About

Greetings!  Thank you for taking the time to visit my website to find out what Music Foundations Piano Studio and an audiation based approach are all about.

I am Robert Baldwin, principal and founder, and I have been teaching piano lessons in Cary since 2001. My piano studio is located at my residence near downtown Cary, at 602 Austin Ave. This is my primary profession, and I take my responsibilities as a musical educator very seriously.

I teach using ideas based on the best research available about how people (young and old) learn music. These ideas work in conjunction with small group lessons of 2-3 students. Through studying and implementing group teaching I have seen that students learn better and quicker by seeing other students in action and participating with them. There are opportunities for private instruction when the need arises.

My Philosophy

Music Foundations teaches an audiation based approach to learning music and piano. Audiation means thinking music. Students who learn to audiate play with understanding and are able to create, read, write, and improvise music. Please allow me to share with you two quotations which I feel are meaningful and reflective of my personal and professional philosophy:

“We listeners of music often look at the top of a tower and ignore there is a massive foundation underneath, without which the tower would collapse” – Andras Schiff, Duke University 10/21/10“A child that learns from early on to really make music learns about integration.  Learns about how all the different elements are connected. He learns about the fact that there is no independent element.  That tempo is not an independent element. That expression is not an independent element.  That everything is constantly and permanently connected.  I don’t know of a better lesson in life than that.” – Daniel Barenboim

An audiation based approach represents the culmination of my efforts to make piano lessons that work for every interested student. Not just the ones who feel they are talented or gifted.  Here are some ways Music Foundations piano lessons are different from standard lessons elsewhere:

  • Students learn an audiation based approach to music. Music Foundations has recently incorporated teaching breakthroughs by researcher Edwin E. Gordon. Dr. Gordon’s research led to his Music Learning Theory. MLT underscores the importance of learning to listen and move musically early in the learning process. We use a carefully sequenced curriculum to help children not just play music, but to understand it.
  • Students gain skills they can use to apply music in their own lives, in their own way. Traditional piano lessons focus too much on learning standard repertoire without teaching the basic skills that composers of that standard repertoire understood so well. Music Foundations Piano Studio teaches those skills. With these skills students can approach standard repertoire more intelligently. And if they choose to pursue other directions they can do that intelligently, too.  An audiation based approach unlocks unlimited creative musical opportunities.
  • Students learn to play with others. Far too often with traditional piano lessons the focus is on solo performance. Then when students get older and have opportunities to make music with others, they often don’t know where to start. Then they get confused and frustrated and often stop making music altogether, feeling that they’ve failed. An audiation based approach fixes this. Students make music with one another very early in lessons. And they do it with skill and understanding.
  • Students learn specific physical motions to overcome technical difficulties.  In traditional lessons, kids are often told that  “practice makes perfect.” But if kids don’t know how to practice, they’re out of luck!  I show my students how to play those difficult passages so there’s less struggling, and more music. I personally engage in regular lessons with nationally known pedagogue Sheila Paige, founder of Keyboard Wellness Seminar, to keep abreast of the most up to date scholarship on how to play the piano in a way that’s efficient and beautiful, minimizing risk of repetitive motion injuries.
  • Students engage in regular performance opportunities. Students at Music Foundations participate in frequent performance classes. These are informal gatherings where they play for each other and gain confidence in performing. That way, when it’s time for a formal recital, they feel good about it because they’ve already had experience performing their pieces.
  • Students’ intrinsic love for music is nurtured. Too often students are pushed to practice for their teacher or their parents or a judge at a competition. My aim is to help students do it for themselves.  My goal is to help students develop a lifelong appreciation for music and the arts.
  • Students have the opportunity to play on an excellent piano during their lessons.  It’s important for kids to get to play on a quality instrument.  That’s why I invested in a 6’2” May Berlin grand piano from Ruggero Piano.  So students get to hear and feel quality during every lesson.
  • Students at Music Foundations receive instruction in classical, jazz, pop, and rock concepts. Many piano teachers don’t have the breadth of experience to approach these genres knowledgeably. I have degrees in Classical piano performance, years of experience playing in pop, rock, and funk bands, and I’ve studied jazz with great local teachers. So I can help students approach any of these genres.

My Rates

  • $25 for initial consult; credited toward first month’s enrollment
  • Children & Young Adults: $200 per month for weekly small group lessons. Price includes multiple performance opportunities and automatic subscription to premium features in the Piano Maestro iPad app.
  • Adults: $70 per hour-long lesson, scheduled at your convenience

Interested?

If you would like to discuss further, or if you’ve been thinking about nurturing the musicianship of someone in your household, please feel free to call me at (919) 810-1680, or Contact Me via eMail to schedule an interview.