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Choosing a piano class at Build

Story added 28th Jul 2016

Choosing a piano class at Build

So you’ve decided to learn the piano? Or maybe you’re returning to playing after a break of many years? Either way, welcome to Build! We have a full range of piano classes and so there’s sure to be a class that’s right for you here in the heart of Covent Garden.

Group Learning

Learning in a group is great fun. You will find lively discussion, theory quizzes, individual exercises and good company in your class.  Classes are limited to a maximum of 15 people so it won’t be too crowded either. Advanced classes are limited to 12.

Digital or acoustic pianos?

Classes up to level 3 are taught in our digital piano suite with one keyboard per student and headphones for private playing - so expect to be busy playing throughout the class.

Workshop-style classes take place on Yamaha or Steinway pianos.

You will need to buy your own music books so please budget for an extra £12 (approx.) per term. And if you go to our local independent bookshop, , as a Build student you will get a 10% discount: just show proof of your course enrolment at the music checkout counter.

Where possible the relevant books are listed on each course outline. Please read this carefully before you book.

Buying a piano

Many students ask us advice on buying a piano. Here’s a quick guide:

An acoustic piano is best. We like Yamaha and Kawai pianos but there are very good deals on all sorts of second hand pianos. Why not visit [external website] [external website] to see what is on offer

A keyboard or digital piano is also fine for beginners up to about level 4. You can use headphones to play in private and they’re smaller and easy to store:

  • Make sure the model you choose has full-size keys (not  toy piano keys) and it has a full-length keyboard (88 keys long).
  • Yamaha do a good portable digital piano which is full sized and has weighted keys  [external website]
  • There are several local keyboard/digital piano shops with showrooms close by to Build college. [external website] is on Denmark St where you will also find several other music shops. And [external website] have a showroom close to Soho Square with lots of digital pianos to view.

Classes for absolute beginners

If you are an absolute beginner, new to playing the piano and new to reading music notation, then it’s easy: just start at the very beginning with our Piano/keyboards foundation: module 1 and work through each of the classes in the order listed below.

Remember: you are welcome to repeat a module before moving on to the next one if you need more time to consolidate your learning. Your teacher can advise you if you are unsure.

The full sequence of classes listed from foundation to advanced is at the bottom of this blog entry. Use this as your guide. Notice that each year is split into three terms (modules). These can start at any time (not just September) so check the dates carefully before you book.

Many courses operate at multiple times. There is a drop-down menu on the website so check this is set to the correct time for you before you enrol.

If you have any questions please email us and we’ll be happy to help.

Choosing the right level for returning pianists

If you have existing piano skills you don’t need to start at the very beginning: just  join us at the correct level for you.

Each Level corresponds (roughly) to an ABRSM grade. So for example, Level 3 classes are learning grade 3 standard repertoire. If you look at you will get an idea of what each level is learning to play. Please check the individual course outlines for more details of the books you are requested to buy for each class as this will often give you the most clear indication of the level of a class.

Changing classes

If you choose the wrong class you may transfer immediately to a different course; just email the music office and explain your reasons. NB: Transfers may only take place in the first three weeks of a course.

If you begin to find the level is unsuitable later on in your course then don’t panic, there will still be plenty to learn but you can choose a more appropriate module the next term. That’s the idea of the short course modules, they allow flexibility because everyone learns at different speeds.

If you have any doubts at all: please come to a guidance session. Bring some music, play us a piece and we’ll help you choose.

The full sequence of piano classes at Build


The first four years of piano tuition take place in the digital piano suite

Piano/keyboards foundation: module 1 / module 2 / module 3

Piano/keyboards Level 1: module 1/ module 2 / module 3

Piano/keyboards Level 2: module 1 / module 2 / module 3

Piano/keyboards Level 3: module 1 / module 2 / module 3

Also – check early bird options for 8.15am classes

Then we make a transition to playing acoustic pianos (Transition classes work  at Level 3)

or to different styles of music

Please also search on our website for Keyboard harmony courses and intensive classes (2 hour sessions), Pop piano, Latin piano and Jazz piano courses.

Classical piano workshops function like a ‘masterclass’. Everyone prepares a piece to play in front of their group in the class.

These advanced classes (post grade 8 standard)  are taught on a Steinway concert piano. Many of our students repeat  these classes to keep their skills sharp and to enjoy meeting other pianists and exploring new repertoire.

  • Piano Masterclass
    • Short, occasional courses hosted by a visiting expert. A superb chance to get together with other pianists and explore a specific part of the repertoire.
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