After just a few lessons with Ryoko the quality of my playing was transformed through using the Alexander Technique approach. I found being able to play with less tension in my body resulted in my being able to be more expressive and the sound I made was warmer and richer. Ryoko’s style of teaching is so enjoyable and great fun. My lessons are more about ‘playing’ and focusing on communication and expression rather than merely ‘practicing’.
I have been taking both piano and Alexander lessons with Ryoko Izutsu since October 2014 and have learnt a great deal from her. She is a subtle and skilled teacher.
Her combined qualifications in performing, piano teaching and Alexander Technique provide her with a highly unusual skill set.
She teaches in a way that allows her students to develop their technique and musicality to the full whilst avoiding all superfluous tensions and bad pianistic habits.
Ryoko is someone who lives and breathes music, and her approach to Piano teaching transcends just playing ‘the correct notes’. Instead she emphasises and teaches how to feel the music and play with intention, letting the music come to life.
I have lessons with Ryoko once a week. She has helped improve my piano technique and has introduced me to a vast array of music which I had never heard before. Hearing her play is always inspirational, as is hearing her sight read music I have been trying to learn for months.
As a bonus, Ryoko takes the time to plan concerts for all her students a few times a year. She will book a beautiful Venue with an equally beautiful piano, bringing together students, family, and friends, so that we can all listen to music learnt and played by fellow students. These concerts were my first introduction to playing in front of a crowd. Complete with sweaty palms and shaky fingers I have had the opportunity to both play and listen to a wonderful array of music and am improving as each one goes by.
If you wondering whether to become a student of Ryoko do not hesitate. Be assured that if you are a music lover it is a sure way to increase you Piano technique, inspiration and exposure to wonderful music.
I started learning piano with Ryoko at the age of 52. I had never before touched a piano. Two years later I am preparing Beethoven’s Bagatelle Op 119/1 for our next concert.
I would never have believed this possible – but Ryoko is the perfect inspiration and teacher. I am sure there are many teachers out there who can teach technically how to play. But most of the teaching time with Ryoko is spent on how to bring out the music, not on technicalities or scales. Ryoko performs herself. She illustrates her ideas by playing to me – and how she plays! She can create another dimension, where time stands still and breathing stops while magical sounds intoxicate the air.
I took lessons with Alexander Technique from the outset. This helps me to feel the connection between my body and the music, and to remove the tension which would otherwise tighten and impede the free flow of music. I would recommend taking Alexander Technique if you can.
Ryoko also organises concerts for her students to play in performance in front of friends and family. This provides us with a target to aim for. It is much more in the spirit of music to have a concert performance, rather than a grade exam, as a target. Music is about communication of emotions and is about life – whereas an overly academic and technical approach can kill musicality stone dead.
Another benefit of the concerts is the chance to meet the other students. I have found the other students (especially the adults) really inspiring, and they make me realise that I can do things that would otherwise seem out of reach.
If you want a first class piano teacher who will teach you music as a whole, in context, and with full musicality, then Ryoko is your best choice.
-Michael (54 years old)
Ryoko has been a wonderful piano teacher – I am a very late learner and have never played an instrument before. With Ryoko’s skills and endless patience I can finally play a tune! She has a unique and inspiring approach to teaching and her students think very highly of her. She is dedicated and organises wonderful concerts where students can showcase their growing piano skills. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
-Julie (51 years old)