DR. THOMAS SCHWAN MUSIC STUDIO

PIANO, COMPOSITION, MUSIC THEORY, AND MUSIC ANALYSIS

Online and in-person in my private studio in Dallas (5 minutes from Southern Methodist University)

Contact for rates, studio policy, and location


"I found Thomas Schwan's teaching to make an astronomical difference in my playing abilities."

"He opened my eyes to a whole new world of sound quality and interpretation."

"I feel like I am ten times the pianist I was at the start of the semester."

"He has changed the way I think about music."

"I feel as though I can approach the piano in an entirely new way."

(Official student evaluations, UNT College of Music, 2015-2017)


I will guide you through paths that are often neglected in conventional piano teaching. My primary goal is to help you realize your full potential as a pianist and musical artist. The following are just some of the critical skills that you will master under my guidance.

1) Understand the physiology of piano playing and empower your technique: which specific muscles to activate and when, how to employ arm weight and gravity force, how to achieve complete finger independence, and - most importantly - how to make full use of these resources to express your own musical intentions. In this area each student will go through a personal process of self-discovery and self-mastery.

2) What is the true meaning of interpretation and expression? Which mental, emotional, and spiritual forces are involved? How can you awaken and employ these forces to their full extent? I will help you discover and trust your musical self: the intuitive and creative forces that lie deeply at the core of your soul and mind, and that make you unique as a musician. Connecting with your musical self makes it possible to approach performance not as mere execution but rather as a creative endeavor. As there is no Self outside of History, we will also study historical recordings and discuss the historical piano schools from the legacy of Liszt and the Russian conservatories to the Italian and French schools of the 20th Century.

3) Making the piano as expressive as the human voice and the achieving a true polyphonic touch with the effect of multiple voices singing simultaneously are quintessential skills in piano playing. You will advance on the path of absolute mastery of these skills with a personalized training grounded in the tradition that connects Liszt to Arrau and the Post-War Moscow School.

4) How to produce a resonant sound that fills a large hall in the most subtle pianissimo and yet is never unpleasantly percussive in the loudest fortissimo? We will explore this and other secrets to achieve beauty and variety of tone through the cross-use of pedaling, dynamics, and touch.

5) A truth that is often ignored in conventional piano teaching is that a vast amount of musical information is not in the score: it is implied contextually and must be interpreted with great care. I will provide you with all the analytical tools you will need to decipher any score from any musical period. Most importantly, I will teach you the most efficient movements on the keyboard to translate every detail of a score into sound.

6) I will offer you personalized techniques, tips, and exercises that will unlock the full power of your memory. I will also help you conquer, once and forever, the emotional distress that may arise from the act of playing in public.

7) If necessary, I will assist you in working on your own personality to overcome any kind of obstacle that could be preventing you from realizing your full artistic potential. Most importantly, we will cultivate the emotional and spiritual dimensions of music with references to philosophy, religion, literature, and other art forms.



Some comments from my students

(Official student evaluations, UNT College of Music, 2015-2017)


"Thomas Schwan extended and deepened my understanding of classical piano music. He taught me the real importance of grouping notes into phrases, and playing melodies rather than plain sequences of notes. I feel like I am ten times the pianist I was at the start of the semester."


"Mr. Schwan taught me an entirely different way of playing. He opened my eyes to a whole new world of sound quality and interpretation."


"Piano lessons with Thomas Schwan are always engaging. Never have I gone into a lesson and wasn't challenged in some way. His abundance of knowledge and technique really translated with me."


"Schwan really encouraged me to do my best to achieve a high level of awareness. Overall, he is one of if not my favorite teachers. His details are rich and effective. I challenged myself with difficult repertoire this semester and Mr. Schwan always provided me with the skill set to accomplish it."


"Mr. Schwan is one of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure of being taught by. He is understanding but not a pushover, demanding but not harsh, and his line of thinking, teaching, and playing focuses on improvement and the process you take to get there."


"I found Thomas Schwan's teaching to make an astronomical difference in my playing abilities."


"Mr. Schwan has made me evaluate my practice methods and how productive my practice really is. He has also given me a kind of new found interest in piano."


"He really is a very excellent teacher and he has changed the way I think about music."


"Mr. Schwan is a fantastic piano teacher who does not simply teach us how to play the notes. He went deep into pedagogy and musical practicing techniques that can be used across the board; a truly superb teacher."


"Thomas is very encouraging, and balances constructive criticism and praise very well."


"He was very dedicated to making sure that I understood the principles of technique. I feel as though I can approach the piano in an entirely new way."

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