Piano Lessons Warner Robins GA | About Me

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About Me

HUGH HESSION, Piano Teacher, Warner Robins, GA- 25 Years Experience 

hugh hession-piano teacher warner robinsHi! My name is Hugh Hession, and I’ve been teaching piano for 25 years. I live in Warner Robins, Georgia and currently teach 60+ students at Music Masters – 1806 Russell Parkway, Suite 900, Warner Robins, GA. My students come from Warner Robins, Macon and other areas of Middle Georgia.

At 4 years old, I still remember sitting in front of my toy record player for (literally) hours upon end. It started with the typical Sesame Street and nursery rhymes (Blues Clues and Barney were not even an idea yet!), but then I discovered my older sisters record collection, which back then consisted of The Partridge Family (David Cassidy), Donny Osmond and other huge pop acts of the day, including Elton John and The Beatles.

Not long after (1972), my aunt gave me one of the best Christmas presents a young soon-to-be musician could want: Diana Ross Presents: The Jackson 5I was instantly captured by the infectious grooves and of course, the voice of a young, 10 year old wonderkid by the name of Michael Jackson. After a few weeks, I learned the words to every song on the album! The day one of my friends accidentally stepped on it was a crushing blow! Nevertheless, my aunt came through for me with not only another Jackson 5 record, but several other albums as well. I was hooked! When my sister became disinterested in piano, there was still the old, antique upright in the family room that was calling my name! It was obvious to my parents by this time, that music was a very big part of who I was. They soon signed me up to piano lessons.

I know, you think playing the piano came easy for me, right? Nope! Let’s face it. Some people are just born with it…that innate talent that enables some to just instantly pick up an instrument and start playing it. Others, have to work at it. That was me! In fact, my parents had to constantly get onto me about practicing. Looking back on it now, I’m very fortunate they didn’t let up. Those early years were crucial in establishing a foundation and also, the ability to read music! I gained experience in performance, playing in many recitals throughout my childhood. As a result, something started to happen. I was actually getting good!

My love for music never waned. I started to train my ear by learning songs directly off of records, by my favorite bands. I learned how chords worked together and also studied different genres including R&B and blues. By exposing myself to different styles of music I was able to expand my repertoire and became good at improvisation!  Now, I was at the point where I could open up a book and read music when I needed to, or I could just ask what the chord progression was for a song, and then play along. That’s when it started getting fun!

“My parents had to constantly get onto me about practicing. Looking back on it now, I’m very fortunate they didn’t let up.”

hugh-recital-17-findlayAt 14, I got together with a group of friends and we formed our first band. I was the only guy who could sing so it pretty much guaranteed my spot. Being a keyboardist that could sing was definitely a big plus and helped me land many gigs through the years! By 16 (1984) I was playing school dances. proms and private parties. It was a great confidence booster and performing was something I truly loved.

The 80’s was the decade of the synthesizer. Those were great times! That same year, I took a renewed interest in piano lessons, but this time the focus was on classical music. My piano teacher at the time was a tremendous concert pianist and taught me the difference between merely playing a flurry of notes versus truly conveying expression to the listener. It’s that musical interpretation through the use of dynamics, rhythm and technique that separates a good piano player from a great one. I entered into a variety of competitions on both a local and state level and continually placed at the top of my level. Those few years of classical study truly increased my skill level and to this day, I am glad I did it!

After I graduated high school, I played in a variety of pop and rock acts and toured throughout the Midwest (I’m originally from Ohio), sharing the stage with a few well known (and legendary) acts. I was doing studio work, composing songs and also selling pianos on the side! At 21 I was attending college and majoring in secondary education (ultimately I changed to marketing and management). My advisor and professors would mention that I had a knack for teaching and as a result, I would often be allowed to teach in the classroom on what were supposed to be my “observation” days! Since teaching was something I seemed good at, I decided to take what I had learned from piano and teach it to others. It wasn’t long until I built up a significant base of students and continued to teach for the next 25 years, even after relocating to Georgia.

The most rewarding thing for me as a piano teacher is seeing students taking the skills they’ve learned and blossom into talented players! Many of my students have been with me for 4 to 5 years. Some of them started out with me as young as 5. To witness their growth through the last few years has been awesome!

All my best!

