Eli Wallace’s teaching approach stems from two important factors. First, that students learn the necessary skills, theory, and technique to play piano proficiently. Second, that students learn to have fun and enjoy making music on their instrument. His own musical education was predicated on learning by ear first, and the rest followed. He takes this approach into his own pedagogical practices, immediately picking up on student’s strengths and cultivating those, while also trying to cover the basics of reading music and general pianistic skills that are commonly covered in piano lessons and jazz improvisation. Within this approach, music is taught as a language that needs to be learned, not simply buttons of a machine that need to be pressed. In this way, students gain a deeper understanding and relationship with improvisation. And, they develop technique that minimizes effort, synthesizing the movements of the body, hand, and fingers with the piano. Above all, making music is a joy and a privilege that everyone is capable of doing; he wishes to bring this out and develop this love of music in all his students.
Eli Wallace is a pianist, improviser, composer, and curator who calls Brooklyn, NY his home. A recent transplant from Oakland, CA, he has quickly become involved in the New York improvised and creative music scene leading his concept project Slideshow Junky, participating in the collective trio Cataclysmic Commentary, performing solo, and working with musicians with a similar improvisational predilection such as Daniel Carter, Billy Mintz, Ches Smith, Trevor Dunn, Chris Pitsiokos, Andrew Smiley, Sandy Ewen and many others. He continues to be a huge contributor to Dialectical Imagination, the piano/drum duo led by musical mastermind Rob Pumpelly. His work as a pianist displays his vast milieu of experiences from classical, jazz, and free improvisation studies, while incorporating contemporary piano performance practice to create a sound that is uniquely his own. As a composer, he’s written pieces for solo piano, chamber groups, jazz ensembles, vocal jazz ensembles, jazz big band, full studio orchestra, and received commissions from Contra Costa College JazzaNova, Lawrence University, and dancer Randee Paufve. His musical education was granted by Lawrence University, Appleton WI, and New England Conservatory, Boston, MA, where he completed a Bachelor’s of Music, and a Master’s of Music, respectively.