Journey of a Piano Teacher

About Luca Ridolfo

My Story

Hello!

I wrote this biography for one reason only. Which one? It’s really simple: The only emails I generally look at are those from people I trust and that I feel I know personally.

There is nothing worse than a stranger who sends emails to your inbox!

Listen here now. Knowledge alone will not help you succeed in playing the piano. Why? Simply because there is really too much information scattered chaotically out there. So much that it’s impossible to follow everything. So, even if you are looking for new information, you need to be able to get that information from a reliable source.

In other words …

Journey of a Piano Teacher - About Luca Ridolfo

From someone you trust!

This is something I discovered when I subscribed to different lists like this about playing the piano, making music, composing music etc.

After a short time, I remember I began to unsubscribe from their news, simply because I didn’t trust what they said to me. The information these people sent me did not convince me at all.

The same happened also in other areas I’m interested in ...

1 expert out of 100 seemed worthy of my trust because you immediately notice when someone wants to help you seriously and loves to do it, not only for the money.

All the others, the remaining 99, for me, were nothing more than names on my computer screen.

Who were these people on the other side? What had they represented? And why were they in internet marketing? What was their story?

With that in mind, let me share more about me with you so that I won’t be just another name on your computer screen.

Why do I do this? Because I seriously feel I have accumulated a lot of experience in this field. 

I want to put at your disposal different methods and practices that could easily change your life.

I am going to do my best for you to benefit from it, for you to read my messages and learn these methods… and most of all, the most important thing is that you

Put them into practice!

I have started playing piano when I was 8 years old from a teacher in a little music school in the countryside of the north Italy.

My father, who studied a little bit of guitar in his youth, taught me how to read notes giving me simple exercises well before starting music lessons. So, when I started, I was a little bit further then the other children beginners. Plus, the great advantage is that I was super excited of having piano lessons and committed to continue having them.

At a certain point, I shared with my teacher my willingness of entering in a conservatory. At that point, he kindly suggested me to go to another teacher who was more prepared than him.

I went to having lessons with this teachers and…

Journey of a Piano Teacher

I was a complete disaster!!!

It seemed that I didn’t know anything about playing the piano. Plus, the teacher before didn’t pay particular attention to how to take care of my technique.

The new teacher was this old woman teaching me in the “old’ good way”, yelling at me whenever I did, even the most stupid mistake.

Those 2 years were really stressful for me, but also the one that shaped me and proved to me that I really wanted to become a good piano player.

After these two years, I was done with this teaching method. Plus, my parents have to drive for one hour to bring me to piano lessons (plus waiting another hour, plus going back for another hour). It was really a sacrifice for them, and I’ll always be thankful for having done this.

Fast-forwarding my story, I took lessons with several different teachers who really improved my technique (with a little bit more patience than the other teacher). They helped me passing exams at the Conservatory and even some piano competitions. 

At this point, I was like 16 years old, and I remember I had masterclasses with this famous piano teacher, one that brought the Russian piano teachings in Italy. The first year I brought him “the revolutionary etude”, and he was pretty surprised about my technique. Well, that was the result of one year of studying that particular etude of Chopin (plus other music of course). 

Note: yes, you read it well.. it took me a year to play it on a “concert level”..not days, not weeks… a year! It takes serious dedication to bringing a piece to its mastery! Mind also that I had almost 10 years of serious practice behind with piano teachers, and I was not a self-taught pianist.

The next year I took a masterclass with him was a complete disaster… I brought an “easier piece” (Rondo Capriccioso by F. Mendelssohn) which I didn’t fully master yet. To my surprise, he asked me: “do you really want to be a pianist? I’m not sure about that, and I think you’ll never be!”… those words were tragic at the very beginning and still for a few years I really felt them.

I want to stop for a minute my story and ask you a simple question: “Have you noticed a particular pattern along with this story that I just told you?” – Read on…

Continuing my story, in those years, I had to decide what to do in my life. Those years were the last of the high school.

Since I was also interested in learning to play more contemporary styles, I decided to follow some jazz piano courses. After high school, my natural decision was to enrol in the Conservatory for graduating in Jazz Piano.

Those years were really full of good memories. Still, the more I continue to go further with improving my own piano playing,  the more I discovered I didn’t know certain parts of information. The one that they could make me a better pianist. 

Yes, even if I was on a good level studying at the Conservatory, you can always improve your piano playing. It’s a never-ending story!

For example, due to my lack of information, I started having physical problems like tendonitis from my shoulder until my wrist. It was so painful to play the piano.

I remember I was playing in a jazz concert with my own trio during one summer and I asked them if we could have played slower tunes as it was really painful for me.

The problem was that no one told me how to correct it, even my teachers that I was studying at that particular moment.

I called everyone to talk about my problem, and I remember talking with a piano teacher that I didn’t use to take lessons with. He asked me kindly to reach him immediately at his home for seeing what was going on.