Piano P13

 

HUGH HESSION : Highlights

  • Performed for President Obama in 2008 during his presidential campaign
  • Top 10 finalist, CCM International Songwriting Competition, 2005
  • Semi-Finalist, UK Songwriting Competition, 2008
  • Founder, lead vocalist/keyboardist for the regional band Broadcast 90 The Ultimate 90’s Rock Tribute
  • Composed, arranged and produced Skyler Bear project for Navicent Health, Hospice Central GA
  • Composed theme song for The Pastor’s Heart, on CTN (Christian Television Network), WGNM Macon, GA
  • Concert promoter, artist manager, Hession Entertainment Group, LLC
  • Voting member of the The Recording Academy, The Grammy’s
  • Professional Member of NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals)
  • BMI affiliated writer

 

What others are saying about Hugh

  • From the beginning lessons, we noted and observed Mr. Hession’s teaching style of how our son’s was receptive to his instructions – to us, a good rapport from instructor to student is very important. We are extremely impressed and satisfied.
    CC T, Warner Robins, GA
  • In my career thus far, I have worked with big names like The Outlaws, Wet Willie, James Brown, Trisha Yearwood, Danny Seraphine, Razzy Bailey and more. Hugh has the kind of can do attitude that one needs to be at the top of the music business. This, along with his fantastic piano and vocal skills and amazing songwriting and arranging ability makes him a must if you want to do something truly professional
    Joey Stuckey, Shadow Sound Studios Macon
  • We attended Hugh Hession's piano recital this past weekend, our second recital overall, and were treated to a very nice event. Students of different skill levels performed admirably with a few standouts including some who played their pieces by heart. Subsequent to the performance we were treated to some nice snacks and refreshments including fresh, whole strawberries and the likes. The birthday rendition by Hugh for one of the audience members who had a birthday that day was special. Thanks for the hard work, Hugh.
    Tom T
  • I have had the honor of knowing and working with Hugh Hession for some time. I have found Hugh to be a great asset, both personally and professionally, and one who embodies traits that are hard to find in today’s world. Hugh is honest, forthright, punctual, professional and always thinking. Thank you Hugh for being a friend and colleague.
    James LeFavour, Chairman, Georgia Music Industry Association, Atlanta, GA
  • If you are looking to take your talents to the next level, Hugh knows what it takes and focuses like a laser beam on making it happen! I recommend him and his work with no reservations.
    Chris Lyon, Advisor, GMIA, Sound Engineer, Athsfest Music Festival

Q&A: Hugh Hession

Q: Describe your teaching style and most common methods?

I teach piano in a variety of ways from the common "formal" style of "series" lesson, notespeller and theory books to actually learning chords, scales and their relationships, along with improvisation and ear training. One style incorporates reading notes and the other, being able to play by merely looking at a chord chart.

Every student is different and learn at their own pace. Although I believe in challenging my students, I never give them more than they can handle! Additionally, I am personable and often add humor to my teaching. In addition to learning, lessons should also be fun!

I incorporate a variety of styles into my teaching, including classical, pop, jazz, gospel and blues. Kids love the blues!

Q: What makes the difference in teaching piano?

I've learned that the most effective music teachers know how to relate to their students. A piano instructor can have all the skill in the world, but if they are boring and can't effectively convey what they are teaching in a way that students can connect to, it won't work.

I'm big on rhythm and timing from the get go. Getting students to understand the importance of this and apply it early on gives them an immense edge. I don't believe in moving on to the next song (if the student isn't ready) just for the sake of getting through a book. It reinforces bad habits and furthermore, the student isn't learning! Encourage but set expectations!

"Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know." - Jim Rohn

Q: What advice do you have when looking for a piano teacher?

The most common question that people ask an instructor is how long they've been teaching. Don't get me wrong, experience is definitely important, however it should never be the sole reason you go with a particular teacher. There are plenty of teachers out there with experience, but also burned out or have no charisma. Then there are those who show but don't teach! (Shows you "what" to do but never explains the how or why!).

Always look for a teacher with a good personality and enjoys what they are doing. Are they passionate? You can tell alot about a teacher by talking to them first. Also, do inquire about teaching style and curriculum, length of lesson, payment (per lesson, one month at a time, etc), and cancellation/make-up policy.

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