Alejandro has instructed piano at McGill University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is currently on faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music.
On top of a being a soloist, recitalist and collaborative pianist, I have dedicated a great part of my life to music teaching. For almost two decades, I have shared my love of music with piano students of all ages and levels. During this time, several students have received resounding success at local and national competitions and have been admitted to the graduate and undergraduate programs of their choice. I am proud of these achievements, but my true goal as a teacher is to provide a nurturing environment where the craft of music making can be openly explored and celebrated. I pride myself in carefully guiding aspiring professionals that need, on top of quality instruction, to be mentored. I challenge myself to be engaging, creative and enthusiastic.
Witnessing how young people are empowered, inspired and made curious and resilient when exposed to musical education, motivated me to co-found and direct the Blueridge Chamber Music Festival and Workshop, an organization that, for the last ten summers, has brought advanced music students to discover the collaborative, inclusive, and fun nature of chamber music.
You can request an initial lesson through Top Music Teachers, the Vancouver Academy of Music, or write directly to: alochoa [at] gmail.com
STATEMENT OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
© Alejandro Ochoa
As a teacher my principal aim is to inspire a passion for learning. More specifically, I believe this is accomplished when the student realizes that regardless of the stage where they are in their musical formation, they have the means to tap into the full expressive potential of the music they perform by understanding its essence, and with that understanding, that they can build the technical means necessary to produce the desired result. In other words, I believe that intellectually understanding the character of the music is the primordial element on which we build all the necessary technical and musical elements. Transmitting this “essence” is after all the purpose of music and the main reason of what brings students to learn it. By giving a vocabulary for this often instinctive appreciation true learning begins to take place.
Musical understanding without control of the means of musical production (technique) clearly amounts to little more than nothing, and therefore all aspects of proper technique are by necessity a central feature of my teaching. I constantly remind my students that if they want to learn how to play they first have to learn how to listen. Listening is the testing ground to verify that our technical experiments are correct.
In my many years of teaching it has become clear that the most important thing students need to learn is how to go about efficient and effective learning. Therefore I often bring aspects of cognitive sciences and psychology into my teaching. Every student is unique in his or her challenges, talents and psychology and therefore as a teacher I strive to provide a custom approach to the student, one that will encourage them to try their best, and to balance the often tricky aspect of acknowledging their accomplishments yet being aware of the many challenges that lie ahead.
I also ask students to keep an open musical mind, to apply themselves to their theoretical and other academic courses, and to make a decisive conscious effort to get involved in as greater a variety of repertoire and collaborative musical activities as possible. This effort must include regularly assisting to live music performances. I believe this is an often overlooked and critical aspect of forming well rounded musicians. It is not often communicated to students that putting in large amounts of hours in front of the instrument is simply not enough. When I look back at my student days, it hardly seems like a coincidence, that those of us who became professional working musicians were precisely the ones that passionately consumed as much music as possible, starting with regular attendance to live concerts and events. Observing great living performers first hand is an unparalleled masterclass that slowly helps reveal the mysteries to great artistry and music making.
Vincent Gao, piano – Studio of Dr. Alejandro Ochoa