Ten Minutes with Kate Hill

Kate Hill
When was your first piano lesson? 

My first piano lesson was when I was about 10 years old. I grew up in a large Catholic family and we all took music lessons.

Do you have any favourite memories of your teachers?

My first teacher was an elderly Catholic nun at a convent in Glen Iris, Victoria. I remember my little beginner book and how much I loved the illustrations and stories behind the music. After that, I had three Russian teachers- all very inspiring and encouraging. I also had a great teacher in my 20s who was poor growing up . The family didn’t have enough money to buy a piano so he drew a keyboard on his table to practise . 

Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to piano teaching as a profession. 

Treble Clef

I was exposed to a lot of classical music as a child and studied piano, violin and cello at different stages. I was actually studying to be a social worker but decided to pursue music, completing my music teaching degree at Monash University. I taught piano as a side job in my 20’s and enjoyed being my own boss.

How many students do you generally teach a week and what ages/ranges?

I have about 20 home students with an age range from 5 to 72! Many are beginner level and my highest is VCE standard.

What are your go-to winners for repertoire for beginners?

I particularly like the Piano Adventures series, Leila Fletcher and Alfred Young beginner books. I also write out a lot of easy familiar popular tunes which I teach without any written music. ‘The Piano for Leisure’ books and ‘Getting to the grades’ series are also very popular.

Piano Adventures
Piano Adventures
Leila Fletcher
Leila Fletcher
Alfred Young
Alfred Young
Piano for Leisure
Piano for Leisure
Getting to...series
Getting to…
Are there any pieces that are your current favourites or new things you’ve found? 

The ‘After Hours Jazz’ books by Pamela Wedgewood are beautiful as are any of the Phillip Keveren arrangements for piano (The Beatles, Coldplay, etc.) The piano works of Einaudi are also very lovely.

After Hours Jazz
After Hours Jazz
Phillip Keveren The Beatles
Phillip Keveren
Ludovico Einaudi
Ludovico Einaudi
What music do you listen to in your down time? 

It really depends on my mood. I enjoy many genres of music. I love ABC Classic FM for the greats, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Chopin. My favourite piece is the Aquarium from the Carnival of the Animals. I also really love 1980’s synth pop bands like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. My favourite band of all time would definitely be The Beatles.

Do you do any composing/ improvising/ performing?

I used to compose- mainly folk style music. I wish I was more confident with my improvising skills (or lack of). I don’t perform much any more as I am too busy with other commitments.

Last Question: At the end of the teaching day what is your quick dinner winner? 

Pesto pasta is my go to!

This quick and simple meal is always a winner after a long day of teaching. Just add a jar of fresh pesto sauce to one packet of cooked pasta and top with parmesan and fresh basil. Serve with a garden salad, fresh bread and a nice glass of red wine.

Pesto Pasta

My name is Kate Jordan-Hill. I teach piano in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. I teach all ages and levels however I particularly enjoy teaching beginners. I love seeing the joy a little tune can bring to a young student. I wrote a musical story book during lockdown called ‘A Musical Home for Miss Treble and Mr Bass.’ My son created the graphic illustrations for the story book. It helps to clarify the basic music symbols, notes, and rhythms for young children. I would love to study music therapy one day as I can see the benefits music can make. Piano teaching is a great and rewarding profession.

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