Bio

 Andrea Yau

Andrea Yau

Credentials:

Graduate Diploma in Piano Pedagogy Research (University of Ottawa)

B.Mus, B.Ed (University of Toronto)

ARCTs in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy (Royal Conservatory of Music)

OCT (Ontario College of Teachers)

Suzuki Piano Book 1 Certification

Royal Conservatory of Music Certification as an Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Specialist

Registered Music Teacher (Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association)

 

Biography:

Andrea Yau is a pianist and educator based in downtown Toronto. In her piano lessons, Andrea has 3 main goals: to inspire, provide expert instruction, and to bring joy to students through positive learning experiences. She helps students of all ages and abilities discover (or rediscover) a passion in studying music, achieve top marks in Royal Conservatory of Music examinations and competitions, develop better cognitive and fine motor skills, and to gain exposure to different styles and genres of music. Her students have been working on several projects over the past few years including: practice challenges, music compositions, Canadian repertoire intensives, improvisation, and community outreach events in the greater Toronto community.

Besides teaching in the piano studio, Andrea is involved in several other activities: As a graduate student of the University of Ottawa’s Piano Pedagogy Laboratory, she conducts research on various topics related to improving piano teaching and learning. Currently, Andrea is researching the concept of “ear training”, its definitions, and different approaches used by music teachers to teach ear skills. Andrea also serves as secretary to the Central Toronto Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association, an organization of registered private music teachers working to promote and improve music education in the province of Ontario. In addition, Andrea is an active piano adjudicator and teacher of early childhood musicianship classes. When not teaching music, Andrea is an occasional teacher for the Toronto District School Board, where she teaches Math, Writing, and Science. She has particular experience working with elementary school children from vulnerable neighborhoods who have behavioral or special needs.

Andrea is an avid fan of corny jokes. Her favourite piano joke is: “What’s the difference between a piano and a fish?”. “You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish!” Andrea welcomes students to share their favourite jokes and puns with her. She looks forward to working with prospective students and providing them with an enriching musical experience.

 


7 Fun Questions Students have Asked About Me:

1. Do you play another instrument?

Yes – but not at a very high level. In high school, I played cello in the orchestra. I had a terrible “bow hand” but enjoyed it. I also dabbled briefly in guitar and the viola and received a scholarship to study the harpsichord for 2 years. I’m currently learning how to play the musical saw aka. the “singing saw” and the ukelele. I’ve also started a collection of unusual instruments such as the jaw harp and the Indonesian Angklung.

2. What music do you like to listen to?

All sorts! Classical, Jazz, Contemporary, Pop of all decades, World Music. If I’m not making music, I’m attending concerts or collecting recordings. Of late though, I’ve been enjoying pure silence much more. In a noisy world and in a profession of sound making, there is nothing like quiet for calming the soul.

 3. When did you start learning the piano?

When I was 6 years old

4. Did you enjoy practicing the piano as a kid?

I hated practicing but it was my Mom who helped me stay the course, despite there being many times I was so frustrated that I would kick the piano. Over time, as I became more able to play, the practicing became more interesting and meditative for me and I would go to the piano on my own.

5. What do you enjoy most about teaching piano?

I love watching students progress. It is very fulfilling to watch students grow over the span of their lessons with me and to know that I contributed to their growth.

6. What is your biggest musical vice?

Books. I collect books related to music education: sheet music, story books about musicians, music history books. I love perusing through used book stores for these kinds of treasures and will often come home with a stack of books that I don’t have any space for. My current bookcase has become quite full and has collapsed with the weight of it all. I have to find a new system of organizing my books or just get rid of some to make room!

7. What do you do in your spare time?

I embark on  mini “adventures” which consist of me exploring my city, Toronto, and its surrounding regions by doing something new. I’ve tried many things so far: from falconry in Bowmanville, Edgewalking on Toronto’s CN tower from over 1000 feet in the air, flying a Cessna 150 plane over Lake Scugog, immersing myself in a sensory deprivation tank for an hour, and blowing my own glass ornaments in the Junction neighbourhood. I’m a big proponent of the idea that one should constantly be learning, especially in the profession of education, which helps me better connect with the learning process that my own students go through. As well, the various activities that I try help me to teach piano more holistically: If I’m trying to teach students how to play a piece that has a sense of suspension, for instance, you can bet that I’ll have tried suspension yoga or trapeze flying and encourage my students to do the same – and then we’ll apply that experience to the music making!