Teaching & Educational Programmes
Piano Courses, Workshops and Classes
A regular faculty member at the Overseas Masters Winter Piano Academy held at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Melanie also tutors piano courses at Jackdaws Music Education Trust in Somerset (U.K.), Finchcocks Music in Kent (U.K.), Piano Week (U.K.), and the Montecatini Piano Festival (Italy), as well as at the renowned Chetham’s International Piano Summer School.
Over the past few years, she has directed a bilingual community piano project in Germany, giving workshops and master classes at the IKM Gelsenkirchen, near Düsseldorf, and has given piano technique workshops and presentations around the U.K. at the following: Yamaha Music London, Forsyths Music (Manchester), Windows Music (Newcastle), Banks Sheet Music (York), Millers Music (Cambridge), Ackerman’s Music (Brighton), and for the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) at Schott Music, in London.
Melanie enjoys working with piano teachers and frequently presents workshops and classes. Recent pedagogy presentations include; the 2017 UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), the 2019 Frankfurt Musik Messe (Germany), and in Jakarta (Indonesia) at the I-MEC, where she gave a week of classes and workshops for teachers and students as part of the 2019/2020 Cantata Youth Music Scheme.
She has led workshop programmes specifically for teachers and students in the Far East, most notably at the Cristofori Academy, Kawai Music School, and The Musique Loft, all based in Singapore, and the Sinfonia Music Studio (Johor Bahru), Encore Music Centre (Melaka) and Gloria Musica School of Music (Kuala Lumpur), all based in Malaysia. During 2018, Melanie undertook a book tour of Malaysia and Indonesia for her publisher, Schott Music, presenting workshops and lectures for teachers in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Surabaya.
In 2021, she directed the Chetham’s Piano Teachers’ Course at the Chetham’s International Piano Summer School (U.K.), and also presented a seminar focusing on piano exams to teachers at the 2021 Online Piano Global Summit II, alongside some of the world’s most illustrious pianists and piano pedagogues.
Online Courses and Programmes
Melanie has conducted an online piano programme for piano teachers at the Tom Lee Academy in Hong Kong, and she has hosted a series of online classes for the First Education Group based in Hong Kong and Macau. Recent online tutoring includes courses for Jackdaws Music Education Trust and for the London Chinese Children’s Ensemble.
She runs an online piano studio from her home, working with advanced students and piano teachers, particularly those from the Far East, offering private one-to-one lessons, virtual performance platforms and master classes.
Piano Faculty Teaching
Melanie Spanswick is currently a member of the piano teaching faculty at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at Eton College, both in the U.K. She is an external tutor at Royal Holloway London University, as well as an Honorary Master Teacher at the Tom Lee Academy in Hong Kong, and is a faculty member at the Tokyo International Piano Association (TIPA).
Previous piano teaching positions include Reading University and the Royal College of Music Junior Department.
Melanie’s aim, and teaching philosophy, is to help students develop a workable technique alongside honing fine interpretative skills. She is very interested in the development of keyboard choreography, eliminating and alleviating tension and stiffness, especially in the arms, wrists and hands, whilst keeping fingers firm.
Tightness in the upper body can cause many problems when playing the piano, and she usually works through a series of simple exercises with students, focusing on assimilating the necessary flexible, relaxed movement, with the intention of avoiding injury and pain. Once students master these movements, they generally find that their piano playing moves to a different level in terms of employing the wrists and fingers optimally and producing a fuller, deeper sound, which enables swifter learning.
Tendonitis, repetitive strain injury and focal dystonia are generally symptoms of technical issues, and Melanie has had much experience helping students who have suffered from these conditions.
Adjudicating and Examining
Melanie adjudicates for the British and International Federation of Festivals, acting as a mentor and coach for BIFF adjudicators, and has also examined for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), undertaking both the graded and diploma exams. She has been a member of examining panels for both BMus and MA/MMus final recital examinations at both Reading University and Royal Holloway (London) University.
Jury member participation includes the following:
Hong Kong Schools Music Festival in 2013 & 2018 (Hong Kong)
EPTA Piano Competition 2014 (U.K.)
Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2016 (U.S.A.)
London Junior Department Piano Festival 2016 held at Wigmore Hall (U.K.)
Singapore Performing Arts Festival 2017 (Singapore)
Stars of the Albion Grand Prix 2016 – 2019, chairing the jury (U.K.)
Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition 2017 (U.K.)
Around the Globe Piano Music Festival 2017 – 2020 (U.K.)
Third Overseas Performers Music Festival 2019 (Singapore)
Conry Cup 2021 (Intermediate Award) at Eton College (UK)
Montecatini International Piano Festival Competition 2021 (Online Edition)
Ars Nova International Music Competition 2021 (Online Edition)
International Music Star Search 2022 (Online Edition)
London Youth Piano Competition 2022 (Online Edition)
G. Henle Verlag Piano Competition 2022 (Online Edition)
Student successes include competition prize-winners; BBC Young Musician 2020 (piano finalist, Harvey Lin), and Gold Medal winners at the London Youth Piano Competition (2022) and at the Montecatini International Piano Competition (2021). Melanie’s students have performed at some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, and have won undergraduate and postgraduate places (including scholarships) to study the piano at various music conservatoires.
She enjoys working with piano teachers and adult students, many of whom obtain piano diplomas, from the ATCL and DipABRSM, to the FTCL and FRSM, in both piano performance and piano teaching, and some have subsequently entered the profession as piano teachers.