Fully qualified ISM registered piano and music theory teacher
More than 25 years of experience as a piano and music theory teacher.
I am a fully qualified graduate piano teacher aged 42, 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.
Catchment area - Burnham on Crouch to Maldon/South Woodham Ferrers.
I am based in Burnham on Crouch, Essex, UK; which is near Maldon and South Woodham Ferrers (these are the two nearest major towns within the Chelmsford postcode area); and so the catchment area for students includes Burnham on Crouch and the rest of the Dengie Peninsula, up to Chelmsford itself. (Find out more below.) Home visits are possible if not too far.
Learn for fun or do exams.
I prepare students for all grades of ABRSM exams, 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.
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.
For students that are too far away, I provide online tuition via Skype/FaceTime or correspondence. 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.
All ages and all levels.
I teach children and adults, all ages are welcome, and I am very patient whether you are a complete beginner or advanced.
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.
or find out more about online and in-person lessons below. Keep scrolling, there are hundreds of pages on this website to explore, including videos, tutorials, articles etc.
Piano and music theory tuition in Essex, UK
Catchment Area Within Essex
I am based in Burnham on Crouch and welcome residents of Burnham and the surrounding areas, including: South Woodham Ferrers, Wickford, Maldon, Chelmsford and the Dengie Peninsula - which includes North Fambridge, Althorne, Latchingdon, Southminster and Maylandsea. If you are in or near these towns you will find I am not too far from you. Home visits are possible for local students if nearby. Students from other parts of Essex also come to me, and some even travel quite a long way for their lessons. I am happy to schedule longer infrequent sessions for students who have to travel a long way, subject to availability. Some students like to combine regular online lessons with occasional in-person lessons in order to limit travel whilst still giving themselves the opportunity to play on a high quality piano (i.e. my piano). If you are not within my catchment area for in-person tuition, you are welcome to enquire about my current spaces for online piano lessons by Skype/FaceTime or video exchange. For students who come to me or take lessons online there is a discount available.
Scroll down for more videos and information about online lessons.
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
Online tuition by Skype, FaceTime or correspondence - piano or music theory
One of my most successful piano teaching methods 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 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.
The pros of 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 faster progress and picked up much more than they do with normal lessons. 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:
The pros of online piano lessons by Skype or FaceTime
When it comes to live online lessons via Skype or FaceTime, the situation is equally advantageous for different reasons. Unlike when I have taught in students' homes, I am teaching from my own piano with all my teaching resources to hand, so I can offer more effective teaching due to the professional set up. 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. 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. They 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, Skype or FaceTime lessons have proven to be an effective way of having lessons, and we (that is, the students and I) tend to forget we're even in a video call.
Read about how Skype lessons can develop cortical motor learning even more than traditional lessons. Read about how I have found children to be more focused during Skype lessons compared with when those same children have in-person lessons.
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 good sound quality that is possible via Skype and FaceTime video calls.
Personal tuition via distance learning
Whether you choose video call lessons by Skype/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 a more efficient delivery method, and the ease and convenience of using a phone or tablet. Just read the reviews. If you're not sure whether it will work for you, we can arrange a chat or trial lesson over Skype or FaceTime and I'll demonstrate its effectiveness. For video exchange, you get a free trial lesson, so you can find out for yourself how effective it is, risk free.
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.
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.
Sheet music and learning resources to download
If you explore my videos, articles and tutorials you will find various free learning resources to download; such as music theory worksheets on my music theory tutorials page. You can also buy the sheet music for an easy version of Fur Elise along with demonstration videos - these can be found on the same page as my demonstration of the original version of Fur Elise here. You can also buy an eBook I have written, along with three piano studies especially designed for developing your technique on the piano here. This package is for intermediate to advanced players. Alternatively, you can buy a beginner's lesson package which includes nine PDFs to download here. Keep exploring and you will find many more resources to download for free as well as to purchase.
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.
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
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