I just wanted to let you know that I am really enjoying my piano lessons with you. I really like your style of teaching. You are always so encouraging, as well as giving great ideas and techniques of ways to improve.
I also really like doing the lessons via FaceTime, it really suits me being able to do it from home. I get just as much out of the lesson as face-to-face so it’s definitely how I would like to continue.
Fully qualified and experienced ISM registered piano & music theory teacher
Ruth Pheasant BA (Hons) Music FISM
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More than 25 years of experience as a piano and music theory teacher.
I am a fully qualified graduate piano teacher aged 44, and I have been teaching privately full time since completing my music degree in 1999 (BA honours music, speciality piano). I taught part time for six years before that (since gaining grade 8 piano, and then music A level). At the same time I worked as an accompanist for ABRSM graded exams.
Learn for fun or do exams. Lessons tailored to your needs.
I prepare students for all grades of ABRSM exams, as well as diplomas, and I have an excellent record of exam results. I also teach people who just want to learn for pleasure. I teach all styles of music and tailor the lessons to suit you. When it comes to using a teaching method, I don't believe that rigidly sticking to one method works well for every learner, because everyone has different needs. Instead I work with your individual needs, and I identify and build upon your own strengths to find a way of learning that suits you best.
All ages and levels.
I teach children and adults, all ages from 4 upwards are welcome, and I am very patient whether you are a complete beginner or advanced.
Music theory included.
I include music theory as part of the learning process because it is an important aspect of mastering any instrument, and I prepare students for ABRSM theory exams (and any other exam board), any grade. I am also happy to provide sessions focused solely on music theory.
Lessons worldwide, UK based - Burnham on Crouch near Maldon/South Woodham Ferrers, Essex.
I am based in Burnham on Crouch, Essex, UK; which is on the Dengie Peninsula, near Maldon and South Woodham Ferrers. I teach from home, and currently all lessons are online via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts or correspondence.
Before the pandemic I taught many pupils in person, and for students who were too far away I provided online tuition via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or correspondence. Some students who lived close to me chose to have lessons online because it suited them better. This means I have been experienced with online lessons since long before the pandemic. Now all lessons are online. This has proven to be equally as effective as in-person lessons for children and adults alike. There is no real difference, it is just another means of "meeting up". I have taught students all over the world in this way, including ones preparing for exams who have gone on to achieve very high marks. Find out more.
Fully vetted - qualifications and references verified by the ISM.
I am a Fellow of The Incorporated Society of Musicians and I am also an ISM registered private teacher.
I have completed the NSPCC child protection training course.
DBS checked - enhanced disclosure.
I have completed the NSPCC child protection training course.
DBS checked - enhanced disclosure.
I had been learning piano with weekly face to face lessons, from a local teacher, for about two years when the first pandemic lockdown put paid to all that. As an older adult, with no musical background, I felt I had invested quite a lot of time and effort already and didn’t want to lose it all, so I looked around for an on-line alternative. That’s when I found Ruth and I’m so glad I did.
We started off with a couple of ‘video link’ lessons, which were a great way to introduce ourselves and get to know each other a little. Ruth immediately came across as very supportive and encouraging, coupled with a strong sense of calmness and patience as I struggled to play on live video. However, I was worried that if I couldn’t demonstrate my developing skills adequately on a video link it would be difficult to move forward. To help get over my performance nerves, Ruth suggested that another option that she calls ‘video exchange’, might suit me better and we have found that this weekly regime works really well.
It works like this: Ruth sends me a lesson plan for the week by email, often with one or more short video links so that I can see and hear her demonstrating how to play a piece (we both have copies of a workbook or piece of music we are working on). During the week I make video recordings of my own playing of the various exercises and pieces, and then upload them to Google Drive (you could use other platforms). I can then copy a link address for each of my recordings into my email reply to Ruth so that she can view them.
Some of the great things about this process include having a written record of each lesson plan (that I can refer back to in the future) and having video examples of how to play correctly. It’s also extremely helpful to be able to look at my own videos to see and hear how I am playing, check my hand positions and timing etc.
