Piano Teachers who teach Individual Piano Lessons in English
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As somebody who always wanted to run an actual music school instead of being stuck in basement purgatory, I am proud to say I have reached that dream – Flamingo Music was officially incorporated in April 2015, and September 8 we opened our doors. It was a long a very stressful few months to get us here, not too mention expensive and a steep learning curve. While there is still much to learn and everyday brings its own new challenges, there is still intense satisfaction in having come this far.
Our new location, at 811 Manning Rd NE, Calgary, AB, Canada is bright, clean, and still smells a bit of new paint. We share a commercial office building with Engineering, Construction, Outreach, & Consulting companies. Our building is in the middle of a diverse office park – a far cry from the commercial district of 17th Ave SE that Martin (the manager) and I had envisioned. We trade higher visibility and some freedom for 24 hour security and businesses with a professional image – the commercial district also unfortunately might just as well be the red light district. They tell me if you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people – both as staff and as neighbours.
Going into this new venture there are many things I am grateful for, and many things I am glad were in place before I started. First, I am glad I spent 9 years doing the job before making a large leap. Why? Because it allowed me to be able to learn the job, learn strategies, build connections and a reputation with which to build upon. It let me learn some of the many lessons – some painful, some difficult, some entertaining, but all important, that I needed to learn, and still am. It also meant that I was able to put together a strong team that had a previous track record of working and performing together – I was able to elevate my senior students to instructors so they would have a work environment that would be challenging, supportive, fun, and teach more life skills than the typical after school job. I am grateful for the people who contributed to the school as an entity – donating old furniture and items, volunteering time and assistance to setup and unpack, those who have spread the word and referred new students, and the many parents who offer an encouraging word on the days when the school seems overwhelming.
On the flipside, there are many things that terrify me. The amount of money and finances my husband and I dumped into making the school a reality, the amount of time I put in without a paycheck (3 months so far), the uncertainty of sharing a building with others who may object to the kids or the sound levels, and most of all the fear that I may fail my own staff. Having watched Team Flamingo become a solid team of responsible teachers, it is hard not wonder if I push them too hard, if I don’t support them enough, or if I don’t do a good job “being the boss”. As well, I do not want the education and achievements of students to be diminished because I didn’t give adequate time or preparation due to the daily demands of running the show.
Many changes have happened too – bad economy, loss of some of our major supporters, some clients that did not want to migrate to a new place. None of these are factors within control, and the difficulty in remaining positive can be draining. Is it worth it?
Seeing the smiles of kids running through our door, seeing the spring in the steps of the team as they come and go, watching new friendships, partnerships, and collaborations come forth from the creative personalities. Seeing the parents all enjoying the waiting area where the topics range from classes they take, to jobs, to news in Canada or back in the home countries, to politics and world events, drives home a simple fact – Flamingo Music is not simply a school, not just a team of musicians, and not just a means to an end. Flamingo Music is a community, it is place, and it is our community and our place. People are welcomed from all walks of life, all ability levels, and together the community grows stronger. As such, Team Flamingo will be continue to be dedicated to creating a bigger community that always remains ready to accept another into the flock.
Looking back, when I started this post I was planning just a brief intro the fact that the studio had hatched a school and the change in location and operation. This post was not intended to be an unedited rambling, but quite possibly it needed to be. If you have read this far, thank you for taking time to stop by.
An active member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ORMTA) Kingston Branch and National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Michael Faulkner holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Queen’s University, Kingston and is also a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music A.R.C.T. (Piano Performer and Teacher, Vocal Performer and Teacher). Michael is also a member of the Canadian Music Festivals Adjudicators Association (CMFAA) and has adjudicated numerous music festivals, competitions as well as giving Masterclasses and performances within these communities across Canada.
Known for his musical insight, beautiful tone and technical command, Michael began his music studies at age four, participating in numerous music festivals and competitions receiving many top awards and distinctions.
Michael enjoys a rewarding career as teacher of more than 60 weekly students of all ages and levels in piano, voice, pedagogy and theory. He teaches in person and online to students from across the country. His YouTube educational music channel is used by music students worldwide. Many of his students have received top honours, distinctions and awards throughout Canada and a large number have pursued careers in music as well. He also actively performs in his own community and across Canada and is well versed in Opera, Oratorio and Music Theatre repertoire.
As an accompanist Michael is in high demand working with singers and instrumentalists of all ages and abilities from beginner to professional level. Michael has also enjoyed working for a number of years with Conservatory Canada as an examiner in piano and voice. He is a member teacher with Music for Young Children (MYC) and believes the start of music education at an early age is very important. For more than 35 years Michael has worked as a Church musician and frequently is asked to provide musical service and guidance to many Worship denominations. Michael’s community choir in the Quinte region “Let’s Make a Choir” and already has more than 50 voices singing for various charities and he has now started the “Let’s Make a Choir Childrens’ Choir” which is a joy to hear the young voices in song together. Michael believes that music is a lifelong passion and is always looking for new musical challenges and enrichment. Michael is an avid animal lover and enjoys skiing, hiking, attending music concerts and theatre.
I began my musical path at the age of 7 taking private lessons with the neighborhood teacher. I later discovered that my passion for the piano wasn’t only playing it but teaching it. Sharing my knowledge and love for the instrument with others, especially children. I enjoy being surrounded by little ones and having them share their creative ways of learning. My musical training was through the Royal Conservatory of Canada and I later enhanced my education by becoming a certified Music for Young Children teacher. I truly believe that all children should be given a chance to embark on the path of learning an instrument. Music is a healthy means of expressing oneself and will serve them a lifetime of enjoyment I look forward to being a part of your child's and your musical journey. I have been teaching piano over 16 years, and MYC since 2006 and have enjoyed every moment! This is a unique program which allows children to use all of their senses and learn every aspect of the musical path. I am very excited that I am now the MYC Quebec Coordinator and will be developing relations with teachers who share my passion.