Our staff bring a wealth of experience to their teaching and enjoy active performing and recording careers. You will benefit from their expertise in your weekly one-to-one lesson as well as participating in regular performance classes for solo and chamber music in either one of our concert halls. Students may also elect to share their 1-1 lessons between two principal study teachers, a practice which is encouraged and supported by the department. Students also have weekly opportunities to work with other members of the keyboard faculty, either by signing up for additional 1-1 piano classes or from the teaching rota in operation for each performance class. The department also runs an innovative, internal digital platform where all performance classes and concerts are recorded and then stored in a digital archive for our students to consult throughout their studies. This system is supported by a rich array of peer and tutor feedback and has become one of the key innovations in the department’s working practice, enabling students to watch, listen and reflect on their playing as well as supporting the work and development of their peers.
Principal study lessons and performance classes are also complemented by a wide variety of supporting study options, including classical improvisation, conducting, piano technique, organ and harpsichord seminars, and French repertoire classes with world renowned pianist and scholar, Roy Howat. Students may also make quality CD recordings in our state of the art recording studio.
Opportunities to perform are one of the key drivers of the department. In addition to regular showcase concerts, masterclasses, an annual Piano Festival and the Plug contemporary music festival, keyboard students may also compete in over ten, internal competitions, including a concerto competition, classical concerto competition, Mozart piano concerto competition, duo-piano competition, Debussy prize, and Walcer recital prizes, a rare Russian music prize and rare romantic music prizes and the prestigious Governor’s recital prize. Prize money for the various internal competitions total in excess of £4,000.00 per annum.
Our students regularly win top prizes in many international and national competitions. During the past year alone, RCS piano students have won a total of 7 top prizes at international competitions, including 2nd place and Audience Prize at the Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv and First Prizes at the UNISA South Africa competition, Rio International Piano Competition, Ciurlionis Competition and Morocco Philharmonic Competition.