“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.