Teaching is a central part of David Lopato’s career as a musician. He has taught on the faculty of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music for the last 32 years, having taught 14 different classes there including all levels of theory, all levels of ear training, composition, performance, MIDI sequencing, film scoring, and “Sound and Vision” (a collaborative class with Parsons School of Design). He also served on the executive committee of that program for 12 years. Additionally he was on the faculty at Montclair State University for 7 years, where he taught lecture classes on world music and jazz history.
His approach to teaching reflects his approach to music in general. It is eclectic and all-inclusive. The stylistic range of his musical experience is rare among teachers. He has performed and composed music encompassing jazz, blues, rock, world music, avant-garde classical and performance art, and is equally comfortable teaching in any of these genres.
His mission as a teacher is to help the student learn to play what he or she hears and loves. This may be realized through learning how to read music, how to improvise, compose, use computer technology such as MIDI sequencing and audio editing software to facilitate the creative process or, of course, any combination of the above. He has taught all of these subjects both privately and in the context of college courses and his students span all ages and levels (including those with learning disabilities). Although the subject matter is serious and is treated as such, he infuses the teaching process with ample humor and wit, which reflects his approach to life in general.
Lessons range from 30 minutes for young children to 1 to 2 hours for older students, depending upon the circumstances and the course of study. They can be taught either in person at Lopato’s home studio or via zoom on line.
About Private Studies
Lessons range from 30 minutes for young children to 1 to 2 hours for older students, depending upon the circumstances and the course of study.
Beginner students will learn how to read music, develop proper technique and playing habits, and for those so inclined, learn to use their ears to explore playing without notes in front of them, i.e. improvisation.
More advanced students will be guided first and foremost by what their own musical interests and aspirations are. These, in turn, determine how the lessons are structured. For example, the study of improvisation or composition necessarily involves the study of music theory and ear training in addition to instrumental technique. Lopato has decades of experience translating these concepts into graspable forms the student can utilize in his or her own creative process.
For those interested in composing their own music, Lopato’s expertise in the realm of computer sequencing technology has proven valuable. This may simply involve using the MIDI studio set-up during lessons or it may also involve the student learning how to use this technology so that it may be employed in his or her own working environment.
Those interested in studying jazz improvisation will benefit from the fact that Lopato also plays acoustic bass. This affords the piano student the invaluable and rare option of having live acoustic accompaniment during lessons – beneficial, but also a lot more fun!
All piano students also have the benefit of learning on a 1941 7 ft. Steinway grand piano.