Important notice: During the Coronavirus crisis I am only teaching students remotely; e.g. via Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Facebook video calling; and via video exchange (correspondence) for people with slower internet connections or who find it more convenient. Remote tuition online 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 lessons here: live video call lessons or video exchange correspondence lessons.
More than 25 years of experience as a piano and music theory teacher.
I am a fully qualified graduate piano teacher aged 43, 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.
Catchment area - Burnham on Crouch to 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 if you come to me instead of having lessons online, you will have the opportunity to learn on a top of the range acoustic upright piano (link takes you to a demonstration). This will enable you to learn correct technique when it comes to control of touch and tone, right from the start.
Online tuition as well as in person.
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.
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 am not currently offering home visits but if you prefer lessons in your own home, click here.
Keep scrolling to find out more about online and in-person 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.
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. If you are not familiar with Burnham, the surrounding areas include: South Woodham Ferrers, Wickford, Maldon, Purleigh 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. 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 don't live near me, subject to availability. Some students like to combine regular online lessons with occasional in-person lessons in order to limit travel. 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.
Scroll down for more videos and information about online lessons.
Online tuition by Skype, FaceTime 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 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 or FaceTime lessons might suit you, and the advantages of Skype lessons over home visits.
Many students prefer live online lessons via 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. 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 Skype or FaceTime 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, Skype or 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 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 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 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