Alison Kirkpatrick is a highly experienced, well established piano teacher who has been working in Melbourne in recent years and before that in New York, USA. She is also a performer for solo keyboard, concerto playing, chamber music and as a collaborator with other performers.
Alison graduated with two degrees in Performing and Music Education from the University of Melbourne. She was awarded First Class Honours for Piano in her final year. Subsequently she studied at Manhattan School of Music in New York, graduating with a Masters degree. Additional areas of study during this time included piano accompanying, chamber music, lieder interpretation and Spanish keyboard music. Alison was privileged to study with recognized piano teachers such as Jacob Lateiner, Frances Hall-Ballard Josef Seiger and Josef Raieff. She was also fortunate to meet and play for Dorothy Taubman, an internationally famous pedagogue who exerted great influence on the teaching methodology of technique as well as other areas. Alison attended the Taubman Institute while in the USA.
Alison worked as an accompanist for well known instrumental and vocal teachers in New York in order to broaden her knowledge of repertoire and expand musicianship, thus complimenting her performing and teaching skills. While in New York she worked as a freelance teacher and freelance accompanist and performed at chamber music workshops and festivals. She has also performed concertos with orchestra both in the United States and Australia, including Brahms' Second Piano Concerto, Rachmaninoff's First Piano Concerto, and works by Schumann, Mozart and Beethoven to name just a few. She also performed the Solo harpsichord part in Bach's Sixth Brandenburg concerto.
Alison performed solo recitals at various venues, including the Library of Lincoln Centre and Brooklyn Academy of Music, frequently performing Australian repertoire by composers such as Raymond Hanson (sonata)and Ernest Hutcheson(President ofJuilliard School). Following on from this Alison constantly encourages her students to play and perform Australian piano works. She has sponsored Australian music sections in Eisteddfods and has supported her students in composing their own works for such sections. Students are encouraged to compose, even from the Beginners level of their piano studies.
Hailing from Western Victoria, she considers herself fortunate to have learnt from several excellent piano teachers who were encouraging and supportive in her formative years of study. Alison endeavours to be the same for her students. As a consequence, she believes it is essential for her to work with pre -schoolers from the age of three years old. Alison also works extensively with advanced students who intend pursuing music as a career, not just focusing on technique but exploring the finer points of interpretation at concert level, as well as the skills of performing. She believes in developing the potential of each student irregardless of their musical goals. Alison is qualified to teach at all age and difficulty levels.
Since returning to Melbourne, Alison continued performing and teaching. She is also an examiner and has conducted masterclasses for students as well as workshops for various teacher groups. These include the Victorian Music Teachers Association of which Alison acted as a director of the state council. In addition she is an adjudicator at eisteddfods and competitions not only including piano but also for vocal sections and various instruments, bands and orchestras. There are also frequent requests for consultations from students and teachers.
Alison's students have achieved oustanding results such as High Distinctions for AmusA and LMusA diplomas from the Australian Music Examinations Board as well as other grades. She has many students who have passed Diplomas and in any year at least one third of her students are preparing Diploma programmes.
Her students have gained Premiers Awards for VCE Solo music performance as well as chamber music in Group performance. Many of her students have won scholarships to private schools. Her students have won numerous prizes and special awards at eisteddfods and competitions at all age levels, including First Prizes for the Open Age sections at Ringwood, Manningham, Dandenong, South Eastern Arts Festival and Mordialloc Eisteddfods. Also First Prizes for 18, 16, 14 , 12, 10, 8 and 6 years and Under at Waverley and Boroondara Eisteddfods as well as the above. Her students have won the Preston Symphony Concerto Competition and Open Concerto at Dandenong Eisteddfod. They have also been prizewinners for the Music Society of Victoria and performed in their Prizewinners Concerts. There are also many other awards.
A special area of interest is working with talented children for which she has more than twenty years of teaching experience. Each year Alison teaches students who are playing Eighth grade or Diploma level by ten years of age. She is passionate about accelerated learning when appropriate.
Currently, Alison is interested in specializing in the performance of Eighteenth century repertoire and has recently purchased 2 harpsichords for teaching purposes of Baroque keyboard music. She also has plans to purchase a fortepiano.
Alison operates her busy studio in the south east of Melbourne. She can also be contacted for consultations in Ballarat.