“A piano is just a piano. It’s made out of so much wood and wires and little hammers and big ones, and ivory. While there’s only so much you can do with it, the only way to find this out is to try; to try and make it do everything.”
This line appears in a story, ‘Sonny’s Blues’, by the American writer, James Baldwin. The main character, Sonny, wants to play the piano and to become a jazz musician – an aim with which you’re probably familiar. Ultimately, Sonny gets there, becoming well-known and liked around the jazz clubs of New York. If you want to, if you can commit, and if you work hard at it, there ain’t no reason why you couldn’t do the same. As Baldwin writes, “the only way … is to try”.
But it’s true! The piano can do everything if you make it. It’s one of the most versatile, most popular, and most truly beautiful instruments there is. Whether, like Sonny, you want to become a jazz pianist, or if you’d prefer to put your energies into the classical sonatas of Beethoven, say, or the pop songs of The Beatles or Elton John, there isn’t anything that needs to stop you.
Really, though, one of the best things to turn a beginner pianist into a proper genius performer is a good piano teacher. Because, learning an instrument with a music teacher who is supportive, passionate about music making, and who has an appreciation of the difficulties and challenges of the learning experience is indispensable to the learning process.
So, if you are based in the UK and are looking for piano instruction, you needn’t look any further. From private piano lessons to group piano classes – from a piano course on jazz to sessions on music theory and general musicianship – we’ve put together some of the best options for learning to play the piano across the country.
We hope it’s helpful. But mostly, whichever way you decide to do it, we hope that you’ll find the way to make your heap of “wood and wires and little hammers and big ones” do everything you want it to do. Good luck!
Find a piano teacher, learn the instrument, and get busking!
It goes without saying that London is a great place to see and hear music. But it might be less obvious that it is a great place for learning music too.
With specialised opportunities for all ages and abilities and some of the best conservatoires and music schools in the world, there is no reason not to sit down at your piano and get playing. There’s someone just around the corner waiting to teach you the piano.
If you want more information on piano teachers in London, try our article on the topic.
Kids in London are lucky, particularly those who are musical. London hosts schools teaching every musical instrument under the sun, and the opportunities for children’s music education in the city are second to none across the country.
For example, there is the Greenwich Music School, an institution that has been nominated for awards for the quality of its teaching to children – children as young as nine months old! Check them out for specialised music tuition that will keep your kids musical for life.
If you’re a little jealous of the options available for your children, don’t be! London is rife with group music classes and private lessons in piano designed specifically for adults.
For example, you’ll find exactly what you need at City Lit and the City Academy, two adult education institutions providing everything from guitar lessons to violin lessons. Both schools offer beginner piano lessons, and opportunities for intermediate players and beyond.
Elsewhere, the London Piano Institute, the London Music Academy, and Superprof all offer private tuition to adults in the city too.
For those historically excluded from music education, Community Music has set up a number of wonderful schools across the city. Here, you can take free piano lessons and learn how to play piano alongside a band.
Just to make sure you know you read that correctly, that was free piano lessons. A great initiative in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
If you are hoping to pursue a career in music – whether that’s in teaching music, in piano performance, or in studying music academically – you’ll find the route to this through any of the city’s conservatoires.
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama allows you to study piano as part of a music degree, and, if you want, as part of the course you will push your skills in improvisation, composition, and performance.
A great option for the more serious musicians.
With the right piano tutor, maybe one day you’ll be performing here: the Royal Albert Hall!
For those up the road in Birmingham, the city has got you and your musical aspirations covered too. Whilst the sheer size of London simply demands more teachers, the range of options is just as broad in England’s second city.
If you want to learn to play the piano alone, or if you’d rather match your progression alongside colleagues in a piano class, there are plenty of great opportunities for you. And that’s for kids and for adult students alike.
There’s more about this in our dedicated article on learning the piano in Birmingham.
Birmingham is loaded with regional musical institutions that offer training and guidance in all instruments, all styles of music, and for all levels from absolute beginners to advanced players.
The centrally located Birmingham Music School, for example, offers lessons to everyone over the age of six, in singing, guitar, bass, and drums. They do piano classes too, with a maximum of eight students in each class.
The Selly Oak Music School also offers piano lessons, with the academically rigorous and experienced music educator, Heng-Ching Fang. This school offers classes to children from the age of three, so if you’re hoping to start your kids early, maybe this is your best bet.
If a music school is not your thing – maybe the rigid timetabling or group lessons don’t suit you-you can easily find a private tutor in the city too. With options including Superprof, the site specialising in individually taught lessons, and Maestro’s Piano Lessons – lessons taught by a professional conductor and classically trained pianist – you won’t struggle to find a piano teacher willing to come to your home with a teaching style you appreciate.
If you are aiming high with your piano or keyboard playing, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire can provide the training and qualifications that you need. Here, you’ll be practising daily, refining your piano technique over the three-course, and you’ll come out as the best piano player that you can be.
