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Lessons | Cate Gaffney Piano


Flexibility remains central to the learning process. Pupils are encouraged to play an active role in setting the lesson agenda, selecting repertoire, and assigning performance opportunities and other musical goals. Time is allowed for each pupil to discuss and review these on a regular basis.

Lessons comprise work on pieces across a range of styles including Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th-Century and Contemporary, as well as dynamic activities, exercises, and studies to build a well-rounded set of musicianship skills.

A secure technique, a strong sense of pulse and rhythm, sight-reading skills, a competent ‘inner ear’, keyboard geography, an understanding of musical theory and context, performance skills and artistry are all addressed. Pupils are inspired to express themselves, and explore musical ideas through activities such as improvisation, and duet-playing.

I have in-depth knowledge of the ABRSM syllabus requirements should pupils aspire to work towards graded examinations. When used and timed wisely, exams can serve as excellent motivators, celebratory milestones, and globally-recognised benchmarks of hard work and achievement.

I adopt a thorough, orderly approach to the preparation of each exam which includes the use of practice diaries, target-setting, progress reviews, and mock exams. This ensures each of my pupils enters the exam room equipped with a firmly established skillset, together with the equally vital assured self-belief and delight in their musical ability at that level.

I realise that exams are not for everyone. Pupils who are not interested in pursuing exams are assisted in establishing alternative goals to inspire their own musical growth and progress. Furthermore, I continuously encourage informal and semi-formal opportunities for all to play for/with others.

One-to-one lessons are given in sessions of 45 or 60 minutes. Fees are available upon request.


“I like the fact that during lessons, Cate explains step-by-step ways to practise which guarantee results; for example, ‘quarantining’ a difficult section, ‘miming’, and ‘skeleton practice’. The sense of structure-and the problem-solving methods which she continuously provides – help me a lot, as these are strategies which I use to tackle my work at uni”

Sophie, university student

“Lessons are always stimulating and enjoyable… Cate is particularly skilful at seeking a variety of teaching tips and techniques for the different styles and abilities that we all display”

Paul, adult pupil, and father of 12yo and 16yo pupils