Leeds is a fantastic place to learn to play music. That’s whether you are a budding trumpeter, a kid whose been given a guitar for Christmas, or a singer hoping to take the opera world by storm. With some major musical higher education institutions, a number of great community arts centres, and a whole host of amazing individual tutors, there’s no better place to pick up a musical instrument and make some noise.
For pianists, it’s a great city too. And, no matter your age, or your level of experience, you’ll find a piano class – or a solo piano teacher – that can get you playing, improving, and having fun in the process.
If you are an absolute beginner, you can take classes in all parts of the city, with a choice of patient and professional tutors (and, if you ask nicely, they might also teach you from your home). And for intermediate students, you’ll find the right instructor to get you through your piano exams. For the more experienced pianists out there, you won’t do better than attending the Leeds College of Music – one of the best schools of music in the north of the country.
So, whatever you want to get out of your piano – brushing up on your theory, playing your favourite pop song, or becoming the next Beethoven – you’ll find the support you need to make that happen.
We’ve compiled the best options here. Of course, there are many many more, but we’ve tried to take as broad a view as possible. So, sit up straight, and start playing that piano.
The Yorkshire College of Music & Drama has been producing fantastic musicians in Leeds since 1894. It was set up by the Haddock family (a school of fish! not really) and has been going strong since its inception. It is now based on St Mark’s Avenue, and its location makes it convenient for people across the city.
Alongside lessons in music theory and music appreciation – namely, how to listen properly to music (honestly, a skill!) – it offers instrumental lessons. These include singing lessons, lessons on wind instruments such as the clarinet, string instruments, and the perennially popular guitar and piano.
Whilst the College encourages all students to train for and complete musical exams, this is not compulsory. The important thing is that you have fun developing your musicianship.
Perform live on the piano. A music teacher will show you how!
In the north-east of Leeds, you’ll find Roundhay Music, named after the area in which it operates. This is a non-profit organisation that aims to spread music around the city, by providing music education and encouraging all ages to learn to play an instrument. It’s been going since 1987 and it has grown and grown and grown, becoming a well-known school teaching a diverse array of instruments in their music classes.
Roundhay offers instruction in everything from the cello and the violin to the flute, the drum kit, and the ukulele, and all the teachers are experienced and professional. With the organisation’s private piano lessons, you will be able to find training in exams both for school and extra-curricular – or they offer teaching in classical, jazz, rock, and pop.
Nicely enough, they also offer ensembles and musical groups – and they have a service to borrow instruments.
If a private tutor is more your sort of thing, then you could try Superprof. This is a platform that connects prospective students to tutors across the world, and it currently hosts over five million tutors offering private lessons in over a thousand subjects globally. With tutors offering online lessons too, it’s probably pretty likely that you’ll find what you need on here.
Leeds is home to twenty-five piano tutors, charging an average of £23 an hour. With classically trained musicians, music graduates and alumni, and teachers who have been playing and teaching for years, you’re guaranteed to find a reliable and professional teacher with Superprof.
These tutors are happy to come to your house, and the choice means that you are much more likely to find a piano instructor to fit around your schedule and to teach at your pace and style.
Not only will a piano teacher show you how to play the instrument, but they will improve your overall musicianship too.
Francesca Murray teaches between Leeds and Bradford – one where she plays and the other where she lives. She is a session pianist – a performer for hire – and has won piano recital competitions and has even been in Emmerdale! In her spare time, she has written a book on the fundamental aspects of piano playing for beginners and she continues to update her amazing blog on playing the piano.
Murray’s teaching style is very broad, and she teaches everything from composition to theory and improvisation. She’s happy to teach any musical styles too and can train you towards ABRSM or RockSchool grades. If you are up for it, she is happy to duet with you too!
Charley Hellier is a musician with over twenty-five years’ experience in teaching piano – within schools, through council projects, and privately. Over the years, she has taught students from the ages of six to seventy and continues to teach all genres from baroque to contemporary music. Her personal involvement in semi-professional music-making projects across the city gives her the breadth of musical knowledge and the enthusiasm for music that makes someone a great teacher.
She works from Kirkstall but is happy to travel for a small travel fee. And besides the piano, she also teaches music theory – including helping your studying notation, sight reading, and ear training – beginner violin and singing.
Nick Eastwood provides piano instruction and musical accompaniment right across Leeds. This means that, if you are studying a different instrument and are pursuing graded exams therein, you may well have him playing beside you in the assessment. He’s a fully qualified music teacher and he directs a musical theatre group too.
Eastwood currently holds a one hundred percent pass rate in ABRSM exams, and, although we know that exams are not for everyone, he is happy to encourage you to achieve your academic and practical goals in the instrument. If you just fancy playing your favourite songs, he’ll arrange simpler version of pieces so that you can get playing right away.
First lessons are free, and tuition takes place just off Easterly Road.
Just outside Leeds, in Pontefract, you’ll find the Northern Music Academy, a school that has been offering piano lessons to the north of England for thirty years. Catering from the age of four upwards – to literally any age – the Academy offers classes in every instrument, as well as in music theory and composition.
Of course, they offer training to all major musical exams – as well as those GCSEs and A Levels you will be working on in school – but are happy to work on jazz improv, pop tunes, or literally whatever you want. Whatever it is you want to study, you can be assured that your musical education will be comprehensive – incorporating all sorts of piano techniques to ensure that you gain the abilities to progress and progress and progress.
Leeds is a beautiful place to learn music.
The Leeds College of Music is a specialist music conservatoire in the heart of the city, offering higher education training in every different form of music you can imagine. This includes instrument training, theory, and composition, as well as degrees with a focus on business, music production, and song-writing – or on jazz, folk, classical, film music, or musical theatre. The choice, really, is yours.
However, given the calibre of the education – and the fact that it is a higher education institution – you will need to be a pretty good pianist already to gain admission to the school. Like all conservatoires, it is aimed at those undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to pursue music professionally. If this is you, then great! Apply, audition, and get some of the best musical training in the UK.
If all this sounds a little daunting, or else if you have never touched a musical instrument in your life, the LCM offers community ensembles, summer schools, musical short courses, and evening classes in any instrument a non-professional might want to study.
For pianists, there is the fifteen-week evening course, Introduction to Piano, aimed at students over the age of eighteen. For those who aren’t absolute beginners, there is an Introduction to Piano Part II, which might be a little more appropriate. Otherwise, there are courses on jazz piano and courses for piano teachers who are hoping to develop their educational repertoire.
If you are not from Leeds and want to learn the piano, try our guides on piano lessons in Manchester, piano tuition in London, learning the piano in Birmingham, and on Glasgow’s piano options. There’s also guide to the best piano tuition across the UK.