Rob Kovacs is a Cleveland-born pianist and composer. He is a current member of the FiveOne Experimental Orchestra and a regular performer with the Arts and Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. He is the first person to perform the solo version of Steve Reich’s Piano Phase by simultaneously playing both piano parts on two pianos. He has performed and recorded with several other Cleveland and NYC artists including Parson James, Grace Love, Sandra Bernhard, Margot Bingham, Return of Simple, Herzog, Expecting Rain, and Leonard DiCosimo.
He has written music for American Greetings’ e-cards and several award-winning short films including PheMIMEnon (2012), Game On (2014), and Einsam (2016). Kovacs performed regularly at Cleveland’s Howl at the Moon as well as other dueling piano bars from New York City to Wisconsin. He was recognized as the 2008 Best Pianist/Keyboardist by the Cleveland Free Times (n.k.a. The Scene). Kovacs also teaches at the Aurora School of Music, Laurel School and from his home studio.
Hi! I love performing and composing, and I have a strong passion for teaching other musicians to do the same. From living in New York City and Cleveland, I've done all kinds of music jobs such as:
- Contemporary Classical music
- Dueling Pianos
- Hospital Music
- Rock band keyboardist
- Lounge pianist
- Accompanist for musical theater auditions
- Accompanist for solo singers
- Music Director - Church
- Music Director - Musicals
- Musical pit musician
- Choir accompanist
- High School staff pianist
- Short Films
- Arranging songs for musicals
- Songwriting for bands
My Teaching Style
During our first lesson, my goal is to understand a bit about you - Why are you taking lessons? What do you want to improve on? Do you have specific goals you want to achieve with your music? What are you struggling with? Etc. From there, we will focus the direction of the lessons towards your specific goals.
- Fundamentals: Scales and chords are the basis of all music and piano playing. Having a firm understanding and ability to execute scales and chords/arpeggios with ease will allow you to play anything. If you aren't totally solid here, I will love to help you learn these fundamentals through simple drills based on your current level.
- Practicing: Practicing makes...permanent. How you practice determines what you learn. Before I moved to NYC, I had been reading and researching more about the brain and understanding how it learns. I had to revamp my way of practicing to get myself to the next level. I will teach you not only what to practice but HOW to practice, so that you will be able to both memorize and execute accurately the piece you are trying to play.
- Sight-Reading: I was a horrible sight-reader for most of my life. I spent most of my time memorizing everything and playing by ear. Even after graduating from a music conservatory, I still had no confidence in sight-reading. Fast forward to today; I can sit in an audition room and confidently sight-read anything a singer brings to me. Learning to sight-read is just like learning to read language or books. You need to do it a little bit each day but with a few guidelines.
- Theory: Theory is simply understanding how music works. Knowing this helps you to have a deeper connection with the music your playing or composing. To many people, theory seems so complex, but it's really simple when it's broken down. I love teaching theory and would be happy to help you in this area.
- Improvisation: This is a skill every pianist should have. Not only does it allow you to handle scary moments when something goes wrong, but improvising is so fun! The piano is a playground. Learning to improvise will help you to find again or increase your joy or playing.
- Technique: How we touch the keyboard greatly affects our ability to play it. Ideally, we want to play with as little tension as possible. I will help you to eliminate tension, find fingerings to promote relaxation and strengthen the connection between your brain and your fingertips.
And there are more areas to cover as well! Rythm, interpretation, phrasing, ornaments, contemporary techniques, ear training, hand independence (a personal favorite!). I'd be happy to work with you on whatever area you're struggling with.
Thanks for reading all this and I hope to talk soon!