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 are some of the best courses in the UK and Europe, many of which have been warmly endorsed by pianist friends and colleagues.

COURSES IN THE UK

Benslow Music. Residential and day music courses for students of alllevels at a beautiful purpose-built campus in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Tutors include Nigel Clayton, Timothy Barratt, Caroline Clemmow and Heli Ignatius-Fleet. Further information

Chetham’s Summer School for Pianists. Known affectionately as “Chets”, this is the most famous UK piano summer school, and Europe’s largest summer school. Chets boasts a large faculty of international artists and renowned teachers. One-to-one tuition, masterclasses and workshops, concerts, ensembles and more. Further information

Finchcocks Piano Courses for pianists and piano teachers throughout the year to suit all abilities in a beautiful setting in the Kent countryside. Tutors include Graham Fitch, Charlotte Tomlinson and Warren Mailley-Smith. Further information about Finchcocks residential piano courses

Hindhead Piano Course. Summer piano course for those who wish to further their pianistic knowledge and enjoy four days of intensive study with masterclasses on technique, workshops, faculty lectures and recitals, and participants’ concerts. Led by pianist James Lisney. Lovely Victorian country house set in the Surrey Hills and homecooked food. Further information

Jackdaws Music Trust. Popular weekend courses throughout the year for pianists, singers and other instrumentalists. Friendly supportive atmosphere. Piano tutors include Graham Fitch, Mark Polishook, Penelope Roskell, 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.  Further information

London Piano Meetup Group. Co-founded in 2013 by Frances Wilson (AKA The Cross-Eyed Pianist), the LPMG hosts regular informal performance platforms and social events for adult pianists in London, as well as one-day courses/workshops with visiting tutors, including the very popular Diploma Day with Graham Fitch and Frances Wilson. The group is run via an email mailing list (contact londonpianomeetup@gmail.com) and Facebook group

Penelope Roskell’s Advanced London Piano Courses. Inspiring and supportive weekend courses (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. 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

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

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. Further information

Summer School for Pianists. This popular and long-standing summer school is now based at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire. All-Steinway facilities with stunning architecture set in National Trust gardens. Friendly, supportive atmosphere, tutor recitals and many optional music activities, plus opportunities for accompanying. Faculty includes Karl Lutchmayer, Graham Fitch, Ann Martin Davis and Christine Stevenson. Further information

COURSES IN EUROPE

**NEW** ArtePiano, Germany. An attractive house in the picturesque medieval town of Sankt Goar, overlooking the Rhine, is the setting for a weekend of piano masterclasses and performances for students of all ages and levels to prepare for an upcoming examination, competition, concert, audition or festival. The masterclasses are also ideal for amateur pianists who would like to throw themselves into a full on weekend of piano tuition, music making and performances. Tutors: Niel du Preez & Mark Nixon. Further information

La Balie. Summer piano courses in a picturesque part of SW France. Luxurious accommodation, gourmet food and access to a Steinway D as well as other quality instruments for practising. Daily masterclasses, faculty and student recitals, and more. Featured in Pianist magazine’s Top 10 Courses and Festivals around the world. Tutors for 2020: Charles Owen, Vedrana Subotic, Noriko Ogawa and Martin Cousin. Further information

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Student with Noriko Ogawa at La Balie

Piano courses with James Lisney. A beautiful location at Le Vert, a country house hotel in the heart of the Cahors wine region in France, is the setting for summer piano courses with British concert pianist James Lisney. Daily classes on a range of subjects; three masterclass sessions per student and individual tuition (3 x 45-minute sessions per student per week) plus over eleven hours of observable classes during the course; student performances and tutor recitals. Fine food and luxury accommodation. Further information

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Le Vert

PianoWell Academy, France. The beautiful Chateau de Lamostonie in Cahors area of SW France is the venue for the PianoWell Academy course. Open to all the pianists above Grade 5 level, PianoWell Academy is created by Russian pianist and innovative teacher Emma Leiuman. Students will learn how to connect a physical approach with musical ideas, how sound imagination and a singing approach aligned with efficient hand movements help improve piano technique, expressiveness and clarity of playing, preventing pianists from playing-related injuries. Further information

Lot Piano. A summer course for pianists in the picturesque Lot Valley of SW France, aimed at those who would like to join a group with a common musical interest in a convivial relaxed atmosphere. Ability level: Grade 8+ Further information

Music at Albignac, France. 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. Further information

Music Holiday Italy. Not the usual group masterclasses, these unique 1-on-1 coaching weeks cater for beginners through to diploma level. Just you and your tutor, 4 hours intensive coaching each day and plenty of time to practise, relax, or discover the cultural treasures and scenic wonders of the Sibillini national park. With no distractions and none of the pressure of performing in front of fellow pianists, this is an immensely effective way to learn a lot in a short time. Courses throughout the summer, with ensuite accommodation and gourmet meals. Further information