Zane Hrynewich grew up in Noranda, Quebec, where he began studying piano through the Royal Conservatory, as well as Jeunesses Musicales. He moved to Saskatoon in 1968 and continued his studies through the Royal Conservatory, while also beginning preparations for advanced studies through Trinity College of Music, London, England.
At the age of sixteen, Zane left his Saskatoon to join a rock band based in Thunderbay, Ontario. He spent the next four years touring across Canada with various bands.
After marrying his high school sweetheart, Zane left "the road", returning to Saskatoon, where he resumed his formal music studies once again through Trinity College. He also began his teaching career, following "Traditional Teaching philosophies.
To this point, Zane's musical career had consisted of performing "orchestrated" music - the classical music he had studied had to be "worked out" as did rock/contemporary music he had been performing in bands. The many years of formal Traditional Music study had left him with advanced technique, excellent note reading, and the ability to expressively interpret scores. These were all great skills to posses, but as Zane would soon discover, he still had much to learn.
In his early twenties, Zane began to develop a keen interest in Jazz. He began to "jam" with "unschooled" musicians who could barely read music, but grew up playing by ear. He soon came to a realization which would have a profound effect on his musical ideologies for years to come.
"I played some Beethoven for these guys and they were impressed. Then, we started jamming. They were amazing! I was lost. I just could not keep up with them. I left, frustrated and extremely humbled."
At first, Zane could not understand why these musicians were so comfortable being spontaneous, while he, with all his training, struggled. Eventually, it dawned on him. These musicians had grown up learning by "listening", whereas, he had grown up learning by "looking". This wasn't unique to him. His Traditional Music peers lacked the same abilities, as did the majority of other people who were products of this method of learning.
He began the painstaking process of developing his ear by learning jazz songs from a tape recorder. He re-examined his teaching philosophy, looking for ways to teach his students how to listen and how to be spontaneous. Then, he was introduced to the Suzuki Method by the lady who started the Suzuki String Program through the Saskatoon Symphony. At the time, in North America, it was regarded as a revolutionary and somewhat controversial method of teaching, especially in Traditional Music circles. It made perfect sense to Zane, and he still adheres to the fundamental philosophies of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki.
His performance career suffered a devastating blow when he lost the use of his right arm through what was eventually diagnosed as "Performance Syndrome". During has advanced Traditional Piano studies, Zane had spent countless hours practicing and performing with excessive tension in his shoulders, placing much strain on the arm. This had gone unnoticed by his teachers. The result was permanent damage to his arm.
"I woke up one day, and I couldn't feel my arm. It was completely asleep. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't even lift it. I can still vividly recall the shock and the sheer horror I experienced that day."
Doctors told Zane his piano career was over, that he needed to quit performing and teaching. Today, "Performance Injuries" in musicians are widely recognized. Back then, not so much. Zane wasn't ready to give up. He rested the arm for a few months and then began the arduous process of teaching himself to play again - now, with an arm and fingers which were perpetually numb. Today, Zane can play with almost the same level of technique he had originally attained. To save his arm for his teaching, he reluctantly had to "retire" from public performance, however, he continues to play extensively with his students.
but he no longer calls himself a mainstream Suzuki Piano Teacher, nor is he a mainstream Traditional Piano Teacher. The two are based solely on the study of the standard Classical Repertoire, which is not a bad thing in itself, but in Zane's eyes not comprehensive enough to build versatile, well-rounded Practical Pianists.Zane has spent over two decades creating materials and techniques to teach "Creative" elements, such as improvisation and basic composition. Today, his teaching is based on the following: