Testimonials from previous courses

Here's what previous attendees had to say..

  • Exceptionally large number of pianos of high quality in a delightful setting. Piano Teaching was excellent, and uniformly helpful and expert. Food was excellent and plentiful.   24/7 coffees are also convening. Ample performance opportunities.   Excellent practice facilities that are available at all hours. Best such course  I've gone to. 

  • The food was fantastic.  I honestly cannot think of anything missing from the course, or anything you could improve.  Three or four of us “nervous players” got together a couple of times during the week and played to each other prior to playing in the mega-mini workshop. I thoroughly enjoyed the week.  I have come away feeling inspired, and even keener to become a better player.  All the students “gelled” and got on well with each other.  I would like to thank you David, for all your efforts and hard work, in running the course.   

  • Loved having access to the health centre. Thank you for that. A fabulous course with amazing staff, facilities and accommodation. So many opportunities to do so many things. 

  • enjoyed everything.  We have to give the food an especial gold star though!  A piano per person is a huge plus for the course.   In many courses, that is a very big problem.   Major plus point to be able to advertise that. An enjoyable, friendly and relaxed course that, as the title suggested, was about more than just playing the piano.  I definitely hope to go again next year.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 days and will definitely return but attend more days.  

  • I've been on four other piano courses and this was by far the best.
  • The main college is stunningly beautiful and the rooms were fantastic. It was great to be allocated a dedicated practice room too. 

  • I found the staff to be incredibly gifted musicians who were extremely generous with their time and their input. 

  • They were very encouraging and supportive of everyone,and created a fantastic environment in which we could all take risks and develop our playing and performance skills.Having Katie joining us for sessions was also lovely as she got to share so many of our experiences throughout the week.Her calm and caring presence every day was so much appreciated,as well as her awesome yoga skills! I loved the variety of fresh vegetables and salads  - the vegetarian options in particular were much enjoyed by me! I enjoyed everything about it! I particularly found that having daily yoga or Tai Chi ,together with the Alexander sessions helped me to feel mentally and physically more balanced and complemented all the musical sessions so well. I also  appreciated how much care was given by both the music faculty and the well being team,who really went out of their way to created a warm and inclusive atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the course - I didn't know anyone when I arrived,but everyone was friendly and supportive of each other and soon felt like old friends! I liked the way that the various classes,concerts etc felt inclusive ,embracing people who were of different levels of confidence in their playing. I feel that I have come away from the week feeling that my batteries have been topped up! I have  plenty of inspiring ideas and thoughts about how to continue developing my playing and also a real sense of well being. Being involved each day in working with the body ,mind and spirit with  Tai Chi,yoga and Alexander has fed into my personal and musical sense of connectedness and is something I will try to maintain throughout the coming year 

  • Outstanding! [Food] Very interesting and excellent for drawing connections I had not realised existed!  Plus a welcome arrangement of lessons, workshops and masterclasses that complemented the former very handsomely.  Grateful thanks for all the hard work that went into this!   

  • I thought all the lectures, masterclasses and concerts given by the staff were first class and felt very privileged to be able to spend time with such committed and passionate performers. I found it fascinating to hear the Stockhausen and Reich live, and in such a perfect format ie short concert, followed by lunch. I had private lessons from Melanie and Mengyang - they were demanding, informative and highly valuable. [Catering] Superb! I loved my lessons (particularly that I had 2 lessons at the beginning of the week, and then one to look forward to on Friday with Mengyang); having my own practice room; interaction with Melanie in her pedagogy workshops; interaction with Philip and others in improvising workshop; hearing the course tutors performing. I was hoping to have a kickstart to my Grade 8 preparation. My expectations were far exceeded. I received a holistic and caring break which not only has motivated me to practice, but taught me how to practice, how to teach with more passion, and given me many pieces to be excited about playing. It is also really inspiring to have met and had such fun with all the other participants. 

  • The lessons, masterclasses, concerts and talks. Particularly the entertaining talks! It’s great to be with like-minded people and be able to immerse ourselves in piano music for a week. It’s also wonderful to have established friendships with others on the course. I thoroughly enjoyed the Course again this year and want to return next year. David has created something amazing. 

  • I had a great time. Good to get to know new people and enjoyed the facilities at the college. 

  • This [rooms and facilities] was all excellent and a very comfortable venue. Beautiful pianos. The food was delicious through the whole week. There was always a vegetarian alternative to main meals. I'm sure I put on weight. I was so pleased that there were people who 'did not want to perform' and that this was considered. There were a lots of excellent pianists and I didnt feel too bad not being one of them! I enjoyed the course and thought the ethos and ideas were very interesting. It made me consider things I had not thought about before. 

  • Everything! [What did you enjoy most] The venue was very special though…. To be in the midst of such impressive architecture and skillled craftsmanship was so inspiring too! I really enjoyed the whole course and have come away with knowing how to improve many aspects of my piano playing, particularly technique and interpretation. 

