Courses for Pianists 

There are courses and summer schools for pianists of all levels, from single days and “taster” courses to piano weekends and whole weeks of piano goodness in the company of some of the finest pianists and teachers from around the world. Courses are a great way to connect with other pianists and like-minded people and are brilliant for improving skills such as technique and performance, and inspiring productive practising. Here is my round up of some of the best courses in the UK and beyond:

Courses in the UK

**New** Eralys Fernandez Piano Masterclass. A weekend course for advanced adult pianists run by Cuban pianist Eralys Fernandez and Professor Nigel Clayton from the Royal College of Music. The course takes place at the Purcell School in Hertfordshire and runs from 6th to 8th April 2018 The course comprises individual lessons, workshops and student and teacher concerts.  Accommodation and meals are all part of this exciting weekend which aims to create a great social and educational atmosphere.  Reduced rate for observers.  Ability level: Grade 8 to post-diploma. Further information

Pianissimi  A three-day intensive piano course for advanced adult pianists (Grade 7 to post-diploma). The aim of the course is to meet other pianists, receive excellent tuition and be immersed in music. Tutors include Penelope Roskell and Warren Mailley-Smith.  Further information

Cadenza International Summer Music School for piano and strings. Teaching provision is generous and fair and, unusually, there is time to focus on both solo repertoire and daily chamber groups. A minimum of three individual lessons on each student’s first study instrument is guaranteed, along with pianist rehearsals and concert opportunities. Everyone plays in at least one chamber group which is coached not less than every second day. Repertoire plans can be made in advance, especially for pianists. Groups and partnerships can evolve flexibly during the week – the coaching timetable is arranged in two day cycles by mutual consent

Chetham’s Summer School for Pianists. Known affectionately as “Chets”, this is the most famous UK piano summer school and boasts a fantastic faculty of international artists and teachers. Masterclasses, concerts, ensembles and more

CoMA Contemporary Music Summer School. This year’s course offers a range of piano options masterclasses with Rolf Hind and the opportunity to compose piano works that reflect Orkney’s natural world. Plus composition, contemporary and string ensembles, voice and music theatre, on-location sound recording, together with a range of workshops, talks and walks, concerts and opportunities to experience, respond to and interact with the landscapes of Orkney. In Orkney, 22-30 July 2017. Full details at

Jackdaws Music Trust. Popular courses throughout the year for pianists, singers and other instrumentalists. Piano tutors include Graham Fitch, Timothy Barratt, Margaret Fingerhut, Philip Fowke, Elena Riu, and Mark Tanner. Courses to suit intermediate to advanced students, plus courses on jazz, accompanying and duets.

Lythe Chamber Music. Chamber music course for keyboard, string and wind players wishing to explore historical performance on modern or historical instruments in the beautiful setting of the North Yorkshire coastline and moors. Students, teachers and amateurs Grade 6 upwards. Faculty includes John Irving (historic keyboards).

Penelope Roskell’s Advanced London Piano Courses. An inspiring and supportive weekend course (3 full days) focussing on repertoire, technique, and yoga for pianists. Ideal for pianists preparing for concerts, competitions, diplomas or auditions, or for anyone suffering from technical problems, physical tension, injuries or nerves. The course is run as a series of masterclasses with plenty of opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas, and ends with a concert on the Sunday afternoon. Ability level: post-Grade 8 to post-diploma.

London Piano Meetup Group. In addition to regular informal performance platforms and social events for adult pianists, LPMG also runs one-day courses with visiting tutors including Graham Fitch and Mark Polishook. The group is run via an email mailing list ( and Facebook group

Piano Week Run by pianist Samantha Ward, Piano Week offers classes for adults and children of all abilities, combined with an international piano festival.

Pro Corda. Adult courses designed to serve both the keen amateur musician who has little time in a hectic lifestyle to further skills and indulge their musical passion and excitement, along with those who have never had the chance to develop musical skills but have always longed to do so. The unique setting of Leiston Abbey is the perfect place to enjoy music along with great food and wine, while getting to know other like-minded people in a warm and sociable environment.

Summer School for Pianists. This popular and long-standing summer school offers courses for pianists taught in mixed ability groups. All-Steinway facilities at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall campus. Friendly atmosphere, tutor recitals and pre-concert talks, plus opportunities for accompanying and duet playing

The Studio at La Balie, France
Courses in Europe

Music at Albignac. The latest incarnation of the renowned piano summer school Music at Ambialet founded in 1991 by the pianist Paul Roberts and arts journalist Jenny Gilbert. Over the years they have maintained and developed their original vision: to nurture the highest standards of music-making in tranquil and idyllic surroundings, bringing together teachers and pianists of international reputation with conservatoire students from around the globe; and to offer the same learning opportunities to amateur pianists, giving them a quality of teaching and insight.

La Balie. Summer courses for advanced pianists (Grade 8+) in a beautiful setting in SW France. Luxurious accommodation, gourmet food, small teaching groups and sympathetic tuition. Tutor and student recitals.

Music Holiday Italy. A series of one-week courses for pianists who love music, sunshine and Italy. Courses, including one-to-one bespoke tuition, run throughout the year at Montemuse in the heart of the Apennine mountains. The idea is simply to give amateur pianists a chance to learn from colleagues in an inspirational, relaxed setting. No set standard, maximum of 8 students per course. Plenty for families too including walking and Italian cookery classes.  Piano Teachers’ Symposium – new for 2017.


Frances Wilson blogs on pianism, classical music and culture