Teaching Pedigree

I was born in Los Angeles and lived there and in New York City before moving to London in 1996.  I played various instruments in my childhood and adolescence (piano the longest), but in late adolescence decided on drums.  As a drummer in my early twenties, I met and began many years of study with the renowned jazz tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, who during the bebop era (lead by Charlie Parker) was a student and then performing colleague of the blind jazz pianist and music teacher Lennie Tristano.  Lennie is probably the first teacher of jazz to progress his students’ (and his own) musicianship with methods based solely in jazz and the requirements of virtuoso improvising, i.e. devoid of all but the most basic of western classical music pedagogical traditions.  I stopped playing drums around 1980 and committed to the piano a few years later, continuing with Marsh until his death in December 1987, after which I am self-taught.

Lennie’s, and especially Warne’s, teaching vision, philosophy, methods and practical exercises form the basis of my own one–to–one teaching.  However, details of the curricula and practical exercises I set for students are my own design.  In addition, my vision for teaching and variety of approaches have been enriched by the teacher training I have undertaken (see my qualifications), which of course is on-going.

Since 2000, along with teaching music and other subjects in a variety of contexts including colleges, primary and secondary schools, and privately, I perform in London as a jazz pianist.  In addition to performing, composing and teaching, I have created many resources for teaching and learning in music, and these include extensive practical guidelines for self–led musical development (as yet unpublished).

To support myself prior to 2000, I had a mix of professional careers.  First, I trained and then worked for about ten years as a computer systems analyst, programmer and consultant in both Los Angeles and London.  A few years before moving to London, I achieved the USA’s highest piano tuner–technician certification (RPT) and then managed my own such business for about five years, first in LA and then in London.  After this, I trained and committed to teaching and performing.

I hope this has been helpful and encouraging.  If you have any questions or wish to enquire about lessons, I would welcome your call (020 8530-0710).

Yours faithfully,
Claude Alexander

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