"Putting Musicianship
into Practice."

Piano Lessons

Music Box Oxford

Piano Box: is taught by Noel Rainbird

I have been teaching the piano for over 30 years and have a piano teaching diploma from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

CPT members logo I am a member of the European Piano Teachers Association and am a graduate of its Piano Teachers Course, the UK’s leading professional development course for piano teachers. I am also a member of The Curious Piano Teachers, an online and on-going professional development group

My guiding principles are:
- to make learning the piano a musical experience
- to establish musical concepts and general musicianship skills
- to develop pianistic skills
- to create a positive environment in which to learn

I enjoy teaching all ages and stages, and teach from my home in Wolvercote.

I have particular expertise in teaching younger children from 4 years old.

I also really enjoy teaching adults. Beginners and those returning to the piano are equally welcome!

I am also a professional bassoon player with many years’ experience teaching and playing modern, baroque and classical bassoons in orchestras in the UK and abroad. I have a bassoon teaching diploma from the Royal Academy of Music and am currently the bassoon teacher at Oxford High School. If you are interested in individual bassoon lessons, please get in touch with me via the Contact Us tab.

Younger Children:

I use the Dogs and Birds books, a Kodaly based approach devised by Elza Lusher specifically for children aged 4 – 7. I also use the Piano Safari method and Piano Adventures.

In a typical 30-minute lesson we will cover a range of activities at and away from the piano to develop technical skills as well as a secure sense of pulse, rhythm and pitch.

Learning to play an instrument at an early age is known to improve concentration, co-ordination, patience and perseverance as well as to boost memory and relaxation.

Older Children:

I use a variety of different books. My aim is to develop all-round musicianship through the piano.

What this means in practice is:
a secure sense of pulse and rhythm
a strong inner ear
an ability to improvise and compose
technical piano skills

We will achieve these in a variety of ways: listening to music, singing, playing by ear, reading and sight-reading music, improvising, memorising and composing. Opportunities to rehearse and perform are also vital and I plan pupils' concerts, usually twice a year.

Adults: often say to me

"I wish I’d learned when I was younger.

I'd love to be able to play!"

or “I wish I hadn’t given up!"

Just as for children, playing and listening to music is known to improve concentration, co-ordination, patience and perseverance as well as to boost memory and relaxation. All this while having the chance to learn beautiful music and enrich daily life!

It's never too late to start; why not give me a ring and come along for a lesson?!



In order to make real progress your child will need to practice regularly and you will have to help them with this. In my experience it is best to be very realistic about what else is going on in the week and plan accordingly. A weekly practice schedule can be useful. You should aim for 20 – 30 minutes five times a week (10 minutes for younger children). This can be done at any point in the day and week, but should be focused and purposeful. Shorter more frequent practices are much more beneficial than one long practice the day before a lesson! I will ask you to bring a notebook to every lesson so that I can write clearly what needs to be practised. I also take notes to keep track of progress and to plan next steps.

It helps if your piano is somewhere where there are few other distractions, and if it is kept tuned. I am happy to advise about piano tuners.

Music Books:

I will ask you to buy some music for your child. I know that music is expensive so will only ask you to buy books that are necessary for your child to progress and that will last for a while.

I have a large repertoire of music which I am happy to lend, but pupils who are serious about their piano playing will want to begin to build up their own collection.


I am happy for children to take exams, and equally happy if they do not want to. Exams can provide a useful structure and goal for learning. But they are not for everyone, and the most important thing is that you enjoy playing and want to learn more.

Playing together:

This happens as soon as possible with me accompanying many simple pieces.

Thereafter I try to get pupils together to play in canon (playing a piece as a 'round'), learn duets or even trios. Pianists often lose out on the chance to play with others until they have been playing for a long time and are more technically competent. There is, however, repertoire for 2, 3 even 4 pianists to play together from a much earlier stage, and I encourage this wherever possible. Alongside the chance to learn invaluable ensemble skills, playing together is great fun!

Teaching times:

After school:

Mondays – Thursdays: 3.30 – 4.30pm and 5 – 6.30pm

I also teach:

Monday - Wednesday afternoons: 1 - 3pm

Term Dates:

I will send you dates for the whole year in September. I ask that you commit to these dates for several reasons. In order for your child to make real progress, we need enough regular lessons to have sufficient time to cover a broad repertoire, aural, sight-reading and musicianship skills. In addition to this, I make a commitment to you of offering as professional, first rate and comprehensive an approach to piano teaching as I possibly can. Your child will be a more competent and confident musician who enjoys playing and learning and will recognise their own progress if you too commit to making the most of lessons and practice.

I ask that you commit to a term at a time, and that you give me half a term’s notice if you decide to stop lessons.

School Holidays

I am happy to teach throughout the year, including school holidays.

Holidays often represent a good opportunity to learn when children have more time and are less tired. This can make a real difference and I have seen children make great progress, especially during the long summer holidays when they are able to absorb more, and be more experimental and creative. We can rearrange lesson times to suit us all; mornings lessons are generally not a problem!

Terms and Conditions:

Fees from September 2016:

One to one piano lessons:
£20 for 30 minutes
£30 for 45 minutes
£40 per hour

I offer new pupils a 3 week trial to see how things go. Thereafter, fees are due in advance. I will send an invoice.

Missed lessons:

If you need to re-arrange or miss a lesson, please give me as much notice as possible and at least 48 hours’ notice so I can try and help. My teaching timetable is busy so I cannot guarantee that I can always reorganise things though I will do my best. If I am unable to rearrange, just as with other commitments such as swimming or ballet lessons, you will, I’m afraid, be liable for the cost of the lesson. You are, of course, also welcome to try and swap lessons with other pupils. I will make reasonable time available in half-term and other holidays to catch up occasional missed lessons.