"I introduce expression right away. I believe that if the teacher waits for the student to learn the notes and the rhythm first, and then adds the expression—it will be too late"
Pianist Tania Tachkova began studying piano when she was only four and a half. "I wondered why my parents let me pick the piano at the age of 4. I loved the variety of low and high sounds and thought the grand piano looked really cool. I was curious about learning new things and wanted my parents to sign me up for all sorts of classes from music to gymnastics. I guess I had the most fun playing the piano and stuck with it." Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Tania moved to the New York area for her graduate studies. "I always wanted to live in New York, it is a dream come true."
As a pianist who started as a young child herself, Tania is open to teaching students four and older. She focuses on a comprehensive approach, introducing theory, technique, and fun pieces from the very beginning. "I also introduce expression right away. I believe that if the teacher waits for the student to learn the notes and the rhythm first, and then adds the expression—it will be too late. I try to build good practice habits in all of my students. They need to know that they have to practice every day, even if it is just 5-10 minutes for the youngest ones."
Tania also enjoys teaching adults. "usually they are really excited and eager to learn how to play. But adults can also be hard on themselves and get upset easily if something doesn't come right away." As someone who recently started learning her fourth language as an adult, Tania "knows how it feels to be an adult beginner." This helps her relate to her adult students and work with them through difficulties. "With adults, even though I am there to suggest repertoire, I give them a lot of freedom to choose which pieces they would like to learn."
As a performer, Tania most enjoys being a collaborative pianist, whether playing chamber music or a concerto with an orchestra. "It's too lonely on the stage when you give solo recitals. I love to discuss and exchange musical ideas with my colleagues." Her favorite composers are numerous and include Ligeti, Mozart, Schnittke, Crumb, Brahms and Beethoven. She also enjoys non-classical music including jazz and Sting. Tania's favorite hobbies include traveling and watching tennis. She also enjoys reading books in the three languages she is fluent in—English, Russian, and Bulgarian. "But I hope that soon enough I will be able to read in German too!"