Piano • Teacher Feature

January 2022

Chat with Our Teachers: Dr. Nattapol

In this teacher feature, we are delighted to share with you a little chat we had with the Director of Aureus Conservatory, Dr. Nattapol! Dr. Nattapol is an award-winning concert pianist who has formerly coached students in the Gifted Young Artists Programme in  the conservatory. He recently brought us a passionate performance of Schumann’s romantic piece Widmung, arranged by Liszt for the piano. Read on to find out more about Dr. Nattapol’s musical journey and his advice for all aspiring musicians learning the piano!

When and how did you pick up the piano?
I started learning the piano around 4-5 years old with a group class, and took up one-to-one lessons a little after.

Was there a reason why you chose the piano?
The choice of learning the piano is mainly a continuation from attending group keyboard lessons. Piano is of course also one of the most popular instruments to take up!

What do you enjoy the most about playing the piano?
I enjoy sharing my music with others through playing the piano. Also, when I’m “in the zone”, I feel like I can be transported to a place where no other medium can.

What are some of the challenges you face as a musician and how do you overcome them?
Feeling the nerves on stage is something I personally struggle with and one of the most common challenges musicians of all levels will share. However, I find that running through the pieces does make it better, or rather allows me to become more comfortable with the performance routine over time. I believe that as performers, as long as we understand that feeling nervous is something that can happen to the best of us, we can use it to our advantage as well.

What is your practice routine like?
Ideally, I would practice daily, with shorter practice sessions where I have maximum focus and clear practice goals.

Do you have any practice tips or advice for students?
If you are busy with school, try to get in some short daily practice sessions. Making practice a habit will be helpful in the long run. Also, try not to compare your progress with your peers. We are all unique; we have different musical characters and learning patterns. Most importantly, you should aim to be the best version of yourself.

What are some pieces you like to get your students to learn? Why?
Most of the published pieces out there are great, though some of them serve pedagogical purposes more than the others. Most of the time, I would make sure my students like the piece so that they will be motivated to practise. As a teacher, I try to select pieces that strike a balance between enjoyment in music making and providing the essential learning factor for overall progress.

Do you have a favourite composer or artist? Why do you look up to them or enjoy their works?
There are too many whom I adore! One of my greatest idols is Franz Liszt, the original rock star. He had really great and innovative musical output and a very illustrious and interesting career – he was a great performer and pedagogue. He is also an admirable figure with his general sense of selflessness and involvement in philanthropic work.

Do you have a favourite piece to play?
It is really hard to pinpoint one. As the saying goes “too much music, too little time”.

If you had the time and opportunity, is there another instrument you would like to pick up?
Yes! I always wanted to be able to play the violin. There is a lot of great music written for the instrument. I would also be able to enjoy being a part of an ensemble as well. Being a pianist is a path many find to be “lonelier”.

Was there a special reason for choosing to perform Widmung?
It is such a lovely theme from a song composed by Robert Schumann and dedicated to his wife Clara – he composed it during the year of their marriage. Also, the beautiful piano transcription was done by my personal music hero Franz Liszt!

You can watch Dr. Nattapol’s beautiful performance of Schumann’s Widmung (arrangement by Liszt) and many other performances by our talented teachers and students on Aureus Academy’s Youtube channel!

Thinking about learning the piano from inspiring musicians like Dr. Nattapol? Book a free trial now and experience our fun and engaging one-to-one lessons!

Xin Min

Xin Min is a content writer at Aureus Group with a passion for all things related to music and the arts. Being in touch with music from a young age, she has grown to enjoy a wide range of musical genres from classical to jazz and musical theatre, and hopes to share the endless charms of music through her writing. When she is not busy typing away in front of a screen, she can be found running her fingers across her piano keys.