Melanie Spanswick

Piano Teacher Course
Photo of Melanie Spanswick

Biographical Info

We are thrilled to welcome Melanie to Chetham’s Piano summer school to lead the piano teachers’ course this year.

Melanie is a British pianist, writer, teacher, composer and adjudicator, who has authored best-selling books on many aspects of piano playing. Her music is increasingly performed and recorded worldwide, and she is one of the few female composers to be published in the renowned Edition Schott Series.

A piano professor at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and an Honorary Master Piano Teacher at the Tom Lee Academy in Hong Kong, she is also artistic director of the Ars Nova Festival held in Singapore and Malaysia, and is a member of the academic advisory board for the International Performing and Visual Arts Examination Board also based in the Far East.


Melanie Spanswick studied the piano at the Royal College of Music in London, where she won many prizes and graduated with a Master’s degree in Performance Studies. Her principal piano professors included Patricia Carroll, Tatiana Sarkissova and John Lill.

As a pianist, Melanie has performed and broadcast widely, giving recitals as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist at many music festivals and major concert halls, including solo performances at the South Bank Centre, CBSO Hall, and St. John’s Smith Square. She has made a solo recording at Wigmore Hall (for Opera Omnia), has performed for the Queen Mother and Queen of Denmark, and has also broadcast on Classic FM, BBC Radio, and Swedish and Spanish television.

As an author, she is published by major publishing houses: Schott, Faber and Alfred. Melanie selected the repertoire for the Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber Music) and her piano guidebook, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred Music) has received much acclaim. Melanie’s three-book piano series, Play it again: PIANO (Schott Music), an in-depth taught course containing 60 works, intended for piano returners, has been an international success, and Book 4 will be released in 2020.

Recent lecture and workshop destinations include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China, Italy, the USA, and Germany. Melanie particularly enjoys coaching piano teachers; in 2017 she presented at the UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), gave a keynote workshop at the 2019 Frankfurt Music Messe (Germany), and is also a ‘Grand Mentor’ for the I-MEC in Jakarta (Indonesia), giving a week of workshops and masterclasses for piano teachers.

Melanie writes a regular ‘How-To-Play’ column in Pianist magazine, and has also contributed over 15 piano technique feature articles to Piano Professional, EPTA’s (European Piano Teachers Association) flagship publication. Further guest articles include: Piano Journal, Music Teacher Magazine, International Piano Magazine, Clavier Companion, Rhinegold Publications, Pianofforte (published by Faber), and the Daily Telegraph. She has co-written the ABRSM Piano Notes series, and the performance notes for the London College of Music piano examination syllabus 2018 – 2020. And this year she has been a piano syllabus compiler and consultant for the new 2020 – 2022 LCM exam syllabus.

As an educator, Melanie has examined for the ABRSM and she adjudicates for the British and International Federation of Festivals, for whom she is an adjudicator mentor and coach.

She regularly tutors courses at Jackdaws Music Education Trust, Finchcocks Music, and PIANO WEEK. Workshop presentations have included EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association), hosting a bilingual piano project near Düsseldorf (Germany) for teachers and students, as well as serving as a faculty member at the Overseas Masters Winter Piano Academy which is held biennially at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

Melanie has adjudicated both nationally and internationally, and has been a jury member at the 2016 Chicago Amateur Piano Competition, the 65th and 70th Hong Kong Schools Association Music Festival, the 2017 Singapore Performing Arts Festival, the Stars of the Albion Grand Prix, the 2017 Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition in London, and the 2019 3rd Overseas Performers Festival in Singapore.

As a composer, Melanie’s music has featured in various piano festival syllabuses, and it has been published by several leading publishing houses. Her melodic, essentially tonal style has appeared in a collection of educational publications; during 2018 she made her debut as a Schott composer with a collection of educational pieces entitled No Words Necessary. And in 2019, a piano duet, A String of Pearls, was published in the Edition Schott series. Simply Driven, a set of five advanced solo piano pieces will also be released in the same series during 2019.

Recent composition collaborations include the Solomon Piano Quintet, Samantha Ward, Maciej Raginia, Warren Mailley-Smith, Aisa Ijiri, Yuki Negishi, Harriet Mackenzie, and Tim Lowe. Her music has been performed in Japan, at the Shiga Bank Piano Festival 2018 in Kyoto, and at the Toppan Hall in Tokyo, as well as in Italy and the UK as part of PIANO WEEK. It has also been recorded for the Quartz record label, and her piano piece ‘Aisa’ is to be featured on the new Steinway ‘Spirio’ piano. During 2019, Melanie gave a composition workshop at the Montecatini Piano Festival.

Classical Conversations is a filmed interview series curated by Melanie: she interviewed forty well-known pianists and teachers over a period of three years and they are featured on her YouTube channel.

Categories: Uncategorized