A RENOWNED pianist, organist and vocal coach who reached number 1 in the UK jazz charts is attracting an international following with his holistic approach to teaching music online.
In a move to keep up with changing demands, Dr Robin Harrison has created an innovative online music platform to train budding musicians with a catalogue of virtual video lessons and live one-to-one coaching sessions via the internet.
The accomplished musician, whose extensive training has seen him work alongside tribes and gospel groups in Africa, has almost 30 years teaching experience and admits to being “insanely passionate” about educational techniques, progression and methodology.
“We have been thrown into a new era of virtual learning and that doesn’t have to hold back those who want to learn about music and how to play an instrument or sing,” says Dr Harrison, 45, Director of Music at Barnard Castle School, in County Durham.
Known professionally as The Maestro Online, Dr Harrison has launched a new music platform to reach an international pool of pupils of all abilities and ages, with a regularly-updated library of video tutorials for those keen to learn pop, rock and jazz piano, traditional piano, organ or singing.
His style differs from the majority of music teachers, with relatively unique methods that train the “whole musician”. His Pop No Dots piano courses, for example, move away from the old-fashioned notion of starting with Middle C and instead focus on chord progressions and creative improvisation.
Dr Harrison puts a strong focus on aural (or ear) training methods, inspired by Hungarian teacher and composer Kodàly. His work in the field led him to contribute in the writing of the recently oublished The Routledge Companion to Aural Skills Pedagogy.
Alongside the broad collection of pre-recorded content online, the Maestro Online also offers bespoke one-to-one holistic tuition with a more specialist approach.
“My holistic approach is about teaching the whole person; it is about teaching music rather than teaching a piece. I create experiences that leave a profound impression, developing the whole musician to be a fully rounded artist,” says Dr Harrison, from Yarm, North Yorkshire.
“The ability to improvise for instance enhances creativity, and an enhanced ‘ear’ allows the performer to be aware of subtle details which can then lead the voice or fingers, rather than respond to them. The idea that you can hear what you want to do in your head and then make your body reproduce that is at the forefront of my teaching.”
Dr Harrison, a classically trained pianist who studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, worked in Cairo for a number of years and there trained to be a jazz pianist. In 2014 he self-produced an album under the name Dr Ivor E Keys, reaching No.1 on the ReverbNation UK jazz charts and No.33 globally.
As a trained singing teacher, he has worked with classical choirs, dance academies and in the theatre, most notably as the vocal coach and assistant musical director for ‘We Will Rock You’ at the Sunderland Empire.
For more information please visit www.the-maestro-online.com