“5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational System” With Scott Lund

A necessary area for educational attention should be the development of critical thinking skills. Along with that goes ethics, morality, and honor. To forge a future, youth need to have a comprehensive understanding of history, and an appreciation of culture and values. Piano goes a long way toward connecting children with cultural heritage. As a […]

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A necessary area for educational attention should be the development of critical thinking skills. Along with that goes ethics, morality, and honor. To forge a future, youth need to have a comprehensive understanding of history, and an appreciation of culture and values. Piano goes a long way toward connecting children with cultural heritage.

As a part of my interview series about the things that should be done to improve the US educational system, I had the pleasure to interview Pianist Scott Lund.

For 20 years Scott Lund has been one of the most successful piano instructors in West Los Angeles. Lund has worked for numerous high-profile families, including famous Hollywood stars and top motion picture studio executives. He has amassed thousands of hours working one-on-one with children and also teaches adults and professional musicians.

Lund was a pioneer in advocating the piano as a means to jump-start genius in children. Notably, he taught 3rd grade public school as part of the well-known “Mozart Effect” — a scientific study by the MIND Research Institute that determined piano lessons caused a significant increase of spatial-temporal intelligence in children ages 7–8. An accomplished classical pianist who likes Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin, Lund also has developed exceptional and extraordinary improvisational skills. He is highly influenced by the piano style of Keith Jarrett and has taken lessons from a number of legendary jazz pianists, such as Bill Evans and Claire Fisher. Lund is a master of harmonic architecture and composition.

Utilizing the best that computer technology can offer, Lund replaced traditional boring piano lessons with his engaging “MindFingers” concept. He has had remarkable success in preparing students for their recitals, resulting in many confident and proud performances. In dozens of hours of videoed recitals, Lund has never had a student “freeze up” while playing in front of a large audience.

In addition to the musical aspect, Lund uses the piano to show how to focus and achieve goals, how to manage time, and how to link creativity with analytic thought. He has enjoyed developmental success with children challenged by ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, OCD, and various socialization skills, and naturally uses Socratic method to prompt students to reason answers for themselves.

Scott Lund is a highly traveled European scholar and recognized expert on the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci. Lund is very computer savvy and has considerable cinematographic skills which he uses to incorporate into music videos.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory “behind what brought you to this particular career path?

Asan undergraduate at Michigan State University I was already teaching piano to my fellow students. I majored in Journalism and minored in Music, knowing musicians are only as good as they can play. A degree in Music does not necessarily make one an accomplished and demonstrative musician. Who you play with and who you learned from are how you are measured. I was privileged to have been taught by two leading architects of modern keyboard harmony — the renowned jazz pianists Bill Evans and Clare Fischer. These mentors gave me impressive contemporary improvisational skills that balanced with my study of classical piano.

In West Los Angeles I quickly become a successful piano instructor, where I built my reputation with numerous entertainment families. A number of my students have starred in major motion pictures, and one even received a Grammy musical award. Over the course of 20 years I spent thousands of hours working one-on-one with children, and I also taught adults and professional musicians.

Being a private music instructor gives me a good income and considerable independence. I have the stability of many clients rather than working for someone else. It also affords me the opportunity to spend my summers traveling in Europe, where I pursue the study of history and culture. Most of all, I enjoy teaching. My students are my favorite audience, and they are my favorite performers.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Being a musician AND a journalist presented me with many opportunities, including producing concerts. My most notable concert was “20 Years After,” which reunited many of the original acts on the exact 20th anniversary of Woodstock. Although there was not an endless wall of attendees, the concert turned out to be every bit as crazy as the original. I now appreciate the saying that if you remember Woodstock, you weren’t there.

Can you share a story about the funniest or most interesting mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I identified myself as Dr. Fingers in the first batch of fliers I ever made to attract students. It was a pretty creepy name and I still cringe when I think of it.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I recently performed at Beyond Baroque in Venice using an iPhone to provide the most beautiful acoustic piano sound you can imagine. Technology for the arts has virtually unlimited possibilities. I can now offer so much more to children in terms of making music fun and exciting. I’m about to launch a series of public concerts in parks that will enable children at all skill levels to gain experience and pride playing in ensemble groups. We will be adding a bit of theater and are introducing a very interesting character called Kactus Kiddywink that I think will add some whimsical fascination. Child participation is free for these musical events and anyone who would like to support us can do so through the nonprofit Fundatus (fundatus.info@gmail.com).

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are authority in the education field?

Authority is based on perception, and for a while I was the most active and visible piano teacher in West Los Angeles. Ninety percent of piano instructors are strictly Classical, but I offer popular keyboard styles also. Uniting Classical music with contemporary composition and improvisation is my strength. Being able to spontaneously play in blues, jazz, rock, and pop styles, gives me more versatility than most other instructors.

