★ I have evaluated and chosen many piano teachers for myself and for my two sons, including two award winning performing jazz artists, and another highly regarded classical teacher with a PhD I can say without reservation that Illya is the best I have ever found.
Why? He is highly rigorous, passionate and devoted. I am amazed by the number of important exercises and ways of thinking he has introduced me to, which I have never heard of before. His broader experience in Russia, the U.K. and Australia seems to have given him a richer outlook and training basis than most. No one has ever got me into the “deeper levels “of feeling and thinking about my playing before.
I note that whilst he is teaching some advanced Conservatory students, he seems to be doing wonders as well with young students. I think he has a gift in attuning his instruction to each individual student and manages to create great enthusiasm, thus results, in all his students. I have progressed more in the past two years than in the previous 10 – that’s the real point.
John, long term amateur pianist and student
★ My daughter has been learning piano from Illya for over five years and she has passed the AMEB grade 5 with High Distinction. I am very impressed by Illya’s professionalism and teaching methodology. He is a remarkably effective motivator and a very experienced and patient teacher that he has an efficient way to help students to achieve their goals.
★ Illya is without a doubt the best and most committed music teacher I have ever come across. His method of piano playing seems to me to be the best you could learn and he teaches it with outstanding ability, clarity and knowledge. I have been attending weekly lessons with him for just over a year now and have seen amazing growth in my piano playing as well as my own outlook on life. I could not have asked for a better teacher!
★ Our twin boys have been studying piano with Illya since 2012. At the time the twins were six years old and we could not have been more fortunate. Illya is an amazing pianist and outstanding teacher. Our sons immediately formed a strong bond with Illya which has reflected in their motivation level and their fast progress through the AMEB grades.
The boys are now ten and preparing for the AMEB Piano grade 8 exams. They have passed all their previous grades with Honours which is a remarkable testament to Illya’s capability as a teacher.
Illya has an uncanny ability to motivate and sets high expectations from his students. At the same time, he makes learning fun so his students want to learn, practise and excel at playing the piano.
It has been an amazing experience to watch our sons developing into budding young pianists thanks to the dedication, motivation, encouragement, discipline and guidance of Illya.
Aslı & Ergin Irmak, parents
★ My sons have been learning the piano with Illya for about two years and improved tremendously. He has been training them well in the area of technique, sight-reading and expression of feelings. My older son, who is ten, has been awarded with High Distinction for his latest AMEB exam and accepted into Rising Star program at Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Shu Yin, mother
★ Illya is a very talented pianist and an experienced teacher who does not believe in “I can’t do it”. I am a mature student and have been taking lessons from Illya for 3 years. I find his teaching techniques effective and his passion for music very inspiring. His constant encouragement made me go beyond my comfort zone.
★ Illya is an accomplished pianist with a passion for teaching. Before I started studying with Illya at Australian Institute of Music in 2004 I loved music, hence struggled with my pieces. I believed I didn’t have the fingers for piano, or perhaps I was just not talented enough.
Illya showed me many finger exercises to overcome different problems.
My technique improved significantly. For example, the tempo of my scales went from 120 (metronome mark) up to around 208 per 4 notes within two semesters. I have found so much easier to play my pieces and I started enjoying music much more. I have observed a shift in my interpretation: when I don’t struggle with technique, it’s much easier to be expressive and play with imagination. And these brought me confidence.
After I graduated, I started teaching myself. I have been using the methods I have had learned from Illya, and I noticed the rapid improvement in my own students. I believe practising the pieces from beginning to the end for long hours won’t help. It’s how we practice that counts. Quality requires knowledge. Illya teaches knowledge.
I’m still studying with Illya. I still learn new things from him. He always introduces new ideas and exercises. His teaching style is both gentle and strict. His purpose is to elevate every piano player to their highest potential.
He is a teacher for life.
Jia Xu, student and a piano teacher herself
★My son Roger started learning with Illya two years ago. The progress that he made with Illya far exceeded any expectations I had when he was with other teachers. This would benefit from Illya’s firm and effective teaching manner. Playing and practising the piano for my son has become rather an activity he performs happily and voluntarily.
Illya is friendly and patient, and good at gauging his students’ level of knowledge and ability. Illya’s commitment to his students is evident. Illya sees each student as an individual and draws upon their strength to teach them in ways that work best for them.
I respect Illya for many of his qualities but most of all because he is able to connect with his students and tailor lessons according to their abilities. Illya is a very positive and encouraging teacher with a contagious passion for music.
Peter Chen, father
★ Illya has really helped me in working towards my expression and my technique.
★ We have had the pleasure of Illya teaching our daughter for two years. Illya’s teaching methodology enabled her, at the age of 14, to pass the AMEB AMUS examination in her first attempt. Illya has shown a great interest in our daughter’s progress; especially her technique improved tremendously in a short time.
★ My daughter Angela started learning with Illya last year. He is a very patient and experienced teacher. She got an A in her Grade 5 AMEB examination – a great achievement – considering she has never taken any piano examination before. Illya’s encouragement and guidance has really helped my daughter to gain such a successful result.
★ My 6-year-old son has studied with Illya for about eight months. Illya has an amazing patience to work with young children. The positive feedback and encouragement from Illya has helped my son to build a great confidence. The note cards and finger exercises Illya uses in lessons are great teaching tools in order to gain knowledge and ability to play the piano well. We really enjoy and appreciate amazing lessons that Illya provides for our son.
★ I have always wanted to learn to play the piano but didn’t have the opportunity when I was younger. Two and a half years ago, when I was 59, I was eager to start. After trying a few teachers I finally came across to Illya who has encouraged me to learn with showing so much patience and understanding. He seems so passionate about teaching. He never made me feel I was too old to learn. On the contrary, he always said ‘ you can do this ‘, and his guidance went a long way. Now I can play Mozart’s Sonata K 545, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and other great pieces. I am very grateful to learn from such an accomplished teacher. His vast experience, respect for students of all ages, gentle ways of empowering his student makes him The Best Piano Teacher in the area.