Search

 

Keyboard

The Keyboard Department at St Mary’s Music School has six piano teaching staff: John Cameron (Head of Keyboard), Richard Beauchamp, Helena Buckmayer, Elena Fischer-Dieskau, Margaret Wakeford and James Willshire. They all have extensive experience as performers and teachers.

First-study pianists have up to two hours of individual piano lessons each week timetabled within the school day. They have time for practice, lots of performing opportunities with lunchtime concerts and weekly Performance Classes. Pupils also benefit from hour-long weekly Performance Practice sessions when teachers, pupils and guests present on a range of topics, such as The Art of Rehearsal, Piano Maintenance, Self-promotion, Stretching and Warm-ups, etc.  Dalcroze and Kodaly are also explored as part of the Aural Programme.

The school hosts regular trips to hear some of the world’s finest exponents.

First-study pianists also have opportunities through a piano forum to work collaboratively with singers and instrumentalists. With a broad mix of piano types and makes including Steinway (grands and uprights), Bechstein, Yamaha and Erard, numerous multiple piano rooms means that concerto preparation work is also possible. Ensemble work with their fellow pupils is a large part of the pianists’ life here at school. Twice-weekly chamber music sessions are part of the timetabled day on Tuesdays and Thursdays allowing the exploration of the vast array of ensemble repertoire.

The faculty hosts concerts each term at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians and pianists play regularly at external events around the country.

Pianists also perform in the school’s own concerts of a wide range of music, including classical, jazz and traditional, in venues including the Queen’s Hall, Greyfriars Kirk, St Mary’s Cathedral and the Jam House. Strong links with the RNCM and universities such as St Andrews give regular opportunities for pianists to be involved in chamber music events nationally as well as in Edinburgh.

Masterclasses, talks, concerts and individual lessons are given by eminent visiting musicians throughout the year. Recent visitors have included Andrew Ball, Joseph Long, Leon McCawley, Steven Osborne, Martin Roscoe, Simon Smith, Susan Tomes, Danny Driver and Iain Burnside. Steven Osborne and Simon Smith are former pupils, as too are pianists Alan Benzie, David Gray, James Clapperton, Christopher Guild, David Horne and Sarah Park, to mention just a few

Practice Supervisors are often on hand to help with all musical matters. A weekly Alexander Technique lesson is also offered. 

There are strong links with many orchestras and ensembles who routinely bring their music to our city. Indeed, we have many active partnerships, performance and accompaniment opportunities, visits and masterclasses all the way through the year. 

The school boasts a vast variety of pianos, three harpsichords and a three-manual Collins Organ. Edinburgh has one of the UK’s richest collections of organs, both old and new. St Cecilia’s Hall is an incredibly valuable collection of early keyboard instruments. Nearby Edinburgh Society of Musicians has two new Steinway Model 'B' pianos (and also a harpsichord) for our use.

Organ Studies

Pupils are formally assessed on technical matters, performance recitals and presentation throughout their time at St Mary’s Music School, except in their final year when the focus shifts to conservatoire/university auditions and public performance. 

Pupils participate in competitions, local, national and international and take ABRSM exams to gain experience and as a measure of progress. Our pupils have gained considerable success in high profile contests such as the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the BBC Jazz and Folk Awards along with the former Moray Piano Competition, British Flute Society Competition and the Royal National Mòd. Pupils often work towards the Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

  Composing, the second in a series of four short films

 

 

Keyboard Staff

Head of Keyboard:
Jazz Piano:
Harpsichord:
Accordion:
1