“It's a matter of personal commitment, proper direction, practice practice, some more practice and often overlooked, a love of playing.”
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My philosophy of teaching is to make a positive, relaxed but involved experience. Progression at a pace that won’t overwhelm a student while simultaneously providing the guidance needed for each step through this progression. I believe no one is incapable of acquiring the ability to play any instrument at any level. It's a matter of personal commitment, proper direction, practice practice, some more practice and often overlooked, a love of playing. I believe passionately that success in one's musical journey can be assured by that love's presence or doomed from its absence. Therefore, I want any experience with me and their instrument to be as enjoyable as possible to keep them coming back! I'm sure there's a next to an incalculable number of potential brilliant young musicians that had their musical dream cut short due to a single, negative experience. As a musician, I find that to be tragic. I wasn't exempt from these, less-than-desirable moments during my musical education by any means. The belief I have in the power of music, and its importance in my life in all facets, my foremost intention is to not be one of those bad experiences.
Name: Ruben (Full name will be provided upon registration)
My musical education began formally in 7th grade at Middleton Regional High School in Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia. However, I couldn’t remember a point in my early years, I wasn't around an instrument, in some capacity. I'm a lifelong Mississippi delta blues aficionado, once I joined my school's jazz band, my path for the foreseeable future became all too clear.. and loud. My musical influences are so widely varied it’d be difficult to put in a concise way. Whether creative inspiration from outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston, or rocking out to the criminally underrated god-fathers of punk, The Velvet Underground or listening in total disbelief, to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker performing Be Bop. The most challenging subgenre of jazz ever conceived... If it's sound, utilizing (but not limited to or even required to have) rhythm, harmony or melody, I’m instinctually drawn toward its call. I started teaching piano at 16 and joined my first couple of bands around this time. These bands were of widely contrasting styles, which would become a consistent theme throughout my professional years. I was a member of the jazz combo, 'Easily Distracted' a grouping of high-school kids from all over Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia led by Acadia Universities' big and jazz band profs. Almost all band members would go on to have considerable success working in music for the years to come. I attended both jazz and concert band camp every summer, during high school, hosted at Acadia University. I was able to take part in trumpet clinics from a former member of Tower of Power’s trumpet section as well as a 3-week workshop with composer, and Pulitzer winner; Micheal Colgrass. I wrapped up high school with honours and a 99% average in music for my senior year. Receiving the, 'most promising young musician award’ by my school. Up until graduation, I would be hired to perform annually for The Annapolis Valley Legion, playing trumpet at their Remembrance Day ceremonies. In 2010, I attended Acadia University auditioning successfully with trumpet as my primary instrument and piano as a secondary, studying music therapy. I auditioned and joined Acadia University's 'Big Band’ soon after. I continued studying for three years, taking part in various local and private bands with styles including; jazz, blues, rock, alternative, heavy metal, gypsy polka and folk punk. I began studying advanced theory, and composition seriously by this point, developing a propensity for the prolific song. Combining that aforementioned blossoming specialization in improvisation that I’d been cultivating, to date I’ve written/composed or contributed to hundreds, if not thousands of original works of music. Including several film credits for film scoring projects I took part in some independent documentaries during a short stay in Ottawa in 2017. My musical attributions can be found on many albums, released under just as many genres, and band names all over the country. After 3 years I moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta and began teaching piano and trumpet privately. Within a few years, I was able to land a position as the full-time house pianist for a fine dining Italian restaurant, 'La Cosa Nostra’ later known as, ‘Asti’. Around this time, I also became the Organist for the Oil Barons hockey team and joined an up-and-coming, alternative metal band, ‘Olorin'. Within weeks of Olorin's formation, we opened a show for one of my own, long-time favourite bands, Protest The Hero. Immediately followed by the start of about a year’s work for our debut album, ‘Fringe’, while performing shows in Fort McMurray, Edmonton and Calgary as often as possible. My creative itch never entirely being scratched, I founded an experimental, spoken word group, 'All Imaginary'. We would later be awarded, 'Best In New Media' for the YMM Buffies Arts Awards in 2019. In 2018, I started teaching piano at Holy Trinity High School through their after-school program; Uptown Music & Dance. In 2019 I had an amazing opportunity to run my own music therapy-styled class with 30 non-verbal autistic students at Dr. Karl A. Clarks Elementary School, bringing my total of students at one point to around 60-70. During this period I became a full-time performing musician with a number of bands but mainly the Fort McMurray local group, 'Surface Below’. I still perform with Surface Below regularly, to this day. Unfortunately in 2020, the COVID outbreak led to all lessons being suspended. I took a year of all the unanticipated free time to create a concept album, consisting of 5 e.p's, totalling 25 tracks altogether entitled, 'The Canonical 5'. At the end of 2020 into 2021, I started preparation for and eventually auditioned, on piano this time, for Berklee College Of Music in Boston. I was planning on enrolling in their film scoring program. The Berklee audition was successful, unfortunately, with the financial hits that accompanied the pandemic, my attendance had to be put on hold for the time being. This year I completed my 7th solo album with the near completion of my 8th, while working on the completion of another debut album with yet another band I recently joined in 2021.