Like every city on this list, Leeds packs a punch in terms of the musical opportunities it offers. Whether you want to develop your sight reading and ear training in preparation for a music exam, or you just want to experiment with your songwriting, composing, and technique for your own enjoyment, you won’t have any trouble finding a suitable tutor to help you with whatever it is you want to do.
Find more in our article on piano lessons in Leeds.
Leeds has a number of very effective music schools, from the very historic Yorkshire College of Music & Drama to the Northern Music Academy just outside of town. Both provide intensive lessons on music theory and both have the expertise and track record to help you get through your music exams. That applies whether you opt for private piano lessons on site in their music studio or in group classes aimed to help you nail the aural aspects of the ABRSM curriculum.
Roundhay Music also offers training towards the range of graded music examinations, and their comprehensive range of music lessons – in instruments from the ukulele to the cello – is really really impressive. These guys let you borrow instruments too!
Otherwise, you might be more comfortable cultivating a personal relationship with a tutor outside of Leeds’s bigger musical institutions. The city is swimming with individual professionals offering personally tailored lessons in playing the piano, so that, if you want, you can indulge your niche taste for jazz piano or build up your repertoire of baroque harpsichord music – whichever you desire.
Francesca Murray is one such tutor in the city that provides flexible tuition at your convenience, whether towards exams or not. You could also try Charley Hellier, a tutor that’s willing to travel, or Nick Eastwood, an accomplished musical educator who is also a professional piano accompanist.
If these don’t work for you, try Superprof, a platform that hosts private tutors to suit all learning styles or musical tastes.
Keep up your enthusiasm for piano with a proper piano instructor!
Manchester has a musical culture to take your breath away, and a music education scene to match. Whether it’s a world-class conservatoire, a prestigious specialist music school, or a private piano tutor you’re after, you’ll find it in this great city.
Check out our guide to piano lessons in Manchester too!
If you are very serious about music and can already play the piano to a pretty good standard, you might be considering applying for a music course at university.
Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music should definitely be an option for you to consider, as its wide-ranging portfolio of rigorous higher education courses is one of the best in the country. Study undergraduate courses in music and popular music – specialising in the piano if that’s what you want – or postgraduate ones in conducting, research, or performance, and take your musical skill to the next level.
And if you are a parent who has noticed a great aptitude for music in your child, you might want to think about sending them to Chetham’s School of Music – a secondary school that dedicates a third of your child’s time to music making. If you can afford it outright, then great; if not, there are bursaries and funding opportunities on offer.
For those after something a little more lowkey – a casual lesson or training in a given genre or technique – you’ll find plenty of music tutors in the city to guide you through everything.
You could think about enrolling in classes with the Manchester Piano Room or at the AB Piano School, two dedicated piano centres in the city that guarantee your progression in every aspect of your musicianship.
Otherwise, try Superprof, an easy way to link up with qualified and experienced tutors in any field you want. Even if you don’t get on with the piano, you could try something else on here instead!
Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, offers just as many – if not more – opportunities for learning how to play the piano as any city in the UK.
And the diversity of its options is just as impressive. From community music schools to private lessons, from classes for kids and those for adults, Glasgow will not disappoint.
Check out our full guide on piano lessons in Glasgow too!
Glasgow’s music schools are some of the most interesting in the UK. The Riverside Music College offers further education courses alongside instrument lessons in banjo, mandolin, and other more conventional instruments (including the piano!).
The Glasgow Music Studios rises to Riverside’s challenge and now offers lessons in DJing, beat-boxing, and rap. At both schools, you’ll find piano teachers who are supportive, patient, and extremely knowledgeable, so check them out.
However, if you are the sort of person who wants their piano lesson without any other distraction, private piano tuition is in ample supply across the city. Try Stuart Corkindale, or Desislava Hristova of Piano Lessons Glasgow, two musicians with jaw-dropping careers in music education.
Otherwise, there’s always the opportunity for tutoring through Superprof, the educational platform that connects students to tutors who suit their style of study. So, whatever it is you want to learn, you’ll find it here.
Piano lessons can last different times. Some lessons last for just half an hour, while others can go for 60 or 90 minutes.
There are so many reasons why you might be drawn to the piano:
Whatever your reason for playing the piano, it goes without saying that one of the most effective ways to improve as a pianist is to have a good piano teacher by your side.
Thankfully, if you’re looking for a piano tutor in Belfast, there are no shortage of teachers who are there to support you when it comes to achieving your musical aspirations.
For example, you might decide to take piano lessons at Belfast Music Academy. The courses at the academy are ten-weeks long, which is perfect if you’re looking to commit to a set period of piano tuition.
The academy also supports students of any ability level (from beginners to advanced) and are happy to offer a variety of lesson types. So, if you’d really like to try your hand at composition or would prefer to prepare for piano exams with Rockschool, then Belfast Music Academy can help you.
