Today we are learning the Blues

For many years as a piano teacher, I taught ‘the blues’ along these lines:

Today we’re going to learn the blues. Blues is the simplest form of jazz. It’s based on three chords, I, IV and V from a major scale. Here’s the 12-bar blues pattern. Let’s practise the chords. Hold each chord for four beats. Here’s the ‘blues scale’. Here are some licks that might sound good. Try them. Now mess around with the notes yourself. Here are some riffs that might sound good. Try substituting these for the chords [etc.] Read more >

Jazz for classically trained pianists

Below is my article from the Music Teacher magazine UK, November 2013. in 2016, Improv Exercises for Classically Trained Beginners book was published based on my experiences of teaching jazz and improvisation to the classically trained pupils. Buy book on: Read more >

Safeguarding and the Private Piano Studio

It is extremely important as a private music educator that you take appropriate and sensible action to protect both yourself and the students.

Though the advantages of working from home are enormous, it is extremely important as a private music educator that you take appropriate and sensible action to protect both yourself and the students who enter your home to study with you. Safeguarding training and DBS checks are mandatory for every teacher who works in educational establishments.

Though this is not the case for private tutors, it cannot be emphasised too strongly that all teachers- whether they work privately or in institutions- need to be fully aware of safeguarding procedures for working and inter-relating with vulnerable adults and young people aged eighteen and under. They need to understand the differences between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. Teachers need to be mindful of their actions and choice of words when interacting with minors. Read more >

Setting up a Limited Company

This blog is for you if you are ever considering whether to register your private music studio as a limited company.

Limit your liability

There are many practical good reasons for setting up your own private limited company if you are a music teacher working from home. Though many worry unnecessarily about extra administrative strains, the advantages of separating your work from your individual life are considerable. Read more >

An alternative to ZOOM

Minions to Mountains or ‘How a minion built Global software to rival Zoom’

By Anita Macdonald, founder of the


It came during a snowstorm, after the tenth student cancelled, and long before the pandemic. ‘Let’s give them no way of missing a lesson‘. Plus of course, shortly after that, ‘let’s make it freely available in every corner of the globe‘. Read more >

EVC Music and TopMusicSheets

EVC Music and TopMusicSheets

EVC Music and TopMusicSheets presented a brand new book EVC Music at the Royal Albert Hall released by and for the TopMusic community – one of the leading educational resources available on the internet for music teachers founded by the Australian music educator Tim Topham. Read more >

Navigating Technology

The lockdown forced us to make a decision–shutter our studios or move them online. 

If you were not friends with WiFi and Zoom before March of 2020, most likely you are now. I’m guessing that your relationship was a little rocky at first especially since you were forced to pivot. It definitely was for me even though I befriended and embedded tech tools in my studio when I first opened my doors in the early 90s.  Read more >

Insurance for the music studio

Private Music Teacher Support is a new series of articles to help the private music teacher.
Finances, insurance, child protection and connections.

Working as a self-employed musician from your own home has many obvious advantages but can be lonely. Though it is wonderful not to have to travel to work and terrific to use your own equipment and facilities, welcoming pupils into your music room, it is important that financial safe-guarding and administrative precautions and procedures are set-up securely in advance of lessons so that music making can proceed calmly, enjoyably, and efficiently. Read more >

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.