I’m quite used to self-directed study at home so I’m very comfortable with this arrangement. I’m also enjoying learning more music theory and Ruth is brilliant at replying to email requests for help and providing detailed feedback on my progress on both theory and practice. She also has a lot of helpful guidance on various topics available on her web-site. Other students might find it useful to supplement video exchanges with occasional face-to-face video link sessions.
In conclusion, I think this is an excellent way to learn to play. I have all the benefits of working with my own personal and very experienced piano teacher, combined with the flexibility to practice and record my efforts at times when it suits me.
Thank you so much, Ruth.
Kathryn, online student via FaceTime and video exchange.
Ruth has been teaching my 8 year old daughter on Zoom since September 2020. It has been an absolute pleasure to see her enjoy her lessons and progress to obtain a distinction in her Initial ABRSM. Noynika is enthused to practice both her exam and non-exam pieces without needing any encouragement from me. Ruth is a calm, patient and dedicated teacher and I would highly recommend her.
Important notice: During the Coronavirus crisis I am only teaching remotely (online); e.g. via Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger video calling; and via video exchange (correspondence) for people with slower internet connections or who find it more convenient. Remote piano and music theory tuition is something I already have a lot of experience with and have been set up to do since long before the crisis. Find out more about your options for online piano or music theory lessons here:
Update May 2021: I am still teaching exclusively online for the foreseeable future. As well as being safer, this has proven to be more effective and convenient. Social distancing during face-to-face lessons makes demonstrations less practical because a close up view of the demonstration is not possible. Demonstrations during online lessons are more effective because I can move the camera to give a close up view of my hands on the piano keyboard. Read testimonials above from pupils who switched from in-person lessons to online lessons.
For more details about the effectiveness of live video call lessons (e.g. Zoom, Skype or FaceTime) click here.
Keep scrolling to find out more about various options for online piano lessons. There are hundreds of pages on this website to explore, including videos, tutorials, articles etc. Read more about Skype tuition or correspondence lessons.
Ruth is a skilled, knowledgeable, patient and encouraging teacher. It's a pleasure to have lessons with her, especially as I am returning to the piano after decades of neglect! She brings so many aspects of her knowledge and musicality to lessons, not just technical know-how and teaching ability but her passion for music too.
Mary-Ann, Burnham on Crouch, Essex.
Online tuition by Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or correspondence - piano or music theory
One of my most popular online teaching systems is one to one video exchange. I have taught both children and adults all over the world in this way; including people living as far afield as Australia, Egypt and the USA; and as close to home as my own county, Essex. Read about how it works, why it is so effective, and how it has benefitted some of my students from their own points of view: Online piano lessons by video exchange. I also teach live online lessons to both children and adults via video calling on an iPad using Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. Any tablet or phone that supports video calls can be used. Read more here: Skype lessons. Find out about my online music theory tuition here: Online music theory lessons.
Why choose online piano lessons by video exchange?
In a nutshell, online video exchange lessons are where a student sends me a video of themselves playing whatever they have been practising, and I respond with constructive feedback and any necessary demonstrations. It is not much different from the usual process of having lessons, where the student plays to the teacher, and the teacher responds with feedback. The only difference is it doesn't happen in real time. When I first started offering online piano lessons and other educational courses, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how incredibly effective they can be for people learning piano. I have found that my online piano students have made fast progress and picked up new pieces of music in a very short amount of time. I have put this down to the fact that recording yourself and sharing your videos is very motivating as it gives you a definite goal to aim for; as well as the fact that instruction is more easily retained when it can be re-read or re-watched. The results have been consistently good. The advantages include:
Most of the videos linked to on this page were recorded using an iPhone or iPad, so you can hear for yourself the kind of sound quality that is possible during video exchange lessons.
Why Skype, FaceTime or Zoom lessons might suit you, and the advantages of video call lessons over home visits.
