Sykes Piano Program
Julia Sykes began developing the Sykes Piano Program in 2003. She was motivated by a strong desire to create a program where students developed a long lasting love of music, became well-rounded musicians, and also progressed as quickly as possible.
Typically there are many differences between classical and contemporary musicians. They both have strengths and weaknesses. The Sykes Program takes the strengths of classical and contemporary musicians to form the basis of the Program. As a result Sykes students can read music well, play by ear, arrange and compose music, improvise, have a good understanding of all kinds of music and music theory.
Somewhere along the way, during the history of music, learning to play an instrument lost its creative element. Students were taught how to play their instrument and the theory of music, but not a whole lot more. As a result, students developed into technicians and not musicians. They were robbed of the pleasure of creating their own music. Music is a creative art and this is lost in programs based on the traditional approach.
The Sykes Program caters for, and helps develop all styles of learning. Students learn through reading, by ear, imitation or creating their own music. It offers students a lot more than just learning how to play the piano. Students become flexible, adaptable, knowledgeable musicians and good pianists.
Other elements that contribute to the success of the Sykes Piano Program are the training program that Julia has developed for teachers that empowers them to be very effective and successful teachers. Also the Sykes method to learning how to read music is much easier and more efficeint than the traditional approach resulting in students becoming good music readers much sooner. Parents are involved in the learning process and are a great assistance in ensuring a successful learning experience for their children. The Program is designed in Levels and Grades and incorporates assessments. These help motivate students to learn quickly, ensure that the students are always receiving a well-rounded music education, and encourage music to be of a high quality. The program has been carefully designed and rigorously piloted. Pieces of music are carefully selected to be a pleasure to learn and to listen to and incorporate many different styles of music. A concept that is of paramount importance in the Program is that if students enjoy themselves they will love the piano, do well and progress quickly. Therefore great care has gone into making the Sykes Piano Program as enjoyable as possible.
Along the years, Julia would often hear stories such as, "I learned piano up to 6th grade and have never played piano again," or "I learned piano for 7 years and don't know how to improvise or play by ear," or "my mum let me quit piano because I hated it and now I regret it." The reason why all of these people have been unhappy learning the piano, and sometimes can't wait to finish having to play the piano, is because they had lessons that were boring, too strict, and they only learned to read pieces of music and play scales, and not much more.
Julia's own experience of learning piano was a similar one. Even though she loved playing the piano, loved her teachers and still plays today, after 10 years of piano lessons, she had good playing technique, could read music and play advanced music, but she couldn't do a lot more. One day her brother that played guitar as her to jam with her. She didn't know what to do, so her brother, who didn't know much piano, worked out something for her to play. He ended up having fun and she ended up bored playing the same pattern over and over because she didn't know what else to do. Also in her 20's a swing band was looking for keyboardist. They asked her if she wanted the job, but she turned them down because she didn't have a clue about how to play in a band. This is something that she regretted.
All of these things contributed to her being motivated to write a piano program where students developed a lifelong love of music and the skills to make the most of opportunities that come their way.
“Sykes Music has been running piano lessons in our school for the past year. It has been an amazing and valuable experience for all those students that have been trained by Sykes Music. A great deal of positive feedback has been received from parents bout their children’s music development and improvement through Sykes Music.”