Aleksandr Polyakov

Aleksandr Polyakov, Educator

  • Teaching private Piano Studio – Undergraduate and Graduate piano majors
  • Teaching non-piano performance majors (Piano Concentrate)
  • Coaching chamber music groups
  • Teaching Conducting for non-conducting majors
  • Preparing orchestra for the performances of the Dance Department (“Limitless”, 2022-present)
  • Developing and teaching an elective course (Foundations of Instrumental Studies – 2020-present)
  • Developing and teaching a section of Virtual Performance Lab (Piano Seminar – 2020-21)
  • Sharing responsibilities of an artist-in-residence (Chamber Music Series, , Artistry in Action, and Piano Masters Series)
  • Student Advising
  • Traveling abroad – recruitment trips


Responsibilities at University of Michigan (2020-23)

  • Serving as a cover conductor for University Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras
  • Serving as a manager of USO or UPO (attendance & grading assistance)
  • Covering two opera performances (Cendrillon, Don Giovanni)
  • Curating of New Music Concerts
  • Duties of a librarian
  • Preparation, Collection and Formatting of Program Notes
  • Presentation Pre-Concert Lectures
  • Administering tests
  • Assisting with blind orchestral auditions
  • Assisting with prospective student communications and auditions
  • Program Planning
  • Cross-departmental collaborations
  • Instructor of the course – Non-music-major Student Orchestra
    • Communication with the board
    • Placement auditions
    • Seating
    • Rehearsals
    • Marketing
    • Performance

Taught masterclasses at:

  • Boston Conservatory at Berklee
  • New England Conservatory
  • Odessa State Conservatory
  • Wuhan Conservatory
  • Shanghai University
  • Hangzhou Normal University
  • Guangzhou Conservatory
  • Music Fest Perugia 
  • Music Teachers National Association
  • International Conductors Guild
  • Massachusetts Music Teachers Association
  • League of American Orchestras
  • New England Piano Teachers Association

Using the platform for educational purposes.

Fall of 2023 Offerings:

  • ChatGPT for Performing Musicians
  • Unlocking Musician’s Mind
  • Stoicism for Musicians

Courses taught and current research

Authentic Performance -
Emotional Engagement for Musicians

An elective course presenting the concepts of Stage Acting (through Stanislavsky’s Method of acting) for the students from the Instrumental department working on their performance degree.

Projected course offering – Winter 2024 

Course Outline and Learning Outcomes (PDF)

The Philosophy of Musical Interpretation

Students will experience the fusion of literature and music in this elective course, aimed at Graduate Students. Through the course of the weeks, we will delve into the rich tapestry of ideas woven by Herman Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game” to illuminate the path of a performing musician seeking deeper meaning in their craft.

Projected course offering – Fall 2024 

Course Outline and Learning Outcomes (PDF)

Foundations of Instrumental Studies:
Piano 1

Course & Syllabus
Created by A.Polyakov

Taught last time: Fall 2022

First course of a two-semester, first-year seminar sequence, Foundations of Instrumental Studies is designed to serve as a welcome and introduction to this next important step in your journey toward a life in the arts, no matter what shape and direction that might take. With the primary goal of helping you to make your everyday activities as an artist more mindful – this course will cover a variety of topics aimed to assist you in making a smooth transition into the world of academia. In addition to that, students who take and complete this course will be able to re-imagine their approach to familiar processes (such as practicing piano or performing on stage), by refreshing and re-creating their own personalized foundations of good and healthy habits – for a lifelong music making, and music sharing experience. 


  • Integrate into the larger community of artists at Boston Conservatory
  • Model effective and efficient practice techniques and time management for musicians
  • Further develop concentration and mindful approach to everyday music-related activities
  • Nurture personal motivation and goal-setting mindset
  • Obtain basic skills to help in overcoming performance anxiety
  • Develop health and wellness habits conducive to a lifelong successful career in the arts and as a performer

Foundations of Instrumental Studies:
Piano 2

Course & Syllabus
Created by A.Polyakov 

Taught last time: Fall 2023

The second part of a two-semester, first-year seminar sequence, Foundations of Instrumental Studies 2: Piano, is designed to empower students with the concepts of psychology and emotional awareness – prerequisites of a successful career as a performing artist. With topics ranging from emotional Intelligence and positive psychology to Jungian shadow work, students will be able to develop their own sense of self-awareness, resilience, and motivation in their musical journey. Additionally, the “Musical Immersion” module of the course will allow students to find a more authentic and expressive approach to music, fostering a deeper connection with their instrument and their audience and having a more enriched learning experience.


While taking this course, students will:

  • Analyze psychological and biological factors that contribute to performance anxiety and apply coping strategies
  • Synthesize key elements such as confidence, concentration, and resilience into a cohesive performance strategy.
  • Evaluate and implement mindfulness techniques for enhanced focus and emotional balance in musical settings.
  • Differentiate between rote and deliberate practice, adopting the latter for skill acquisition.
  • Assess and modify thought patterns to foster optimism and improve musical performance.
  • Critique the concept of perfectionism, fostering self-trust and authentic expression.
  • Apply principles of emotional and social intelligence in musical interactions.
  • Integrate positive psychology frameworks to enhance resilience and well-being in musical contexts.
  • Identify personal musical strengths and demonstrate a growth mindset in practice and performance.

Applied Lessons: Piano

Syllabus Creation – A.Polyakov

The key goal of Applied Piano Lessons is to prepare students for a professional performing environment so that every individual student will have developed professional skills necessary for achieving personal success, happiness, and artistic contribution to the community. The course instructor will collaborate with every student to design a personalized study plan that will be followed for the duration of their degree. This plan will be continuously developing throughout the degree with individual students’ needs in mind, their strengths, weaknesses, and artistic goals. By the time of graduation, students will have acquired and developed performance skills, professional ethics, and confidence in their own ability to work and produce art independently.

Conducting 1

Taught last time: Fall 2023


Course Description: This class is intended to be an introduction to the elementary technique of conducting applied to both choral and instrumental music. Subjects covered include principles of attack and release, setting and changing tempo, phrasing and interpretation; practice in score reading. The more you apply yourself inside and outside of class, the more you will be able to continue learning on your own after this introductory semester. This is a one-credit course.

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