Julie Ainscough at the Frobenius organ of All Saints' Parish Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (U.K.).

Dr. Julie Ainscough at the Frobenius organ of
All Saints' Parish Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (U.K.).

Photograph: © Copyright 2000 Michael Harrold Artist Management.

Piano  Teacher

Study and Qualification.

Having been a private pupil of a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music during my teenage years, I studied piano performance at Trinity College of Music, London, with Anthony Lindsay, a pupil of the great Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.  I was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Music by the University of Surrey on the 25th of May 2011; the conferment of my Ph.D. came on Friday the 20th of April 2012 in a graduation ceremony at Guildford Cathedral.  I hold the Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO), the post-graduate Degree of Master of Music (M.Mus.) in Composition from the University of London (Goldsmiths College), a Fellowship diploma (FTCL) in Composition plus a Graduate Diploma in Music (GTCL, with First-class Honours, equivalent to a B.Mus. Honours Degree) and a Licenciate diploma (LTCL) in Piano Teaching from Trinity College of Music, London.  I received the University of Surrey's David Lovatt Prize for Composition in November 2005.  I won also the 1978 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Composition and the 1977 The John Halford Prize for Composition at Trinity College of Music, London.

Piano Teaching.

I teach piano to pupils of all ages (from five years upwards) and at all levels, across a breadth of repertoire and styles, from beginner to diploma level (including ATCL and LTCL).  Pupils are prepared for Trinity College London grade examinations, for which almost all achieve a Merit or Distinction.  Examinations, however, are regarded as useful milestones rather than as an end in themselves.  Some of the more goal-orientated and confident pupils also compete successfully in music festivals.  Recent prize-winners include Aurora Edindon in the 2015 Sutton Music Festival 8 years and under class (327), Zerlin Lam in the 2016 Reigate and Redhill Music Festival week 1 Grade One and Own choice 8 years classes) and Sebastian Davis in the 2016 Reigate and Redhill Music Festival week 2 Own choice 7 years and under class.  Other pupils choose not to participate in festivals or to take examinations, but to play purely for their own enjoyment and relaxation.

I have been teaching the piano for over forty years, including twenty-three years as a Visiting Music Teacher in independent schools.  I taught piano and harpsichord at the Francis Holland School, Clarence Gate, Regent's Park, London for eleven years; I taught piano briefly at Wimbledon High School for Girls and, for thirteen years, at St. Teresa's School, Effingham Hill, Surrey.

I accept pupils and give piano lessons according to the stipulations and recommendations of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (which organisation elected me as an accredited member of its Register of Private Professional Teachers, after exhaustive scrutiny of my modus operandi and having obtained thoroughly-validated references from within the profession).  The terms and conditions under which I teach privately are contained in a document entitled An agreement for music tuition, which is supplied as a hard copy to all prospective clients when I meet them for an initial consultation.

I take an holistic approach to teaching and follow the precepts of Matthay with an element of Alexander Technique to ensure that pupils learn about correct hand and arm position plus good posture at the piano.  Students are encouraged to play duets and in ensemble with other instrumentalists.  A firm emphasis is placed on sound piano technique and specific aspects of pianism such as development of a wide dynamic range, a good cantabile tone and effective use of the pedals.  Grade and diploma examinations for pianists - for those who wish to undertake them - are arranged routinely with Trinity College London, unless particular circumstances dictate otherwise.  Students who do elect to undertake examinations are encouraged to balance their prescribed study with playing of a wide range of contrasting music purely for their own personal pleasure:  a discernible element of playing solely for enjoyment is recommended for even the most studious of pupils.

Pupils' Achievement.

Recent pupil successes include an Associateship Diploma from Trinity College London (ATCL), with Distinction (91%), for Dr. Hans Krebs, a Danish pupil for whom this was his first-ever music examination, taken in middle age.  He has now added to this the Licentiate Diploma (LTCL). A Distinction at Performer's Certificate has also been gained by Andy Nicholls  Further pupils are preparing for the Trinity College London Performer's Certificate and are aiming for diplomas in due course.

Meeting the Prospective New Pupil.

Prospective pupils are most welcome to contact me in order to arrange an initial meeting. This is an opportunity to discuss aims and objectives and to ask questions and to establish a personal rapport.  This is most definitely not a formal audition and prospective new pupils with prior experience are not obliged to play on this occasion, but I will look for a certain level of motivation and commitment and, in the case of children, parental support.

My Teaching Instrument.

My teaching instrument is a lovely 1917 grand piano by, arguably, the world's greatest piano maker:  the Viennese firm of L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH. The instrument was restored specifically for me by the highly-esteemed and Broadwood-trained technician/tuner, Jean-Marc Boisset at Piano Renaissance in South London - Telephone:  (+44)(0)208-674-0246 and Mobile:  (+44)(0)7780-672461.  This piano has, undoubtedly, influenced the development of my pupils' technique, tonal control and musicianship.

Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and John Ireland are the mainstays of my own repertoire.  The Bösendorfer instrument enhances my enjoyment of playing, while its tonal and technical qualities have also influenced my work as a composer.  The Bösendorfer instrument is typical of that manufacturer's style:  the tone is rich and mellow, with incisiveness and power.  Bösendorfer has been and is the piano-maker of choice for such luminaries as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Matt Bellamy, Leonard Bernstein, Victor Borge, Alfred Brendel, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Plácido Domingo, Peter Gabriel, George Harrison, Quincy Jones, Yehudi Menuhin, Olivier Messiaen, Dudley Moore, Oscar Peterson, André Previn, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir András Schiff, George Shearing, Frank Sinatra, Sting, John Williams, Stevie Wonder and Frank Zappa, amongst many other distinguished performers associated with the marque.

Pupils' Fine Pianos and the regular Piano Soirée / Party Scheme.

Inspired by my piano, several pupils have acquired significant new instruments.  These have included a Bösendorfer Model 290 Imperial grand piano (their largest concert instrument at 9' 6"/290cms. and equipped with an extra nine bass notes down to Bottom C, as written for by Debussy, Ravel, Busoni and Bartók, among others), a new Steinway Model B grand piano and a Fazioli Model F183 grand piano.

A regular series of piano soirées is held for adult pupils, hosted by kind pupils in pleasant and spacious homes, while piano parties are also held for younger pupils.  These gatherings present an opportunity to try out pieces on a fine instrument in front of a small, friendly and non-judgemental audience of fellow pupils, before going on to enjoy food and drinks where they can "compare notes" and socialise.  The motivational benefits of these popular events are considerable and self-evident.  Adult pupils also participate in residential courses (e.g. Chetham's Piano Summer School, Music at Langham House, Benslow Music Trust, etc.).

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