What's Up Doc?



U of M
School of

Music Links






Teaching Philosophy

Teaching for the performing artist is the most personal means of passing on a tradition and cultural heritage to the younger generation. In my case, the historical line extends through my principal teachers in Jamaica, Rita Coore and Kaestner Robertson, to Dame Myra Hess and Tobias Matthay, and from William Masselos at the Juilliard School to Carl Friedberg, to Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

When a student walks into my studio for a piano lesson, he or she receives the sum of all these spheres of influence in every fact, technical instruction and aesthetic judgement that is delivered. Combine this with my Caribbean spontaneity and improvisatory style of living, and one will find that each student, regardless of background, level of achievement, or career goals, learns something that is specifically applicable to his or her needs.

I am particularly attracted to talented students who convey a genuine love for music in their playing. If I can help to develop that talent and inculcate the highest artistic standard without destroying their first love, I consider myself successful. In keeping with my ultimate desire to make classical music accessible to the masses, it is my goal in teaching to train pianists who communicate the love and childlike enthusiasm of true amateurs with the skill, expertise and polish of professionals.



Caribbean Music

Many scholars believe that the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, much like Western Europe, has a tradition of composition because the Catholic Church encouraged the writing of liturgical music. This line of scholarly thinking also holds that in the English-speaking Caribbean, the British valued musicians for their ability to perform and entertain rather than to write.

Shaw, a native of Jamaica, has a different idea. "I'm a product of this, and I know some of the struggles, things I've had to wrestle with," he says. In the English-speaking Caribbean, Shaw sees fractions in the community of musicians and scholars. Some embrace Western Europe music and disregard folk and indigenous music. Others believe the Western Europe tradition is completely irrelevant to the Caribbean. This, he believes, silences the creative spirit among musicians. "What you find is that musicians are sometime musicians. They might play for an evening somewhere, on the side. But they have day jobs, which have nothing to do with music. The high creative level doesn't have a chance to develop."




Student Comments

"Dr. Shaw is an exceptional teacher here at the University of Minnesota, a real gift to the School of Music. I feel lucky to have had a chance to study with him."

"He is one of the few professors who will walk down the hall and smile. Can you imagine how great it is, and refreshing, to have a lesson with this guy."

"I feel fortunate to be studying with an artist who is such a nice guy. Dr. Shaw helps me to play my best by insisting that I listen continually. I never know what he's going to say next and that keeps me very interested."

"Dr. Shaw is an effective teacher and is committed to helping his students achieve. I learned a lot in a short time. Paul Shaw is a very attentive (and intense) teacher; he seems genuinely concerned with his students' progress."

"I feel Paul Shaw cares very much about his students; his enthusiasm is obvious and contagious."

"Dr. Shaw's concern for his students and his willingness to go out of his way for us is admirable; it has impressed and encouraged me."

"Dr. Shaw gives a terrific amount of energy and time in lessons in an attempt to help me achieve a high level of artistic performance. His musical ideas are first rate and are above the physical boundaries of piano playing. I see Dr. Shaw as becoming a great teacher with his humor, positive attitude, fine musical abilities and boundless energy for the students."

"It's refreshing to be treated with respect by a professor for a change."


Recital Pictures




U of M School of
Music Links

University of Minnesota TC: Museums, Galleries, and Theaters

Minnesota School of Music

Concerts & Conferences

Faculty & Research

Ted Mann Concert Hall

Jazz at the University of Minnesota

Various Links

The Juilliard School

Steinway & Sons

Young Concert Artists, Inc.


Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Discover Jamaica
(buy my Cd's)

About Paul
Picture Gallery
What's Up Doc
Contact Paul