My name is Thembi Harris (née Shears) and I love my job. For 12 years I have run a private piano studio in the Western suburbs of Brisbane, with students ranging from Age 4 – Adult. From 2017 onwards I have conducted lessons exclusively at Good News Lutheran School in Middle Park. I grew up in a household full of music and started piano lessons when I was 5 years old, later picking up the flute and guitar as well. I am passionate about music and education, and my primary goal is to pass on my love of music to my students; developing their skills as well rounded musicians as well as a love of playing piano and music in general.
I began teaching in 2006, and have built up a dynamic, fun and friendly studio that I am extremely proud of. If lessons aren’t enjoyable, why would you want to come? I understand that each student has their own learning style, their own interests, and their own strengths and weaknesses, so I tailor lessons to their individual needs. Learning any instrument is hard work, but it is also fun and exciting, challenging and satisfying, enjoyable and therapeutic. I don’t believe that learning an instrument should be an isolated experience, and I have worked consciously to create a community environment at the studio. My students all know each other through regular informal ‘piano parties’, student concerts, workshops and holiday camps. Creating music with others is so enjoyable, and often a huge motivator. We have whole studio challenges, and awards that are presented at both the mid-year and end of year concerts. My older students also have the opportunity to do work experience with me, learning about teaching younger students and helping to run lessons and workshops.
I graduated from QUT in 2010 with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Education (Primary), and a minor in Inclusive Education. I undertake professional development whenever possible, attending workshops and conferences, and having recently worked with Christopher Norton (UK), Elissa Milne (Australia), and Randall Faber (US).
I am currently working with Hal Leonard Australia as a brand ambassador for the Faber Piano Adventures series, and undertook private training with the author, Randall Faber (U.S.), at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in July 2013. I work with Hal Leonard Australia, presenting at pedagogy conferences and workshops around the country. I most recently presented 5 sessions at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in Melbourne (July 2015) and 1 session at the Music Teachers’ Association of Queensland Conference in Brisbane (July 2016).
I am a featured writer for The Piano Teacher magazine in Australia, having recently written articles on Teaching Students with ADHD, Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Running a Piano Camp, and The Music of Eugenie Rocherolle.