Welcome to my website! My name is John Duffy and I’m an experienced Musician and Instrumental Teacher with a BMus(hons) degree, performance diplomas in keyboard and over twenty year’s experience in music teaching, in the Edinburgh schools and in private practice. I’m a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians with registered private teacher status and up-to-date DBS certificate.
Piano Lessons – I offer lessons in Piano and Music Theory to pupils in the Edinburgh and Lothians, and welcome enquiries from intermediate and advanced students (ABRSM/Trinity Grades 6–8 & Diploma level). I also have some spaces for beginners, and those working through the earlier grades (ABRSM/Trinity Grades 1–5), so, if you’re completely new to the piano or if you’ve had some lessons in the past, or you’re a more advanced student, please do get in touch, I’ll be happy to hear from you.
My Students – The majority of my pupils tend to be in full-time education of one sort or another (from the Independent and City of Edinburgh Schools), and those at College/University, however I do welcome enquiries from older students. Some of my pupils have made the grade to study music at University, and others are now University students studying other subjects, but with a strong interest in music.
Beginners – I also welcome enquiries about lessons for beginners. It’s good to start playing the piano from an early age – as early as possible – but in my opinion, teaching piano to very young children is a ‘specialist’ type of teaching and as a general rule I don’t really teach children younger than about 7 or 8 years old. That said, if you would like some more information about how best to start your child on piano at an early age (approx. age 4+), please do get in touch and I’ll be happy to advise. You might also like to check out the following website https://www.thecuriouspianoteachers.org which is an excellent resource to get you started.
Style of teaching – As a teacher you’ll find my style to be relaxed but focussed on helping you to achieve your own musical goals, and, maybe even go further in music than you think might be possible! Regular daily practice is important, but I hope my lessons will inspire you to see practise, not as a drudgery, but as enjoyable, fun and the only way to make great progress on piano and become a good musician.
Exams or no exams? – There are many different ways of learning to play piano. The traditional exam system doesn’t suit everyone. Music exams are not the only way to learn, and if this system doesn’t work for you, it’s absolutely fine to learn piano without the added pressure and stress of trying to achieve a distinction rather than a merit!
First steps – Before starting piano lessons proper please give me a call on 0796-791-1443 to have a chat about your requirements, or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trial Lesson – Following on from this, I can offer you a time for a Trial Lesson in your own home or other venue as agreed. The main purpose of a trial lesson is to meet you, say ‘Hello’, and to have a further chat about your musical goals and requirements. This Trial lesson isn’t an ‘audition’, but is a great opportunity to meet informally and agree a plan for lessons. Also, if you’re happy to play me something on the piano at this stage, it would be very helpful in showing me what stage you’re at. But, again, I would say a Trial lesson isn’t an audition, so don’t feel you need to perform a Chopin Etude to impress your new teacher! It’s just an opportunity for me to assess the standard you’ve reached, and discuss your goals for the future.
Piano or Keyboard? – Incidentally, whatever age or stage you’re at: diploma student or beginner, it’s really important to have a suitable and appropriate instrument to play. For some that will be a good quality upright piano, for others a digital piano or even a keyboard. If you need some advice, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Learning to play on a poor quality acoustic piano can have a negative effect on your progress, so it’s important to start right on a suitable instrument – not necessarily an expensive one – the ‘right’ instrument for you could be a keyboard (costing £100 – £300), or a more expensive upright acoustic piano costing thousands!
Regular lessons – Following on from your Trial lesson, all being well, and presuming both teacher and pupil are happy to go ahead, I would offer you a regular lesson slot. Generally speaking, lessons will be given once per week, however this may be increased to twice per week if required, for example when preparing for a music exam or concert and extra help is required. For advanced students lessons can be either weekly, fortnightly or even monthly, depending on your requirements.
Special lessons – I also offer supervised practice lessons where you think this would be helpful, and special courses of study for pupils who like to have a some lessons during the summer holidays. In recent years I’ve taught short-courses in classical improvisation and an introduction to jazz piano.
Student Concerts – On occasion I like to arrange a get-together for students and families for a student concert. Unfortunately this hasn’t been possible lately due to lockdown, but I’m hopeful this can be re-started soon when restrictions allow.
Music Theory – A study of the Theory of Music is a really important part of your overall musical development, and I always strongly recommend that all my pupils are engaged in this type of study. Not just in order to pass Grade 5 Theory exams, but as a vital component of your musicianship. I do offer a special course for those preparing for Music Theory exams including Grades 5–8 Theory, but would also encourage all my pupils to go further than this, and where possible, consider their wider musical development by studying subjects such as general musicianship, improvisation, composition and music history. It’s not really possible to become a good musician just by working through graded exams, so time spent studying these other subjects will be time well spent.
Skype or Face-to-face lessons? – The months of lockdown have caused my entire music teaching practice to move online, but, with the easing of lockdown I’m working towards moving it off-line again! and back to regular face-to-face lessons – all being well – from Summer 2021 onwards, and hopefully reaching a return to ‘normal’ from about mid-August 2021. For those who would prefer online lessons, I will continue to offer this option on an ongoing basis beyond lockdown.
Please do get in touch – I’ll be happy to hear from you if you’d like to enquire about lessons. Trial lessons will take place from August onwards, and, all being well, lessons returning to something more like normal from the start of the new school term and first semester at University.
More Information – You’ll find more information about my music teaching practice on the other pages of this website. Please sign up to my blog to keep up-to-date with the latest news.
Latest from the Blog
Thank you to all! Well, it has been a long time, but, with the much anticipated (and welcome!) lifting of Covid-19 restrictions due to come into force on 26 April, I can announce that I’m planning a phased return to face-to-face teaching from this date onwards. A big ‘Thank You!’ to all my excellent, hard-workingContinue reading “Face-to-face Lessons Resume – 26 April”
In light of the ongoing coronavirus situation all regular face-to-face music lessons have been postponed, BUT, music teaching continues via Skype. Please contact me for further information, and details of how to get set up for Skype lessons.
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