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Forte Featured Teacher: Nancy Gosset

Nancy Gosset

Katie Hone Wiltgen, Chief Education Officer

May 1, 2024

We are excited to introduce you to this week’s Forte Featured Teacher, Nancy Gosset.

About Nancy

Piano teacher Nancy Gosset understands that each students’ musical journey is unique. She works with her students to tailor a path that reflects their musical passion, making music learning accessible and understandable through tips on learning to read notes and rhythms, a playful ear training method, and a down-to-earth approach. 

An early adopter of technology for music education, Nancy is truly a pro when it comes to online piano teaching. She loves working with beginners and uses an engaging and supportive approach, encouraging students progress without unnecessary pressure.

Nancy is a musical motivator, pedagogy specialist, tennis enthusiast, artist, and proud mom of two accomplished boys (and a clever, affectionate dog). Read on to learn more!

Professional Training and Credentials:

  • Bachelor of Music - York University (Honours Degree in Fine Arts)

  • Bachelor of Education (Music and Visual Arts) - Queen's University, Artist in Community Education degree program (ACE)

  • Additional coursework includes: The Royal Conservatory of Music ongoing training and certification, MYC (Music for Young Children), Smart Start course completion

Nancy Gosset

Nancy’s Teaching Style and Approach

How would you describe your teaching style?

Patient, creative, fun, no pressure. I want to put students at ease to ensure they are comfortable asking questions. My goal is to show students how un-intimidating it can be to learn the piano! 

My approach begins with the basics like posture, hand-positioning, and listening. Whether a student wants to learn pop songs, classical, or composition, a general understanding of technique and developing their ear are both important. It’s also a lot of fun to work on ear training with the right approach. I introduce playing with musicality (e,g, dynamics, expression) very early on.

What's the best part of music lessons with you?

Lessons are engaging, never boring. They are step-by-step and easy to understand. I help students find their inner musical voice. We all have one!

How do you encourage and motivate your students to progress?

With younger students, I use musical games as incentives and work with parents to find effective "currencies" for their child. With adults, I use positive feedback and encouragement, celebrating the wins, both small and large. I also use lots of digital resources which keep lessons interesting. 

I truly believe that learning the piano online can be equally as effective and motivating as learning in person. But you need great sound. Forte delivers that.

It’s a delicate balance to give needed constructive criticism without the student feeling overwhelmed or losing confidence in their progress. I believe I navigate that process well.

What would your students tell us about you as a teacher?

Students have posted reviews complimenting my teaching style as patient. They say that I am an intelligent communicator with clear instructions, musical, and motivating!

Nancy Gosset

Nancy’s Unique Specializations

If you were to select one or two things that you specialize in as a music teacher, what would it/they be?

Teaching adults who are returning to musical study to develop their musicianship is my current specialization. And a unique skill is being an early adopter to teaching online with confidence and how that happened. I was Head of Arts in a high school when the pandemic hit. I suddenly had around 75 different students a day to keep motivated online. It was truly transformational and led to the development, growth, and success of my online music business. With extensive training in teaching all ages and abilities, ongoing professional development is a priority for me. I see this as paramount to providing my students with the most effective instruction possible.

What genre(s) of music do you specialize in or most enjoy teaching?

I enjoy teaching a really wide range of music, from pop, rock, jazz, blues, electronic, and meditative/ambient, to classical and music history/theory. My main specializations are classical and pop ballads.

Other than your primary instrument(s), are there additional disciplines or skills that you particularly enjoy teaching?

If someone is looking to have a teacher walk them through step-by-step how to improvise or compose, I can help! It takes some dedication and patience from the student, but it's not as difficult as it may seem. My background in composition is a definite asset. Intro to improvisation should be fairly effortless and relaxed. I also teach beginning and intermediate theory. I have done the occasional music commissions for dancers and theater productions and have written theme music for TV and visual artists. I like to think that my interdisciplinary experiences make me an interesting and unique teacher!

Student Success and Feedback

Can you share a success story of a student you've taught?

I can think of quite a few! One example is a wonderful young student who was almost paralyzed with fear about taking a music exam last year. He froze at the piano a few weeks prior to his exam. We worked through those fears together using a desensitizing strategy as part of the process. He ended up with first class honors with distinction. He and his mom were super proud of his accomplishment and working through the challenge! I was thrilled to see him shine and grow in confidence!

