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Sound and Silence


Instruction in listening, playing, instrument building,and composing. Emphasis on all aspects of the world of music and on the musics of the world. Specializing in children and beginning adults. Ages 3-adult In the Leschi/Mt. Baker (Seattle) neighborhood, Private individual lessons in piano, clarinet, saxophone, cello, string bass, bass guitar, guitar (basic chords, fingerstyle, classical), percussion, theory and composition. Group lessons for children 3-7. Lesson times are weekday afternoons, weekend mornings, and early evenings. Some Reviews of what I do; UNSOLICITED "Jay is a Master Teacher" 5/5 stars scstroup Seattle, WA Review of Jay Hamilton, June 01, 2011 Our son (now seven) has been taking classes with Jay for... it must be four years now. I learned of Jay from a musician friend who recommended him; when I first inquired, there was no space in his youngest class, so I went on the wait list for a year. A year later, I called back, and was delighted to learn there was room. I had no idea what to expect, and wanted only that our son develop a love for, and appreciation of, music—for I grew up in a house full of music, but never learned to play any traditional instruments competently (or even incompetently). Parents who want a teacher to turn their little darling into the next Mozart or YoYo Ma, or those who are interested in music because it raises math scores because the kid *must* get into Harvard, would find a better fit elsewhere. Our son has been with Jay since then. About two years ago (I think), it became clear that the group classes were no longer a good fit. Our son had not chosen an instrument yet, and we had no desire to push (and Jay won't allow it), but we all talked, and made the decision to move our son into one-on-one classes with a fairly open format which has included: making instruments, reading music (my son is far better now than I'd ever been), playing piano (weekly) and other instruments as interest has arisen (as Jay teaches the kids not read music, and to *understand* it, shifting from one instrument to another is not that challenging, which blows me away), composing pieces, learning about instrument history, composers, and—one of the most important and impressive aspects of Jay's teaching—learning how to listen to music, think about it, think about what you like or don't like, and why. I'd not understood how someone could teach the development of a musically critical ear in a young child, but Jay has done so. Jay Hamilton is, simply put, a master teacher. I am a teacher (prof. at the UW), and so I know from good teachers. Jay is one of the best teachers of anything I have ever observed (or had the pleasure to meet). Our son is quirky, perfectionistic, headstrong, highly kinetic, and highly sensitive to error. I have seen Jay handle tough situations (a struggle with a piece, a fear of failure, a freeze up) with absolutely remarkable ability and calm, knowing when to be firm in the way that shows a kid you respect them, and when comforting in the way that shows the kid you care more about them than perfection of a musical piece. He is a better teacher than any of my son's teachers in school (and he has some good ones). I have used Jay as an example as I've talked to my son's teachers about how best to teach him; I have learned myself from Jay about how to deal with my son's perfectionistic impulses (and, in some ways, how to deal with my own university-level students). He is one of the most gifted teachers I've seen. But let me be clear: Jay is not merely a music "teacher." He is a composer, a musician, an instrument creator and maker, an impressively intelligent and thoughtful person, and almost criminally creative and innovative. He's funny, patient, responsive, firm, observant, and protective of the child's musical and emotional development. Jay patronizes neither the child, nor you. He will put your child's development and interests before your dreams of Carnegie Hall. He is an excellent person in every way, and I could not recommend him more. Pros: Helpful, Engaging, Encouraging, Smart, Patient, Funny, Fun, Good communicator -- SOLICITED REVIEWS "Made Music Fun for Our Son" 5/5 stars Neil M Review of Jay Hamilton, November 20, 2008 Jay Hamilton made music fun for our son. First on the xylophone, later on the piano, week after week, for ten years, from elementary school through high school, our son always looked forward to lessons at Jay's. When he grew older, when he had to choose what activities to continue, what activities to drop, he always chose to continue piano lessons at Jay's. I think that Jay never lost sight of who he was teaching and why. Our son wanted music in his life as a hobby, as a way to relax, as a way to have fun. Jay always saw that. He tailored his teaching to that end. Jay also managed to adjust to the changing learning styles as our son grew older and changed. Whether our son was in elementary school, middle school, or high school, Jay was always on the mark. -- "Child-centered music exploration and study" 5/5 stars Sarah H Review of Jay Hamilton, November 23, 2008 Jay was our first music teacher for both our boys. He introduces children to the world of music in a very non-threatening environment. The first day, he takes his piano apart and show the student how it works. He encourages his beginning students to try out different instrument families until they find an instrument that speaks to them; and if they want to change instruments later, that's OK too. He nurtured our younger son's interest in composing. Jay is also very supportive and helpful if a student needs to move on to another teacher -- he told us that he had taken our son as far as he could go on his chosen instrument, and helped us find a new teacher. We frequently go back to Jay when we have questions about music instruction. -- "Piano Fitness" 5/5 stars Emily B Review of Jay Hamilton, January 10, 2009 For anyone who took lessons long ago and wishes to return to piano, I would highly recommend Jay as a coach. I found his unique perspective on repertoire possibilities and his patient but precise watch over rhythmic and voice balancing issues indispensable. -- "wonderful early music experience" 4/5 stars janes Seattle, WA Review of Children's Music Lessons, December 08, 2008 My daughter, who is now nearly 9, came weekly to Jay's studio for music lessons when she was preschool age. While the lessons are structured, they are also quirky (unlike with corporate kiddie music classes, where the instructor didn't come up with the material). The kids get to soak in the environment of a dedicated musician, in a room filled with all kinds of instruments. My daughter did not become any kind of music prodigy because of Jay, but she started taking piano lessons lo these many years later and is taking to it like a duck to water. And she has great taste in music. I credit Jay for opening up her ears. (And yes, they really do get to take apart the piano!!) p.s. I rate this learning experience 4 stars because it was Great / More Than I Expected. If my daughter would have never wanted to quit, I would probably have rated it Excellent / Simply the best.

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