Many students prefer live online lessons via video call such as Zoom, Skype or FaceTime as opposed to in-person lessons due to the convenience of having lessons in their own homes, and yet at the same time the teacher is in their own studio with all their teaching resources to hand. Unlike when I have taught in students' homes, I am teaching from my own piano with everything I need within reach - such as metronomes, a library of sheet music, music theory games for children, stationery for lesson notes etc. - so I can offer more effective teaching due to the professional set up. All this equipment would be impossible to cart around with me if I was visiting the student (particularly my whole library of sheet music!), so during home visits there is inevitably a lack of resources. Zoom, Skype or FaceTime lessons can help overcome these significant problems if the student particularly wants lessons in their own home.
Pupils have the advantage of having lessons on their own piano in a familiar environment without having to pay extra for a teacher to visit them (this extra call out expense can significantly increase the cost of lessons - not only do you have to cover the teacher's cost of travelling to you, but you also have to cover their time spent travelling. Often this travel time is more than the lesson time itself).
Another advantage of video call lessons is that I don't have to waste time swapping seats with the pupil and getting into just the right position every time I need to demonstrate something, because I am already sitting at my piano. Pupils can see what I'm demonstrating clearly because I can pull my camera in for a close up view of my keyboard.
Piano students have the added convenience of being able to use their phones or tablets for the video calls.
In my experience, for these reasons, and many more; Zoom, Skype and FaceTime lessons have proven to be an effective way of having lessons, and certainly a much better option than home visits if the student is unable to travel to the teacher.
Read more about how to get started with remote lessons via Zoom, Skype and FaceTime etc.
Read about how I have found children to be more focused during Skype lessons compared with when those same children have in-person lessons.
Personal tuition via distance learning
Whether you choose video call lessons by Zoom, Skype or FaceTime; or video exchange lessons; remote lessons have proven to be remarkably effective and rewarding, as they still provide personal tuition and interaction, but using an alternative delivery method, and the ease and convenience of using a phone or tablet. Just read the reviews.
I couldn't recommend Ruth high enough, My daughter is now about to train for her grade 5 after Ruth has successfully taken her up through all the previous grades. Ruth is understanding, has the patience of a saint and never complains if lessons are cancelled or postponed, A very professional, kind and extremely competent person. If you choose Ruth as your piano instructor you will not be disappointed.
Michele, Billericay, Essex.
Articles and tutorials
I have written lots of articles, piano tutorials and music theory tutorials to help beginners learn to play piano and read music; and to help intermediate to advanced players improve their practical skills and understanding of music. My piano tutorials include instructions for various scales, arpeggios and chords; as well as how to approach learning the piano if you are a complete beginner. You can find all these resources here: Articles and tutorials
You can watch videos of my piano playing. I have recorded many pieces and included some useful information about each one, which will benefit you if you are planning to learn any of the pieces I have demonstrated, or if you just want to improve your understanding of music generally. These are mainly intermediate to advanced piano pieces, but there are some demonstrations of early grade pieces too. You can find a few video demonstrations of technical exercises in the tutorials section of my site. You can also view a selection of my videos further down this page.
Compositions and arrangements
You can listen to a few of my original compositions and arrangements here: Compositions.
Testimonials and reviews
Read what students and parents of students have said about my teaching, including both online and in-person tuition: Reviews and testimonials.
We have known Ruth since my daughter was 5 (she is now almost 13). With Ruth's patience and guidance not only has my daughter flown through to grade 4, but my son has also achieved grade 2. Ruth is the calmest, kindest and most patient teacher I have ever known. She is wonderful with the children and always has a smile on her face. I cannot recommend Ruth highly enough, especially to those who have young children as she is a natural with them.
Pip, Brentwood, Essex
Ruth is a great teacher! Very supportive and always answers my questions. I have found her online lessons perfectly fit in with my busy lifestyle. I can re-view her videos and emailed instructions (I obviously don't get things first time round!) I can also see my progress as it's all recorded and saved. And I find that really motivating. She has personalised every lesson. I can even learn away from the piano... so no excuses! Haha! And I love her cat that makes an appearance every now and then in the videos. I've nicknamed him 'Cameo Cat'
Sarah, online adult student