Please enjoy this insightful interview conducted by Maple Yujiao Li, in conversation with renowned music educator Dr. Victor Shevtsov.

 

From a very early age, Dr. Shevtsov had a profound interest in music. For hours on end he would listen to music on the radio or watch local musicians play the piano. He started regular piano lessons at the age of five. He describes himself as "very lucky to have wonderful, outstanding teachers both in [his] hometown of Rostov–on–Don and later in Moscow." In the course of his studies he had lessons with followers of the four great representatives of Russian Piano tradition: Konstantin Igumnov, Samuil Feinberg, Alexander Goldenweiser and Heinrich Neuhaus. After graduating from The Gnessin’s Music Academy in Moscow, Dr. Shevtsov became active as a teacher and performer, playing in chamber music ensembles and in a piano duo with his wife, Tanya Shevtsova. He held teaching positions at The Moscow School of Music, The Rostov State Pedagogical UniversityRubin’s Music Academy and The Tel Aviv University.

 

Dr. Shevtsov says that one of the most fortunate events in his life was when he and his family moved to Canada and found their new home in Vancouver. On the west coast, Dr. Shevtsov became more and more fascinated by teaching. He believes that Vancouver is a unique city where there is great interest for children’s musical education and immesnse possibilities for children to excel in music. An a music educator, Dr. Shevtsov has created his own teaching method based on the combination of Russian and European piano traditions. At Vitta Piano Studio, his students consistently demonstrate professional levels of preparation and outstanding musical achievements in local, national and international competitions. He uses words such as encouragement, creativity and mastery to describe his style of music education. He refers to teaching as a "moment of exchanging creative energy. If you manage to discover a seed of talent in your student, and your efforts to nurture and develop the student’s potential are successful, leading to beautiful playing, it gives the teacher new ideas and musical insight."

 

Dr. Shevtsov has published two series of Piano Method Books for children, Little Pianist: First Steps for Early Beginners and The First Piano Book. The publications are a result of his extensive pedagogical experience, knowledge and innovative ideas. The books introduce a unique system of laying the foundation for musical and technical development of young pianists. Recently, Victor published a phenomenal reference book called Help your Child Excel at the Piano: A Book for Parents. In his writing, Dr. Shevtsov explains that when parents don't how to approach their musical education, many children never discover their full potential. Parents should understand that all children have the ability to excel at playing the piano if they are effectively and properly taught. The parents’ role in this process is extremely important. To help get parents started, Dr. Shevtsov discusses the following vital questions:

 

1. What kind of specific musical activities are appropriate for each stage of a child's devlopment?

2. Which teacher will be the best match for a child and how can one find such a teacher?

3. Is it important to have a good piano? What kind of a piano is the best choice for certain ages and musical levels?

4. How can a parent organize and monitor their childs' practice sessions to help make them enjoyable and efficient?

5. How can parents assist their children in preparation for an exam, performance or competition?

 

"Students with a wide range of talents and ambitions will benefit from their parents' thoughtful and educated decisions regarding the many aspects of music education that are discussed in this book."