  • Thank you for arranging this great course! Mengyang was an amazing teacher and pianist! Thank you to Katie for her great yoga and well-being input! I enjoyed my session with Philip Fowke about the piano journey and he gave me some extra ideas about different ways to practise scales. The tuning session and talks were interesting. Hearing him demonstrate part of the Grieg piano concerto was a real treat! Fantastic food! Great variety too. I think the variety and balance of activities, great teaching and performances, delicious food, lovely setting and good company all worked well together. Having a dedicated practice piano is lovely. A very inspiring and enjoyable course with a lovely group of people. The yoga, tai chi, Alexander technique and walking certainly helped me to leave feeling more relaxed then when I arrived. It was a real treat to hear and to be taught by such wonderful pianists! I enjoyed the opportunity to do lots of piano practise. 

  • David, Tim and Mengyang were OUTSTANDING. A+! 10/10! All were amazing teachers, super helpful, and awesome all round. Andrew Eales was lovely. His Active Repertoire idea and session were really great. Fantastic concept. Loved the incorporation of Tai Chi in the course. David Jones is THE BEST! Great teacher, great organizer, all round fantastic professional. The pianos, e.g. the Fazioli, the Steinways, the Yamaha in the Sanders Room, the access to practice pianos.  A really well conceived course, with lots of interesting, differentiated and substantive content. I learned a lot. I left feeling equipped with more tools to become a better pianist, enlivened by a community of new "piano friends", and enriched with a week's worth of wonderful experiences and memories. Thank you for organizing such a wonderful week. 

  • I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from all faculty members as well as other learners. The informal interactions aswell as the scheduled sessions. The balance of activities felt right to me. I enjoyed the informal duet sessions - was pleased to be brave enough to join in this year! Fantastic week again. A musical reload and a real combination of restoration and inspiration. 

  • The mix of wellbeing and music remains fantastic, with the extended opportunity for duets a great addition. TTP is the only course I would consider worthy enough to use a full weeks leave for from a busy job. The reason is mainly that you come out as a totally enriched person and pianist, with mental and emotional recharging going on every minute of the week as well as making friends for life. Not only is the vision of the course amazing, it is the execution of bringing each time those staff together that materialise the vision for each person attending in a unique and totally tangible way!!! Just beyond words… 

  • The chance to have one to one teaching sessions was fabulous. I hadn't had a lesson in 30 years and it was very special to have one to one time. I thoroughly enjoyed my piano lesson with Andrew Eales, he was so encouraging and helpful. I also enjoyed the chance to play to David, which was great too. 

  • The 'Active Repertoire Project' talk by Andrew was a light-bulb moment for me. Learn 3 pieces from memory to have up your sleeve for those moments when people ask you to play, which I find happens a lot. No more feeling embarrassed, saying I don't have music on me, or trying to slide out of it - just sit down and play! Simple! The food was great. I really enjoyed the course as a whole. Beyond the individual lessons it is hard to pick highlights out, but it was fascinating watching the masterclass with Mengyang Pang. I enjoyed the holistic ethos behind the course. I had never tried Tai Chi before, so that was a first for me. I enjoyed the chance to do duets and also to play to each other. I enjoyed the enthusiasm, fun and laughter that all of the tutors generated. It was a super and very warm group of tutors and students, which in turn created a nurturing and safe/open environment. I really enjoyed the whole course (the 4 days that i did of it) as a springboard to getting me playing again and meeting other pianists. I wish I could have done the whole week. I would have loved to have seen the tutors play and also seen Philip exploring in the insides of the piano and no doubt talking about how you tune a piano - that must have been fascinating. Huge thanks to David for devising and setting up the course and to him and Katie for taking such care of the individual needs of everyone. Many thanks to the whole team that were involved. It was a joy to be there. 

  • I liked the non-judgemental approach and the feeling that each participant’s contribution was valued. The faculty members were outstanding and gave their all - which I greatly appreciated. I achieved my objectives which were to use this week to jumpstart my return to piano and come away with ideas on 1. improving my current playing, 2. new repertoire and 3. improving my teaching.
    I thought that it was very well paced with just the right balance of discussion, private lessons, wellbeing and free time. I think that 25 participants is just the right number.

  • I would highly recommend this piano course.

  • The combination of the piano instructors’ areas of expertise and interest — as experienced over the course of the week — was fantastic, and quite special. They were all very complementary to each other and also reinforced the learning for us. Enrico was a stellar addition this year. And Penelope’s quick fix clinics were really great.

  • Everyone was amazing. Christina brought something quite different in some ways which was really welcome and enlightened a lot of the other experiences. As a learner teacher I found David, Penelope and Andrew an ideal combination.

  • The ability to play two-piano pieces at TTP is unique and a differentiator from other courses.