Most Promising Young Musician, Middleton Regional High School Best in New Media, YMM Buffys Arts Awards , 2019
As a songwriter and practitioner of musical improvisation, heavily consist of paying my required “musical dues”. To list a small fraction of some of the required skills to improvise with consistent success: scales, arpeggios, keys (changes, relatives etc), transposition, chart-reading, fake-books, microtonality/post-harmony, song structure, rhythm, embouchure work/dexterity, counterpoint, rudiments, ear-training, progressions etc. If this work is being done correctly, it should last a lifetime. I play a multitude of instruments, the majority of which were self-taught. They include; guitar, trumpet(and subsequent variations), bass, piano, organ, harmonica, jaw harp, snare drum, mandolin, banjo, strum stick, violin, omnichord and recently been studying the world of modular synthesizers, constructing my first private rig last year. I can’t think of a medium of art and art creation that I don’t have experience with in varying degrees. Mainly creative writing and visual media/design are at the forefront of my creative endeavours. Recently I’ve been experimenting with the abundance of A.I. Text to image generators that have been released for use by the general public, manipulating the outcome into a fusion of art by an artificial intelligence and art by someone who some would argue, is artificially intelligent. Jokes aside, if what I’m describing sounds strange, you’re correct in that assumption.
Rates and Studio Policies
Registration Fee: $25.00 (One-time lifetime registration fee may be used by all family members)
Rates for instruction:
30 minute private lesson: $39.00
45 minute private lesson: $49.00
60 minute private lesson: $59.00
Travel charge: additional $15.00 per visit (for lessons in a client's home as opposed to my studio)
1. Cancellation Policy
Lessons not cancelled or rescheduled with at least 24 hours notice are billable to the client and payable to the teacher. This does not of course apply to travel fees unless the notice is effectively given at the door and the teacher has travelled to the location.
2. Cessation (quitting) Policy
A client must provide a 2 lesson notice period to stop lessons. So a weekly student needs to give 2 weeks of notice, a biweekly student works out to 3 weeks notice and a twice weekly student works out to a week of notice.
3. Illness Policy
Lessons cancelled due to illness or extraordinary circumstances with less than 24 hours notice remain billable to the client and payable to the teacher.
BAH teachers are encouraged to offer a make-up lesson at a future date in the interest of client relations and general goodwill. This only makes sense as teaching a student with the flu for example, will ruin the rest of your week's employment.
No more than 2 lessons may be made up due to illness within a 60 day period.
4. Rescheduling Policy
Any lesson can be cancelled or rescheduled with at least 24 hours notice.
Summer Vacation and Extended Absence Policy
Clients may schedule longer absences for trips etc. 24 hours notice is required.
It is normal and typical for students and about 20% of our teachers to schedule a break in the summer. We do not enforce a notice period (see cessation of lessons) at the end of a long summer break.
5. Evaluation Period
There are no free trial lessons with Beethoven at Home but we do offer a 2 lesson evaluation period where it is easy to try out a teacher. There are no free lessons during the evaluation period and clients may choose to discontinue the lessons at any time by providing the required 24 hours notice. After the student's 3rd lesson the required 2 lesson notice period will apply (see cessation of lessons above).
Ruben can provide online instruction. While other platforms are possible BAH strongly recommends the use of the Zoom video conferencing platform as it is optimized for music lessons and audio quality.