Robert is an internationally recognised composer, musician and writer. After completing his PhD in music he established a successful private teaching practice specialising in online lessons. His students and clients range from beginners (both children and adults) right through to experienced professionals and teachers. Robert has been teaching for 20 years, both privately and as a University Lecturer. He has experience of preparing students for performances and auditions (for example, Chetham’s and the RNCM), and exams up to diploma level, with a 100% ABRSM examination pass rate (usually with distinction). Recent success stories include students who achieved 99 (out of 100) for ABRSM Grade 5 Theory and 146 (out of 150) for Piano Practical. One of his students’ was invited to take part in a special concert organised by the ABRSM after they achieved one of the highest marks during the Spring period. Robert’s students have been successful prize winners in various music competitions and have attained excellent results during school and college examinations – for example, many have achieved either a grade A or an A* in their GCSE music exams.
Lessons can be configured to support and complement work undertaken for GCSE and AS/A level music examinations etc. They can also be designed to improve general musicianship, including sight reading, aural skills, improvisation, and aspects of composition. Robert has had success with students of all ages and abilities, from 3 to 75. Teaching methods are adapted to suit the individual needs and abilities of the student, involving an analysis of both the way a student learns music and the way that they perform. Strategies can then be developed to overcome specific musical and technical difficulties or to find a suitable approach to the music in question. In relation to this, Robert has an awareness of various relaxation techniques that can be used to enhance general pianistic technique. He is also able to help with issues of performance anxiety, and can suggest various strategies and techniques to reduce or minimise its effects. Aspects of sound production and quality of tone are also covered during lessons (Robert has a particular affinity with the Romantic and Impressionistic repertoire, especially the works of Chopin, Debussy and Scriabin).
As a composer, Robert is often very interested in the way that a specific piece of music has been constructed, providing a piece-by-piece analytical commentary for students, including background information on the composer and the context of the works composition. This helps to create an informed interpretation, including an understanding of both the architecture of a piece and the musical ideas contained within it, leading to a more effective communication of the music.
In addition to piano lessons, Robert offers online tuition in composition, electronic music, music production, music history and music theory. He can work with any of the major communication platforms including FaceTime, Skype, Teams, WhatsApp, and Zoom. Lessons can also be conducted over the phone – Robert recently helped a student to achieve a distinction for ABRSM Grade 7 performance through regular phone lessons (without video). References and full DBS (CRB) certificate available upon request.
Professional Experience (selected):
- Performances and broadcasts in approximately 30 countries worldwide, including presentations at major international events such as ACMC, ICMC, L’espace du Son, NIME, and Sonorities.
- Collaborated with some of the leading performers in the fields of contemporary and experimental music.
- Recordings available through CMMAS, Further Noise, Sonus, and Vox Novus.
- Writing published in various academic journals and proceedings: Dancecult, eContact!, eOREMA, the proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), and Sonic Ideas.
- Served as an adjudicator and reviewer at International level (ICMC and 60×60) © Robert Ratcliffe 2023.
Music Qualifications & Achievements:
- BA Hons (1st Class) – specialising in solo piano performance and composition
- M.Res composition (distinction) – received national AHRC award
- PhD composition/musicology – received national AHRC award
Additional information regarding specialised piano training and experience (acquired after initial degree):
- Studied privately at postgraduate level with Professor David Fanning (University of Manchester). David Fanning was taught by Sulamita Aronovsky, who studied with the renowned Russian pianist and teacher Alexander Goldenweiser.
- Masterclass and private study with Roy Howat (Keyboard Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music), whose teachers include the celebrated Chopin interpreter and Ravel specialist Vlado Perlemuter.
- Studied and consulted with Michael Bell (Director of Performance at Keele University), who was taught by Derryck Wyndham and Sulamita Aronovsky.
- Winner of the Keele Concerto audition 2004.
- Recorded performances and original music broadcast on BBC radio and internationally.
- Experience of performing as a soloist, accompanist, and ensemble member in a diverse range of styles, including, for example, jazz/funk support for Jools Holland.
- Member of the European Piano Teachers Association, Musicians Union, and Society of Authors.
I offer online piano lessons. For more information about my music lessons simply get in touch.
To book your first lesson with me, or to find out more about my music lessons, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing me on [email protected].
As a piano teacher myself, I find it impossible to teach my 9 year old son! Rob has been teaching Dylan for a year and Dylan has made great progress during this time. Rob’s patience, teaching skills and enthusiasm have worked really well. Dylan recently got 144 [out of 150] in his Grade 1 exam and is keen to progress to Grade 2. So, thank you again Rob for all your hard work and I have no hesitation in recommending Rob as a Piano Teacher!
Robert Ratcliffe has taught my teenage daughters (and me) piano for a couple of years now. I’m a professional musician with thirty years experience, but nevertheless I’ve been impressed by Rob’s patient, good-humoured and encouraging tuition. We all got distinctions in our ABRSM exams, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to others.
My daughter has been a pupil of Rob’s for almost 7 years. She has made incredible progress and gained confidence under his tuition and always avidly looks forward to her lessons. Rob is an excellent teacher who quickly puts his students at ease and actively encourages questions and discussion. He is incredibly patient and quick to offer praise and encouragement. With his support, advice and guidance my daughter has received consistently high merit and distinction marks for all her ABRSM grade exams, a grade A at Music GCSE and achieved 1st place for her performance at a recent Music Festival. We were incredibly fortunate when Rob was recommended to us and have no hesitation in recommending him to others. He is an extraordinarily talented musician whose love of the piano is evident. It is wonderful that it has inspired my daughter and it is such a joy and pleasure to hear her play so beautifully.
We have been moving countries and met different piano teachers from different nationalities, but Rob has been THE one to be able to transform piano learning / boring into piano / pleasure. For my son playing the piano was a burden at the beginning, but Rob has been able to take a totally different approach to his learning. Rob is looking at the whole picture, the personality of the student, and with that in mind he supports, guides, and encourages the learner to finally come to their goal. With Rob’s approach it is never wrong whatever you play, he always find the positive in the situation and focuses on it to make the situation evolves in the right direction. The pupils attitude and playing gets stronger and more stable with time, the student gains in confidence and is encouraged to make choices. Now all my 3 children play piano, encouraged by the others and I don’t need to ask them to practice, the piano is in the living room and it has a natural place in the family’s every day life. Music is fun! I am truly and profoundly happy we had the chance to meet Rob, full of energy and deeply engaged in the piano teaching. He made my dream come true: see my children enjoy the music. Thank you Rob.
Rob has been teaching my Son for about 2 years. During this time, Rob prepared my Son to go up two grades. Rob prepared my Son extremely well for the exams (e.g. arranging mock exams) and enabled him to obtain distinction at both exams via his expert knowledge and teaching. Rob was also able to teach a wide range of music in between exam preparation periods and made sure to keep my Son engaged and motivated (e.g. by varying music pieces or practice routines). We are very pleased with Rob and recommend him without reservations.