In addition to the musical aspect, the study of piano shows how to focus and achieve goals, how to manage time, and how to link creativity with analytic thought. I was a pioneer in advocating piano as a tool to develop genius in children, becoming a special instructor for the famous Mozart Effect scientific study that established spatial-temporal intelligence gain for 3rd graders who studied piano.

Focusing on brain development is something that makes me uniquely appreciated by parents, and I’m not just teaching their children how to read notes. I have enjoyed considerable developmental success with children challenged by ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, OCD, and various socialization skills.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. From your point of view, how would you rate the results of the US education system?

Historians will have a lot to say on this matter. The education system is based on an obsolete model. In an age where information is instantly free, it is no longer necessary to memorize things. Artificial intelligence makes it unnecessary to learn foreign languages, and robots are fast becoming viable “life partners.” Chinese business visionary Jack Ma advocates that the emphasis should be on teaching children everything that a computer cannot do.

This schism is especially clear in piano, where hundreds of thousands of children spend endless hours playing Classical music toward an unspecific fantasy objective. In the entire world there are only a couple hundred Classical pianists that make a decent living playing recitals and concerts, and that number has not changed in decades. Clearly, creative music is the direction that most musicians should take, and there are a lot of jobs and opportunities across the broad spectrum of the music business. Besides, computers can replicate music better than humans. What’s the point in endlessly replaying the same song? Today’s pianist can easily capture and produce their performances digitally, allowing them to move on to other projects.

Can you identify 5 areas of the US education system that are going really great?


Can you identify the 5 key areas of the US education system that should be prioritized for improvement? Can you explain why those are so critical?

The vast majority of school children at all levels show a shocking acceptance of cheating in order to get a desired grade. One thing my piano students are never able to do is cheat. They have to demonstrate their musical advancement, and their performance is the test. This sets piano apart from book learning. I find it very amusing to have students that are constantly trying to “beat the system” and pass their songs without learning them. They don’t get the fact that they are engaged in the accumulation of knowledge, and piano skill is founded on what came before. I believe that a lot of children learn how to take tests, but little else in the studying process. The great thing about piano is that when it is done right, it can teach you how to learn.

A necessary area for educational attention should be the development of critical thinking skills. Along with that goes ethics, morality, and honor. To forge a future, youth need to have a comprehensive understanding of history, and an appreciation of culture and values. Piano goes a long way toward connecting children with cultural heritage.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging young people in STEM? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

I’m a STEAMer!

Can you articulate to our readers why it’s so important to engage girls and women in STEM subjects?

I’m a STEAMer!

As an education professional, where do you stand in the debate whether there should be a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) or on STEAM (STEM plus the arts like humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media)? Can you explain why you feel the way you do?

As I’ve said before, “I’m a STEAMer,” and it is obvious that the Arts have a lot to contribute to brain development. Creativity is essential to great discoveries and solutions for our future. Einstein was a violinist, and the success of many European scientists have been attributed to their musical training. After all, music is essentially a mathematical language. In the case of piano, there is no other machine, including a computer, that interacts so thoroughly with the mind. It is the nature of engaging the mind with both equal hands and all ten fingers that makes piano unique.

If you had the power to influence or change the entire US educational infrastructure what five things would you implement to improve and reform our education system? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Most importantly, teachers should use Socratic method to ask questions that make students have to discern answers with critical thinking and inspired logic. Students should learn how to do mental math and save the hard stuff for a computer. Have field trips and camping to appreciate Nature and understand ecology. Increase spatial-temporal intelligence with activities such as chess and piano. Learn through the process of doing, such as projects to address problems like environmental pollution. Let children be children and don’t burden them with things beyond their control or need for understanding until a more mature age.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I always liked the advice in Alice in Wonderland: “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end. Then stop.” It exemplifies the act of playing a piano piece. Once you start it you are totally committed to staying focused and getting to the end. Having a sustained train of thought has become harder for recent generations. Parents who are worried their children have Attention

Deficit Syndrome should seek piano as the ready cure.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would like the opportunity to sit with Alibaba founder Jack Ma. He advocates that children should be taught to do everything that a computer cannot do. I couldn’t agree more, and it really boils down to the creative flame that makes humanity unique from computers.

In China there is a much different perspective on creativity than in the United States. In China the objective is more about identifying the best of something, and then using that as a model. This idea has been conveyed to me by many Chinese. Currently, I am exploring an initiative to expose Chinese musicians to creative aspects of music, especially contemporary and jazz improvisation.

Chinese musicians have risen to the top of Classical virtuosity through great discipline and dedication but have not yet emerged on the world scene through creative music forms exemplified by jazz. Jack Ma would be a wonderful person to brainstorm with to expand Chinese musical creativity. I myself am looking to do one-on-one piano bootcamps in China with select students who want to expand beyond the constraints of strictly Classical music.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Scott Lund Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?



Creative recordings of Scott Lund:

Scott Lund spontaneous piano solo on the theme Alice in Wonderland

Scott Lund’s piano rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Keith Jarrett

Giant Steps meets Chestnuts — a high conceptual landmark piano solo by Scott


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