Alternatively, you might like to sample the piano classes on offer at MusicFirst NI. This music school offers tuition in many different instruments, including the piano. The school also caters to a wide range of ages, so whether you have a child who would like to play the piano, or you’re a mature adult looking to learn music for the first time, MusicFirst NI should be able to assist.
Not to be left out of the list of piano tutors in Belfast is the Stormont School of Singing. This music school offers tuition in vocals (as its name might give away) as well as piano lessons. Like other music schools, there’s no pressure to take piano lessons for the purpose of sitting exams, and you are welcome to learn to play the piano for fun, or for another purpose, such as to build your confidence.
Of course, if you do want to take piano classes specifically so you can take formal or graded piano exams, then the Stormont School of Singing is equally happy and able to prepare you for those exams as well.
When it comes to lesson length, classes with most piano teachers tend to last anywhere from half an hour to 60 minutes. If you’re not sure how long your piano lessons should last, then don’t be afraid to get in touch with your tutor before booking onto a lesson to confirm the typical lesson length.
If none of the music schools listed above takes your fancy, remember that there are lots of other piano tutors out there in Belfast as well. For instance, there are private tutors that are experienced piano tutors, and there are even some on websites such as Superprof.
Edinburgh is home to lots of different music and comedy festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Glasgow isn’t the only place in Scotland where you can learn the piano! Another Scottish city where you can really find the help to make your piano skills shine is Edinburgh.
With a variety of piano tutors available in Edinburgh, there are a few things you might want to take into consideration before booking a class with a piano teacher. For example:
If you need some inspiration on where to find piano classes in Edinburgh though, we’ve outlined just a few tutors and music schools below. Of course, these aren’t the only piano tutors in Edinburgh, so feel free to have a further look around if none of the below seems quite right for you!
Firstly, there’s AllegranDo, whose piano teacher is a member of the European Piano Teachers Association UK. Lessons come in either 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or hour-long lengths, so you can really be flexible when it comes to how much piano tuition you’d like.
Another option is Strollers Music School, which offers piano lessons alongside a variety of other instruments, from the guitar and trumpet to the vocals and violin. Lessons last around half an hour or an hour, and the school doesn’t place a huge amount of pressure on its students to attend weekly lessons.
Of course, regular practice is one of the best ways to maintain and improve your abilities with the piano, so weekly lessons are often recommended by many music schools, but if you can’t always make weekly sessions, then Strollers is ok with that too.
If Strollers or AllegranDo don’t seem to be the right match for you, then there’s also the Morningside School of Music. This music school also offers tuition across a range of instruments, including the piano. One of its selling points is that the school is open every day of the week, which is great if you need a little bit more flexibility when it comes to scheduling your lesson times. Lessons here tend to run for 30 minutes or 60 minutes.
If you’re still not convinced that Edinburgh can be a wonderful place to learn the piano, it’s worth remembering that Edinburgh also has so much to offer as a city when it comes to music. There are a wide variety of festivals during the year, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, as well as the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
So, whether you’d like to hear the piano played in a jazz style, or would prefer to listen to chamber music, there should be a performance during the year to inspire and entertain you!
Music school and piano tutors are there to help you achieve your learning goals, whether that’s playing for fun or preparing for formal exams.
If you’re looking for piano lessons in Wales, then Cardiff has so much to offer.
For example, if you’re serious about playing the piano – maybe you’re even considering a career as a professional musician – then you might want to try and get into the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, where you can study the keyboard with courses such as:
Serious piano players may also like to have extra piano practice at places like the Music Rooms Pontcanna, which offers 90-minute long lessons to students who have grade 6 and above in the piano.
Even if you’re looking to start studying for formal music exams, such as the ABRSM, there are tutors that can help you prepare.
However, if you’re not at an advanced level when it comes to playing the piano, there’s still a lot of teachers out there that are happy to teach the piano to beginners or those with an intermediate ability level.
Some piano tutors you might wish to work with are Helene Pello of Piano Lessons Cardiff, or Kath Thorne-Thomas. Kath Thorne-Thomas would be a good teacher to use if you had a particular interest in classical piano, as this is where her experience primarily lies.
Alternatively, there’s also David Pert, who also takes active bookings as a piano player as well, be it in a solo capacity or for duo or ensemble work.
Some music schools will require you to book in for a set number of piano lessons (for example, a block booking of ten weekly sessions). Other schools are more relaxed as to how many piano lessons you book, and how regularly you attend them.
Generally speaking, many schools recommend having weekly lessons to try and help you get better as a piano player. That’s not to say you can’t make progress if you only have lessons, say, fortnightly, but often weekly is considered better for learning purposes.
For example, if you’re set on taking formal music exams, then regular practice is a great way to prepare you for the theoretical or practical aspects of the exam.
If you can only commit to irregular piano lessons, or you’re not sure whether you need you to make a block booking when hiring a piano tutor, make sure to ask the music school or tutor before you book about how many lessons they would recommend you take to achieve your learning goals.