I took my bike, run 4 kilometres on a sunny summer day (it was like 38° degrees, without shadow) and reached his place.

He made me sit at the piano, and he asked me to play something for him. I started playing, I tried to play at my own best, and then I finished.

At that moment, he asked me:

“Luca, why the hell are you lifting your right shoulder when you play?” (that was my “injured part”). The reply was “I didn’t even know I was lifting it!” – “that’s the answer to your problem, please go to the physiotherapist and take some rest. At that point, just play without lifting your shoulder…check it every time you play!”. He gently accompanied me to the door.

Duration of the lesson: 15 minutes (maximum).

From this lesson, I really recovered back from my problems. I’ll always be grateful to this teacher who made possible for me to go back to play the piano in my right way.

While I was finishing and graduating in the Conservatory in Italy, I still continue having lessons with this teacher. He really pushed me back to take a look at the fundamentals of piano playing and make me aware of how I was playing really heavy the piano at that time!

Thanks to all these teachings, I was able to enter in the Royal Conservatory of Den Haag (The Netherlands) to have a master of 2 years.

 I moved to the Netherlands, and I graduated for my master. Since I understood a few concepts while looking back at the fundamentals of piano playing, I improved my sound at the piano. 

This permitted me to have more gigs, more groups in which to play and to record some albums.

In that period, I understood a thing:

You play with your entire body and the sound you produce at the piano is made by the movements of your body.

Reread again this phrase I wrote you right now!

In fact, it can really change your pianistic life if you interpret it correctly. When I understood this, I was literally able to obtain the sound I wanted whenever I wanted. I was able to teach it to the student, giving him/her an instant solution to his problem.

Of course, I need to learn that body movement and to fully interiorize it. It doesn’t happen in a blinking eye; still, I need to study it. But once I got it, I’m able to overcome my problem.

Inspired by the concepts and the philosophy I learned so far, I founded my music school “Studio MusicalMente” in Den Haag (The Netherlands), sharing my experience to new piano students.

At the very beginning, all these situations were hard but…

Journey of a Piano Teacher - About Luca Ridolfo

it was a journey that totally changed me

It made me a better person and a better pianist. I have overcome my fears, my weaknesses. I am now more confident in myself, even when I play in front of an audience. I also learned to cope with failure in the short term and be able to see the long term, so I could keep doing and learning when the game got though.

And most importantly, I learned to help others

Many people think that learning to play the piano is something that only talented people can do. Or that you need to start when you were young, the sooner, the better.

This is true. But this is only a part of the truth, and just a few ones talk about the other side.

In the other side, it’s possible to become a skilled pianist even if you are an adult. It’s proven that adults have a lot of advantages rather than children for learning new skills (I have also written an article about it).

Why then no one talks about this? Simply because a prodigy child makes more “talk in the city” rather than a “prodigy adult”. Being an excellent adult piano beginner is not something that sells like a prodigy child.

That’s the problem: the art world is based a lot on appearance. And if you just play the piano because of the impression that you want to give to someone, only for impress someone else… well, then you’re doing the same job of the media that promote ignorance divulgated through the TV as “culture”.

Would you like to be one of them?

Remember: we always have a choice. Deciding to “act for changing your condition” is only the beginning.

There are always those (most of them) who see only one side of the coin, good or bad. And then some see both sides.

If you want to think with your own head, you must know both sides. Otherwise, you will always see only one face. The one that will make it hard to become a good piano player.

In the course of my life, I have been a dish-washer, a stock counter, I have delivered ad flyers, I have been a secretary. But nobody has ever come to me to tell me: “hey Luca, the way you washed the dishes today really changed my life …”. AHAH!

Never!

Instead, I came in contact with many people who bought my products and listened to my music. They all told me that the information they found inside my products changed their lives, and that made them better people.

So I tell you this: today, I know that this journey is leading me towards my goal, towards a way of being entirely congruent with what I am and what I want. And I am convinced that anyone who has to follow this path… at any cost! Even if the initial difficulties seem impossible, also if people think you’re crazy…

… it’s always worth it. Believe me, the game is worth the effort!

And if you ask me, if I had to do it all over again, I would do it all in the same way.

Luca Ridolfo

How To Improve At The Piano
Without Being A Piano Genius

Super report of 46 Pages, full of  methods, pictures and example on how to improve at the piano spending less time and practice like the real concert pianists.

  • Be more confident in your piano skills by having a plan from the beginning
  • Progress faster than those beginners who play difficult pieces without reason
  • Make public performances less stressful thanks to the tips in the Module no. 2
  • Lose less time to learn a new piece
  • Feel free at the piano and be able to effortlessly play whatever passage you’ll encounter

 

Also if you start from zero, you will save tons of hours and money!

Links to more information about what Luca Ridolfo does as pianist or piano teacher: