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Teacher Spotlight - Mr. Ivan Shapovalov

Many successful teachers are talented musicians, but it takes an extra-special know-how to translate personal talent into teachable information.

We as parents evaluate a quality teacher normally based in accreditation, natural talent, and character. It is necessary for those who have influence over our children not only set an example of disciple and intelligence, but to build a sense of trust, curiosity, and integrity within them. Most importantly, we want a teacher who can lead with natural intuition.

When asking teacher Ivan Shapovalov about his past and his journey through the world of music, it is revealed that he is more than capable at providing the education our students need.

having spent his life traveling the world, studying, performing, and teaching, Mr. Ivan is no stranger to the professional world of music. He concertizes domestically and internationally, always staying active in professional music communities.

Mr. Ivan has participated in a plethora of piano and chamber music competitions, winning top prizes for his distinguished performances. He became very active in performing at concert halls, museums, libraries, art galleries, foreign diplomatic missions, and government sponsored events. Notably, Ivan would be invited regularly to perform on an American Airforce Base in Kyrgyzstan, showcasing his expansive repertoire of blues, jazz, pop, rock, and classical pieces.

Mr. Ivan holds a Bachelors degree from Gnessin State College and a Masters Degree from Classical State Academy , Moscow, Russia. His teachers consist of Temchenko Irina, Telenchak Margarita, Petrova Elena, Vladimir Vorobyev, Olga Radzetskaya, Anna Koroleva, and Gary Burton, from the Berklee College of Music. Ivan has participated in master classes with Vladimir Viardo, Boris Petrushansky, Valery Afanassiev, and many others.

Current music activism for Mr. Ivan includes but is not limited to performing with local choirs, teaching college ensembles (Rio Hondo College), and solo artists. His in-house studio consists of over 60+ students at all times, with 25% of them participating in CM or ABRSM piano exams (All place within the 20% highest percentile). In addition, students of Mr. Ivan compete in the Yamaha Piano Competition, Southwestern Youth Music Festival, the Korea Time Annual Youth Music Competition, Steinway Junior Piano Competition, and the Piano Concerto Solo Competition.

Teaching Philosophy

My job is not only to teach how to play the piano but to improve my students' culture level in general, to enrich them comprehensively. I do realize that not all of my students are hoping/planning to be a professional musician and a lot of them do it “just for fun”, but I consider music education a crucial part of their culture and intellectual improvements.

That's how it was in some ancient countries like Greece, Rome, China. Not so long ago in Europe, being educated meant being musical. If you were lucky to say that you were educated, that meant that you could play piano and at least one more musical instrument. You'd know how to sing, write music, you'd know poetry and arts, you’d know 3-5 foreign languages. It was normal. It's not just about being musical.

For instance, Einstein played violin. Not bad at all, according to what we know about him but he wasn't a musician as we all know. I guess that's my style, I want my students not to just play piano very well, but be the best version of themselves. And I truly believe that music can do it.

Making Music Fun

As teachers we don’t just teach our students how to play piano pieces, we have to do hundreds of different things and cover a variety of activities and requirements - starting with working on the poster and hand shape with beginners, then technical exercises, ear training, music theory and harmony, music history, rhythmic training. With all these things it’s easy to forget about one very important thing - student’s interest. It is especially crucial for younger students. “Sometimes we are lucky to have students who are interested in taking music lessons on their own, but often it’s the teacher’s responsibility to make it interesting” - the first thing I learned from my Piano Pedagogy teacher in college. How can we make it interesting? Kids like games, so when we include in lessons some music activities and games it makes it easier, more fun and more interesting for students. Now it’s easier to do than it was back in the day - alongside with rhythmic, ear training games, music stories, and flashcards we have a lot of apps and games which every child enjoys a lot.

Get to know Mr. Ivan and all of our great music teachers at Cerritos Yamaha Music School here. Book a trial lesson with Mr. Ivan here!

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