The Butler Piano Studio is, primarily, a performance-oriented studio, committed to music and music making and designed to equip students with the musical and pianistic skills that will provide a solid foundation for performance. There is nothing elitist about performance. In truth, less than one percent of students from this studio go on to become professional musicians. The performance philosophy is simply based on much of the same principles as any activity that has public display as a component of its accountability. What person takes up hockey, or for that matter any sport, without wanting to play or be involved? Very few people canít be trained to perform well in public and the benefits of this training last a lifetime. For the very rare person whose nervous system simply wonít allow their doing anything in public, the road to performance is still a valuable lesson.
Each student in Dr. Butlerís studio is accepted by interview/ audition. In these interview/auditions, beginning students are given musical IQ tests and parents and students are asked a number of questions. If the student already plays piano, then repertoire is heard and musical skills Ė aural, rhythmic, sight-reading, etc., are assessed. If accepted, it is understood that all the requirements of the Butler Piano Studio will be followed. All acceptances are probationary until the dedication and work ethic of all involved is established and in evidence.
Once accepted, each student is assigned a weekly, hour-long lesson and, when ready, must also attend weekly master classes where students perform for each other as they prepare for their various performance obligations Ė examinations, competitions, music festivals and the like. Many question the hourly lesson philosophy but not after they have experienced it. In truth, little is accomplished in a half-hour or forty-five minute period. Most children, by the time they begin piano, are in school full time, and have no difficulty with the hour time-frame.
Beginning or transfer students rarely perform publicly, in their first year of study as, often, there are new concepts and ideas that take time to absorb and comprehend. However, once the student is well prepared, and with Dr. Butlerís permission, performance opportunities become a valuable teaching tool and learning experience and are sought out with vigour. Performance needs practice like everything else. To that end students perform, when ready, every week in master class, and every available ORMTA Recital throughout the academic year. The more advanced perform their own recitals, usually in the months of February and March of each fiscal year. These recitals take place in the Butler Piano Studio at 463 Russell Woods Road, Tecumseh, ON.
No performances, competitions and/or examinations take place without the explicit approval of Dr. Butler. Often, despite good preparation and solid effort, life interferes. When entry fees and application deadlines have been met but still performance readiness is not there, students from this studio do not perform.