“Music, as a language, an expression of our emotions, and an extension of oneself can be captured and conveyed in a plethora of media and artistic forms. When done with flair, passion, and an unadulterated love for its art form, it produces a texture and color of life that other disciplines can only envision but few partake in.” Steven H.
The timelessness and purity of music as both a language and creative discipline have always been a tenor and hallmark of Steven’s philosophy of music as a performer and teacher. As a teacher, a few of his well-used, memorable axioms that are truly part of his DNA include, “Repetition is your friend,” or perhaps, “The architecture of chords in both their simplicity and diffused complexity as they relate one to another is akin to the mesmerizing relationship that coffee has to its accompanying creamer as they dance and fuse into heaven’s drink.” If that’s too elaborate then perhaps his opening statement to his students would be more palatable which usually goes something like, “When I look at the piano, I don’t see only black notes and white notes, but rather hundreds and hundreds of beautifully sounding chords that flirt and co-exist in wonderful musical tension with each other creating conversations, stories, and journeys.” Finally it would be lacking to not include one of his favorites which he loves to use, “Music is simple to learn! In our Western culture it embodies 7 musical notes ABCDEFG, GFEDCBA which translate into infinite recipes of melody where there is no right or wrong.” It doesn't take a whole lot time spent with Steven to realize that he believes what he says to his students because he believes in the creative willingness and treasured ability within every single one of them and seeks, with a flint focus, to unlock that ability within them.
Born in South Africa, Steven’s humble beginnings were richly adorned with a heritage of music. In particular, his grandfather, who lived down the street and owned a Glossy Black Concert Grand Blüthner Piano, would play with professional ease. Lasting memories of continual encouragement from grandparents and parents and the richness of the acoustic timbre of the beautiful grand piano created a fertile environment for him to pursue music with zeal and a “take no prisoners” attitude.
Much of the success that Steven has enjoyed over the years as a performer and teacher he attributes to two defining experiences in his life. The first had to do with the music instruction that he received in South Africa from a teacher who in Steven’s words was, "an exceptional musician, communicator, teacher, and friend.” With deep classically trained roots and his teacher's uncompromising love for the jazz / blues genre, a journey of performing and teaching began. The second experience was his initial opportunity of performing live in a restaurant /hospitality / event setting and the rich impact that live music had on audiences as opposed to a simple CD track playing. In his words, "It is humbling to see how - with a deep musical repertoire and an appreciation of tempo, style, and genre mixed with a sensitivity to the size and mood of the audience - one is able to create, through the beauty of music, moments of memories lived."
Through the Royal Schools of Music in London, Steven acquired his Grade 7 (ALCM) in Musical Theory, Popular Music Theory and Performance Competency. He also graduated from the Psalmody Academy of Performing Arts in South Africa." Whether performing for an Arts Exhibition or teaching young and old the timeless language of music on various instruments, there is a resounding consistency of truth that the real treasure of music is revealed when you learn the art of giving what you know about music to others freely and without reservation." Steven H.
Piano Instructor / Coach
PRIVATE ELECTRIC / ACOUSTIC
With huge technological advances in the music sector, guitar instruction requires not only that the teacher be a good communicator, but that they stay abreast with music technology thus utilizing many diverse tools available to them to more effectively instruct. The days of simply relying on an instructional book without embracing the audio interface technologies of today (that are not only much more affordable and therefore accessible), are long over. With YouTube and the profusion of guitar tablature available, the role of the guitar instructor has evolved somewhat into more of a coaching framework where the ability to discern and isolate the good from the not so good in terms of chordal and melodic interpretation has become more important than in years gone by. A lot of playing well on the guitar has to do with the ability to hear well. In summary, the guitar lessons will not only be about learning the language of music from a theoretical standpoint. In application it will embrace a breadth of aural training, chord analysis and development, improvisation by ear, vocal training and development (if you are desirous to incorporate vocals into your guitar playing) and modulation and effects theory and application as they relate to guitar pedals of various form factors.
Band Boot Camps
The concept of Band Boot Camps originated out of our recitals where the bass guitarists, electric guitarists and drummers found greater expression playing in a band context than soloing. I would always encourage my guitarists and drummers to get into a / be a part of a / form their own band within 6 months because of the value and expression of playing their instruments with others. Some got it right; some didn't. So our recitals evolved into a band / concert type feel with certain instruments. The accountability and precision required to perform with other musicians demands individual musicians to step up their game both in personal discipline, practicing and deferring one to another in a group context. Within the last several years we have been invited into churches of various sizes to help with the overall musicianship of the worship teams and create a fast track learning environment where excellence is one of our objectives. Please note I didn't say perfection. I believe perfection is a terrible task master which doesn't play nicely in team and breeds a bad type of criticism where failure is heralded more than success. Excellence on the other hand provides fertile soil for a team of musicians to grow together in skill, preferring one another, where a higher standard of mutual growth and expression is obtained which will never be the case with perfection.
Our Boot Camps that we facilitate usually run from a Friday evening through to Sunday morning experience where music dynamics, both harmonic and melodic aspects of group play are addressed, refined, analyzed and reworked to create better music / worship flow, greater cohesiveness and fluidity between harmony and melody, rhythm and tempo. The Boot Camps take the form of workshops with breakout sessions specific to instrument type, core band fundamentals, etc.
Truly these weekends are a blast! Everyone learns. Everyone benefits. Music is heralded. Musicians learn and grow. The sessions are practical. Let me say that again. The sessions are practical! If you would like more information about Band Boot Camps please don't hesitate to contact us.