What feedback do you often receive from your students (or your students' parents) about their lesson experience with you?

I am told that the experience is a very positive one, that students typically develop a deeper love of learning piano, and that students notice they are playing with more expression. Adult learners tell me they feel more self-assured and understand the piano much better after only a handful of lessons.

Reviews and Feedback from Students and Peers:

  • My online lessons with Nancy are absolutely phenomenal! I wouldn't ask for any other piano teacher. She is caring, smart, and always gives me amazing feedback. The chat feature that Forte provides has also been a game-changer for my online lessons with Nancy. I am able to access it so easily after class and refer to it during my practice time at home. Thank you so much, Nancy, for teaching me. You have been outstanding. -Kiana K.

  • I’ve been taking lessons for several months now and am really pleased with the progress I’m making. Creative teaching focusing in on weak spots has accelerated my learning. Nancy offers encouragement and motivation, and the lessons are also fun! -Stacey O.

  • Nancy is a wonderful educator and artist with extensive experience and a great personality. She loves teaching and makes the lessons fun and engaging. I feel she is invested in my learning journey; she personalizes the lessons according to my progress, brings new and interesting exercises, and adapts to my musical interests and learning style. I am always comfortable asking questions, and she explains concepts clearly, with a methodical approach. As an online adult learner, I feel fortunate to have found someone that inspires and motivates me so much. I fully recommend her! - S. Johnston

  • Nancy has been a teacher colleague for many years, and I’ve seen first hand her dedication and commitment to her students. She is a gifted musician and accomplished artist. I highly recommend her as an experienced piano teacher. -Joan W.

Getting to Know You… Getting to Know All About You

Other than being a musician/music teacher, what is your forte?

I am also a painter and photographer. I experiment with mixed media over top of original photos. Currently I enjoy acrylic painting in a semi-abstract expressionist style.

Nancy Gosset
Nancy Gosset

What are your hobbies or interests outside of music?

I love to go on long walks in nature with the family dog, and I play a lot of tennis. I enjoy swimming when the weather is warm, kayaking, and canoeing. We have a beautiful region called Algonquin Park in Ontario, and that is a favourite outing.

If you could collaborate with any musician or composer (living or dead), who would you choose, and why?

The visionary Brian Eno (living) for my ambient compositions, and William Schade (deceased) for a classical project. William was my great great uncle who was a composer and principal flutist with the New York Philharmonic. I love composing for flute and piano, as they have such a lyrical expressive quality together, so creating something with him would have been an extraordinary experience.

What is the best musical advice anyone ever gave you?

Studying improv with Professor Casey Sokol had a profound impact on my musical style. He taught me to take spontaneous musical risks and try new ideas without the fear of failing. The late, musical electronic pioneer James Tenney (who studied with John Cage) encouraged me to explore innovative musical ideas. Renowned composer and Order of Canada recipient Alexina Louie inspired me early on to experiment with sound and imagination. All three had a lasting impact on my musicianship and gave me great advice!

As musicians, we are always learning and growing. What's something you're currently working on?

I have been creating new compositions and also pulling from music I wrote in the past. I recently released my first solo piano album on BandCamp entitled Stories. This idea for this album came to me during a road trip in Burgundy, France near the town of Dijon. During this trip I not only was memorized by history but visited the tiny rural town of my family's ancestors. Reflecting on how we all have our stories to tell is one of the drivers behind my teaching as well, helping students find their own voice and musical stories.

Nancy Gosset

If you could learn any other instrument, what would you choose, and why?

As part of my Education degree, I was required to learn the basics of almost every instrument. I also taught and conducted high school bands for many years, so I know the trumpet is not my Forte! I played viola but would have loved to learn the cello, as it is another stringed instrument which is more my jam.

What music are you listening to lately and really loving?

I listen to a lot of new artists on BandCamp, especially in the area of ambient music and romantic classical compositions with a hint of Chopin. I also have a progressive rock side. I truly love a wide selection of musical styles. Last May I attended the Victoriaville New Music Festival and listened to some really creative performances of electro-acoustic music.

What's your go-to karaoke song?

“Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, as there are only a couple of notes and they are easy to sing!

What is your afternoon snack of choice?

Lemon hummus and crackers