Beverly Cashin Loves Transforming Piano Students

Beverly Cashin has been teaching piano for several decades. She joined Lessonface in 2017 and has been a student favorite ever since. She believes that students can make progress with a moderate, consistent amount of practice time, the only requirement is a willingness to spend some time at the piano. She is a firm believer that people can learn piano at any age and believes it’s a great way for adults to unwind at the end of the day. For these reasons and so many more, Beverly Cashin is this month’s teacher spotlight. We asked her some questions about how she got started with piano, what her musical influences are, and her favorite part about being a musician:

1. What was the first instrument you played?

Piano was the first instrument I played.  I remember as a toddler trying to play a neighbor’s piano, even though I had trouble reaching the keys.  Even at that age, I knew that my random playing didn’t sound right. 

2. Who are some of your musical influences?
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is in my opinion the most beautiful piano piece ever written, because of its endless possibilities for sub-melodies and mood interpretation.  Two other favorites in the piano world are Chick Corea’s Sometime Ago and the piano solo on Red Clay by the group Rare Silk.  Those 2 pieces have a lot of notes, but they all make sense and they take you on a journey.  Benjamin Frith’s classical piano playing is so elegant, because of his touch.  He makes everything sound beautiful.  I also really like listening to classic rock, because the clean embellishments give good ideas for improvising.  I find that listening to other instruments can affect our piano playing.  Duane Allman’s guitar solos show that calm unhurried melodies are pleasing to the ears.  I love the melodic singing of Joni Mitchell and the versatility of Robert Plant’s voice.  Nick Mason’s drumming for Pink Floyd adds such smooth elegance to the songs.   

3.  What do you like most about teaching? How long have you been teaching piano online?

What I love most about teaching is seeing someone who didn’t know anything about piano turn into someone who can play and love music.  The transformation step by step is very satisfying for me.  I started teaching online in 2017 when I moved cross-country and wanted to keep some of the students.  So when Covid hit I was already accustomed to that way of teaching.  

4. Any advice for someone trying to learn Piano online?

I think the best advice I can give someone learning online is to have a good camera and speakers, and a good connection.  When the devices are not so good, it makes it harder.  

5. What is your favorite medium? Live, audio or video? Why?

As far as a favorite medium for listening and playing, I don’t really have one.  They all have their advantages, depending on the situation.  Playing and listening live is wonderful because you can feel the energy and it’s exciting.  Still, many venues now turn up the speakers so loud that it is uncomfortable.  In that case, watching via Zoom is better because you can control the volume yourself.  And you don’t have to pay for parking. :)  Simple audio is excellent for the times when you want to listen to music while doing other work or cleaning the house.  I love watching videos of songs and concerts because you can watch them over and over and pick up more subtleties each time you watch. 

6. Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician. 

My favorite part about being a musician is the fact that I spend much of my time involved in an activity that is a universal source of joy.  It’s a pure and innocent activity in that way.  If I had to say the least favorite thing, it would be the lack of built-in benefits and 401k that would come with a “regular” job.  You have to take care of those things yourself when you work as a musician.  Still, when I had a “regular” job with those benefits, I also had a lot more stress in my life.  So the trade-off is fine for me.  I would rather have low-stress work that I love. The inconveniences that come with it can be handled. 

7. If you magically had the power to learn one musical instrument you don’t already play and be great at it, what would it be? 

I would love to be an accomplished acoustic guitar player.  I can play a tiny bit, but don’t feel I have the time for more practice.  I love the sound of acoustic guitar music, and I know that sitting outside and playing and singing are so enjoyable.  It's also easier to take it places if you want to entertain your friends.   The keyboard is much more involved to transport.

"Beverly quickly grasped where I was and tailored the lesson to fit. Nice attitude and solid knowledge. Right off was able to help on a weak fingering pattern I could not get right. Great lesson." -Douglas, verified student

"Our first lesson was immediately fun, helpful, and inspiring to keep going! Much appreciate Beverly’s style, encouragement, and provision of practice materials." -Marcia, verified student

Beverly teaches 1:1 lessons in Jazz Piano, Pop Piano, New Age Piano, Rock Piano and more!

Pop Piano
New Age Piano
Jazz Piano
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