I enjoy coaching and encouraging pianists whether they be young or old, and offer many years of experience as a teacher, examiner, adjudicator, and workshop presenter.
My students have gained a variety of diplomas (from the ATCL to the DipABRSM and LRSM in performing and teaching). They have also performed at some of London’s most prestigious concert halls and have won undergraduate places (and scholarships) to study the piano at many of the UK’s premier music conservatoires.
I’ve given classes and lectures at the 2012, 2014, & 2016 Overseas Masters Winter Piano Academy held at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK, and have also conducted workshops for EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association). I regularly coach a bilingual community piano project in Germany, giving workshops and master classes at the IKM Gelsenkirchen (near Düsseldorf), and have recently given several workshops at Yamaha Music London, as well as tutoring a yearly weekend course at Jackdaws Music Education Trust in Frome, Somerset. I presented at the UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, and gave a series of workshops for teachers and students across Singapore and Malaysia.
I adjudicate for the British and International Federation of Festivals and have examined for the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music); both the graded examinations and diploma exams.
I’ve recently judged a myriad of competitions and festivals, including the 65th and 70th Hong Kong Schools Music Festival (2013 & 2018), the Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2016 (USA), the annual EPTA Piano Competition (UK), the Singapore Performing Arts Festival (2017), the Junior Department Piano Festival held at the Wigmore Hall in London, the Stars of the Albion, Maslenitsa, organised by the Russian British Music Academy Musica Nova (London), and the 2017 Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition (organised by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe).
During 2018, I’m looking forward to joining the faculty of PIANO WEEK, a touring International Piano Festival and Summer School. I’ll be returning to the Far East, to give further workshops throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, and tutoring a piano teachers course in Hong Kong. Future plans include tutoring an online piano course for the Schott Music Academy in Germany.
Workshop leaders and course participants
‘That was a really good weekend Melanie. As an adult beginner I leant an awful lot and it was inspirational seeing the others play their pieces. I move forward now with renewed optimism and a new teacher 😀. Thanks for your patience !’
Andrew Carr: Participant on the 2016 Jackdaws Music Education Trust Course (UK)
‘A very enjoyable course Melanie. A lot of information was covered. Really appreciated the technical help and also watching your approach to teaching the other students. Alex’s food was indeed wonderful, catering for so many varied food requirements. Such a high standard of skills from the variety of participants. Very enjoyable indeed. Looking forward to another course in the future – can’t have too much knowledge, always willing to learn more.Thanks again Melanie. Highly recommended!’
Maggie George: Participant on the 2015 Jackdaws Music Education Trust Course (UK)
‘The guest speaker for the April 2016 guitar workshop was the fabulous Melanie Spanswick (pianist). She gave a brilliant workshop about sight-reading and memorisation and everyone took away a lot of ideas. Coupled with my talk on fretboard knowledge and strategies to learn the fretboard more thoroughly, everyone felt more comfortable with the prospect of sight-reading by the end! Hugely enjoyable.’
Fiona Harrison: Guitarist, teacher and educator (UK)
‘I had not been to this kind of master class for a little while and the one that you held was an update for me. And it was superb.’
Maria Yau, Piano Teacher (Hong Kong)
Book, article and blog comments from readers
‘Melanie, I’d like to thank you for your piano methods, without them I wouldn’t be playing piano to the standard I am. A few years ago I looked into your methods as I felt many piano teachers don’t have the best techniques to show! However yours has helped me so much and has helped with my piano exam work too I will be taking grade 5 next month then going on to grade 7. My piano teacher is also a big fan of yours! Dr Antonina Lax, she also showed me the music you have written for her and her duet partner, which was beautiful to play! I really appreciate any of your help and advice as piano is my passion! I couldn’t be more grateful! Thank you!!’
Adam Harle, Pianist and Piano Teacher, (UK)
Just a very brief note to say thanks for your comments on fingering in Pianist Magazine. It was the best summary of fingering strategy I’ve ever read!
Gabe Litvin, (USA)
EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association)
‘HUGE thanks to Melanie for her thoughtful and inspiring coaching this afternoon at EPTA Brighton’s first ‘Young Pianists Performance Day’. It was lovely to watch the instant rapport Melanie developed with each performer throughout the workshops, and great to hear such varied repertoire in all performance categories. Melanie’s coaching on rhythmic discipline and encouraging a greater sense of freedom in the performers’ shoulders/arms/wrists was really valuable to all. I’m sure all performers came away with very constructive and helpful advice to take into the new year.’
Helen Wilson: EPTA (European Piano Teacher’s Association), Brighton.
‘Many thanks to Melanie for super ideas on tone production. A really good afternoon!’
Beate Wilmshurst: EPTA, Derby.
‘Learnt such a lot from Melanie, we can all use her tips in our teaching and own playing.’
Kath Hoblyn: Piano Teacher and EPTA master class audience member in Derby.
‘An enjoyable afternoon indeed, a very positive workshop – and further workshops hopefully will ensue. Thanks a lot Melanie, you were excellent.’
Liz Dewhurst: EPTA, Swansea.
‘I was completely blown away; in eight months of having lessons with Melanie, I had taken my diploma and received offers from six conservatories. I know that there was no way I could’ve done it without her, or without my own determination, and I’m also on the way to building a secure technique free of any pain, discomfort or tension.’
‘Thanks so much for your help. I already feel with the daily exercises and slow methodical practice my technique has improved. Only yesterday I tackled a piece of Bach that has evaded me for years and it clicked.’