  • Spectacular. To experience TTP is to experience a magical week where you’re a part of a warm and non-judgemental community of pianists and piano enthusiasts, combined with exceedingly high levels of piano instruction.

  • Another fabulous year. I feel lighter, more thoughtful, and have many ideas and suggestions to explore and develop over the next year. Thank you

  • All the staff were great. I feel that Enrico added an extra vitality to the course which only he could do. His enthusiasm and sense of fun, his typical Italian expressiveness, his ba-ba-ba-ba sounds etc.

    I got the impression, that all the staff would do absolutely anything they could to ensure each and every attendee got as much benefit and enjoyment from the course as possible.

  • A wonderful refreshing week.

  • A fantastic, full on week, with like minded individuals.

  • I thought all staff were excellent and really approachable as well as inspiring

  • People were very friendly and the teaching was of a very high standard. I enjoyed the Deep Listening experience which was magical, and the Improvisation workshop was most liberating!

  • Really enjoyed the masterclasses and felt I learned a lot from these.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed the week and heard some really thought provoking talks. I felt I had time to reflect on new ideas and also have taken away many ideas to incorporate within my own playing and teaching. I met some kindred spirits and heard wonderful music all week.

  • Everyone who came on the course shared an abiding love of the piano, and many faced their fears to perform in public, which I found very moving and inspirational. The course has given me more confidence to do the same on returning home.

  • Both the content of the course and the way it was delivered were outstanding. One of the best educational experiences I have ever had.

  • [on the staff] All so lovely and kind. I felt very supported by everyone.

  • The teaching was fantastic; it really felt like coming into close contact with really brilliant minds. The content of the course was outstanding. There was so much content that it was almost overwhelming but it worked because the teachers were so lovely and there was no pressure to do anything

  • This is an outstanding course. What differentiates it from other courses and makes it so appealing is that it takes the wellbeing of its students extremely seriously. The quality of the teaching was extraordinarily high but no-one had any airs and graces: everyone was approachable, friendly, and generous. I learnt an enormous amount and can't wait to come again!

  • I was terrified of coming as I thought I wouldn't be good enough. I'm so glad I found some courage to attend and to take part in the improv and the small group performance. The whole experience has re-framed my thinking about the piano, and given me some confidence and appreciation of where I've got to. Even though I know I have a long way to go to become the pianist I'd like to be, I feel better about the journey I'm on. It's been inspirational.

  • There aren't enough stars available to express my feelings about the staff, who were all outstandingly talented ,warm and generous with everyone throughout the week.

  • I love everything- quality of lessons, talks, concert, masterclasses.

  • All of us attending the course ,with our different backgrounds and levels of playing experience ,seemed to bond as a group very quickly over the week, including those attending for the first time, and there was a warm and happy atmosphere with everyone encouraging and supporting each other.

    I enjoyed the yoga, Thai-Chi and Alexander classes and found them a great way to explore the balance and flow which we often talked about in relation to playing music.

    The piano faculty were outstanding in their skill and professionalism and all our group sessions and one to one piano lessons were packed full of inspiration, passion and good humour.

    An incredibly rich and varied week which has left me feeling encouraged and inspired!

  • Everyone was so talented and musically committed, but at the same time so friendly and welcoming and the whole experience felt collaborative rather than teacher/student - which was great!

  • Everything! Enjoyed the lessons, talks, masterclasses the lot! Though my brain was very full by the end of the week.

  • I loved the opportunity to be immersed in music for a week. I thoroughly enjoyed the talks and the well being sessions as well as the many opportunities to listen to people play.

  • I had such a good week on the Thinking Pianist course and it exceeded my expectations. The friendly collaborative atmosphere amongst staff and students of many different levels and abilities was brilliant. The mixture of brain work in the talks and lessons, as well as during my private practice was nicely balanced with well being sessions and even an opportunity for a hill walk. I felt I made many friends and came away feeling musically inspired and surprisingly refreshed despite the hard work.

  • A brilliant week escaping from the day to day to focus on music and nothing but music! Excellent course content, support and extremely friendly atmosphere.

  • I was blown away by the friendliness of ALL the staff both full time and visiting, the access to some wonderful musicians, the excellent lessons, not just at the piano but across all of the supporting wellbeing sessions. Shout out to Katie, really enjoyed the yoga sessions and the 1-2-1 session as well was surprising (as in it was not expected) and rewarding.

  • I had some expectations before arriving. The course certainly exceeded them. Particularly around the relaxed feel and non-judgemental and supportive fellow students.

    Thank you David, for putting together a great week of activities that actually helped me not just with my approach to the piano, but also with my wellbeing.

  • This year was even better than last!!

  • It was a thought-provoking experience and wonderful to share it with like-minded musical people.

  • The course offers a unique integrated approach to the study of music through the medium of mind, body and spirit which is most beneficial.