic belly dance. All of these techniques opened the door to healthy, more accurate and beautiful playing, and I am still making more discoveries - our bodies are so wonderfully designed!
Every one of us is creative by nature. We will never play the same way, or sound the same way. As a classical musician, I am trained to follow the composer's creative direction in the piece in front of me - but within those boundaries I find the freedom to have a distinct sound. By providing the learning tools they need and helping each student discover technical freedom, I believe it is possible for each musician to unleash their own unique musical voice.