Man gives students the keys to an understanding of music
- BY SAMANTHA TEST
Special to The Post and Courier
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Jordan Alexander will grab your attention without even saying a word. He'll put you in awe with a flick of his wrist and the touch of his fingers.
And then when he does speak, he'll tell you how to do it, too. The 23-year-old pianist and Rock Hill native is a private piano instructor and music theory tutor for the Center for Student Learning at the College of Charleston.
"I meet with students on an individual basis and give them one-on-one time to focus on what exactly they are having trouble with," Alexander said.
Alexander will graduate from College of Charleston in May with a fine arts degree in music with a concentration in music composition and piano.
Soon, the downtown resident will be opening his own studio in the Charleston area.
"I have a decent knack for explaining things, and a real penchant for analogies," he said. "I'd have to say my greatest asset is just a sense of humor. If you can get someone laughing, their mind relaxes and information tends to upload a little easier."
It is his passion for the piano and for music, though, that truly drives him and makes him good at what he does. His lifelong pursuit of music has led him to play the piano, viola and guitar.
The diversity of his experience is not limited to those instruments.
While his favorite style is classical and Chopin and Rachmaninoff his favorite composers, he also has a strong background in jazz studies, songwriting and composing.
He credits his own teachers — Julia Harlow, Irina Pevzner and Trevor Weston — with making him the musician he is and for inspiring him to share his talent with others.
"I absolutely love that each person has a completely different wiring," Alexander said. "Every person I meet and teach has a different key to their understanding of music. I have to approach each person and topic in a way entirely unique to that individual's current understanding and style of learning."
No matter how you learn, though, Alexander said the most important aspect of playing music is making you better at expressing yourself.
"People should learn to express themselves, to create," he said. "This, for me, is the most important. The piano just happens to be an amazing vehicle for expressive content.
"Follow your passion. Follow your heart. It's the most difficult thing to do in this world but intrinsic motivation has to be one of the most purely satisfying forces that can drive your life," he said. "I connect people with what it is they love."