The musical reputation of Manchester precedes it, with a world-famous nightlife scene, bands that have conquered the globe, and more gigs per capita than any other UK city. It’s a city that breathes music and its cultural heritage is something that its locals are hugely proud of.
Clearly, this bodes well for those of you living in the city who are looking for music lessons. Let’s say, you couldn’t have chosen a better place. With institutions catering to every level of player – from brute beginner to expert performer – the city has got the budding musician covered.
And this, of course, holds true for the piano – that most popular of musical instruments. If you want to play the instrument alongside your jazz mates, nail Beethoven sonatas alone in your room, or ace classical recital performances to audiences all of the world, Manchester has the educational opportunities to ensure that you can achieve precisely what you want to achieve. And if you want to take lessons simply for your own enjoyment, you can do that too.
So, we’ve put together a list of the best options in the city for learning how to play the piano – for perfecting your piano technique, for developing your ear training or music theory, for preparing for those examinations, or even for learning to improvise. Whichever you choose, best of luck!
The grand piano is for those who take their music performances seriously – and for those with really big houses!
One Education is an education company that works with schools and parents across Manchester to ensure the best educational opportunities for children in the city. Alongside lots of things that don’t concern us here, the organisation runs music centres across the city that provide high-quality music teaching to children of all ages. The centres are in Chorlton, Didsbury, Blackley, and in the city centre. Why does One Education do it? Because playing music is really good for children.
Each centre runs on different days and offers different options. Unfortunately, the Blackley and Didsbury centres don’t currently have piano sessions (although they are working on it!) – but both those in Chorlton and the centre do.
In Chorlton, these are available for everyone from the age of five. Otherwise, both run theory sessions and a range of orchestral groups, wind bands, and tuition in strings, drums, woodwind, brass, and guitar.
The Manchester Chinese Centre is a charity in the city that works for the integration and support of Chinese-speaking communities across Greater Manchester and beyond. Alongside language courses, interpreting services, and cultural events, the Centre also runs educational programmes in music.
Included in this are the violin, cello, and the guzheng – a traditional Chinese stringed instrument a little bit like a zither (which you’ll recognise!). They also do piano lessons, which are available on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays – to anyone who wants to learn!
Many music schools offer violin lessons as well as piano tuition.
The Manchester Piano Room is a company offering piano and keyboard tuition across Manchester – either in the fabled Piano Room itself (in Newton Heath) or in the comfort of your home. The four tutors who run it are all qualified and experienced professionals and they offer, between them, any style of music from jazz improvisation to classical.
They encourage beginners to start in group lessons, as people often find it more enjoyable to learn to play a musical instrument in company – with people together with whom they can struggle and progress. As you each develop as musicians – and develop your own preferred learning style and styles of music – you are encouraged to take individual lessons. However, if you would prefer, group sessions and private lessons are available to anyone regardless of experience, ability, and age.
The AB Piano School is based in West Didsbury, with the tutor, Angela, offering lessons to everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned players, and from young kids to adults.
For kids, lessons develop through listening exercises, songwriting, practice in reading music and musical notation, and fun games. And for teenagers, Angela’s approach is similarly comprehensive, covering everything the blues to Mozart, technical exercises to general musicianship training. Adults are taught based around their own musical preferences and, as with kids, they are encouraged to join the annual performances.
Angela herself is a classically trained pianist who has been teaching for fifteen years. She has appeared on Radio 4, she has lectured at the Leeds College of Music, and plays the organ at the Emmanuel Church in Didsbury.
In Manchester, there is a rare thing: a piano teacher that works primarily with adults. Based in Didsbury, Diane Paul is the Manchester Piano Tutor, and she offers teaching to those aged sixteen or above.
Diane teaches towards music exams – including ABRSM – but if you want to play the styles and songs that you like, she recommends that it is better to learn the fundamental techniques of the instrument first. She runs classes throughout the year as, unlike kids, you adults don’t have to stop for school holidays!
Besides her piano teaching, Diane is a composer and a singer – so she has strong general musicianship, which she is keen to pass on to you!
The Gasser Music Studio operates from the centre of Manchester, just by the top of Oxford Street. It’s run by Greta Gasser, with the help of two other tutors specialising in piano and music theory.
Lessons are on a one-to-one basis, but the school encourages students to join the concerts that take place several times a year – which are a great opportunity to show the world what you have been doing in those lessons!
Alongside the individual piano classes, the school also offers dedicated music theory sessions, which take place in groups. These are encouraged for those seeking to take performance exams and gain a comprehensive musical education.
If you want your private music tuition with a touch of flexibility, quality, and reliability, you won’t be disappointed if you try Superprof. This is a platform on which students can find and link up with private tutors – over five million of them in fact, in over a thousand subjects across the world.
In Manchester alone, there are 39 piano tutors, charging an average of £27 an hour. Whether you want dedicated classical lessons, or light-hearted and fun sessions in which you play your favourite songs, Superprof has the tutor for you. You can go to your tutor’s house, or have them come to you – or, if you prefer, you can take piano lessons online via Skype.
Regardless of your preference, Superprof is a handy tool to develop your education in whatever field – conveniently, reliably, and completely at your convenience.
Once you have mastered the piano, get your teacher to let you try a harpsichord!
The Royal Northern College of Music is Manchester’s primary higher education institution for music, offering undergraduate degrees in Music and Popular Music, and postgraduate degrees in Performance, Music Performance Research, or in Conducting – among other opportunities.
Studying music at university combines performance training on your primary instrument – in this case, piano – and theoretical and academic essays and lectures in the history of music, music theory, and aural skills and improvisation. At the RNCM, your undergraduate course can either be taken in four years or, more intensively, in three – whilst a postgraduate programme will vary depending on the qualification.
Note that higher education music institutions are not for the beginner musician! But if you are hoping to take your musical career to the next level – say, you want to pursue music professionally – this might be the option for you.
And parents, listen up. Manchester offers one of the UK’s best-known specialist music schools, an institution which dedicates its students – who are between the age of eight and eighteen – to intensive musical study. This means that, within the timetable of your child’s normal school day, a third of the time will be given over to music. That’s a total of three hours a day.
Children will have the opportunity to choose a main instrument to which they will dedicate most of their time – this, of course, can be the piano – and training in this will be combined with other musicological training – in theory, composition, and in the history of music.
Note that this is a full-time private fee-paying school, rather than an extra-curricular option. But if you are serious about your child’s musical education, it could be worth looking into. It’s also worth noting that ninety percent of students receive full government bursaries to attend – so the fees shouldn’t hold you back.
If you are not from Manchester but want to learn the piano, listen up! We have articles on piano lessons in London, piano tuition in Glasgow, piano teaching in Leeds, and on Birmingham’s piano education opportunities. Check out our guide to piano lessons across the UK too!