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Improvisation weekend with David Hall – Intermediate – Diploma

5 April @ 7:00 pm - 7 April @ 3:30 pm

Man playing Steinway piano with tutor in background playing saxophone.

A weekend devoted to exploring ideas for improvisation at the piano – which, for the busy or practice-challenged pianist – requires no preparation.

Improvisation is great fun in any style. In fact it used to be a mainstay of musical education. Handel, Bach, Mozart and many others were famous for their improvisations, many of which were transcribed to form part of a virtuosic cadenza. Church musicians use(d) it as part of their toolbox to provide flexibility to accompanied parts of worship (for example during communion or before a service begins). Today it is seen more as a jazz speciality – and we aim to change this perception!

This weekend is designed especially for classical pianists (and organists) who have never tried to improvise. Aspiring or experienced jazz pianists are of course welcome too!

The course will be taught by our wonderful musical director, pianist and organist David Hall (LRSM, FRCO).

Each day typically starts with a workshop in the Finchcocks recital room. In the afternoons, there is time for private practice on one of our beautiful acoustic grand pianos including our new Steinway and individual tuition from the tutor.

Workshops for this weekend will include:

  • Melody and Harmony – Scales and Chords
  • Generating ideas

In the afternoon we’ll convene for a performance workshop, which will provide tips on how to make the nicest sounds when playing. There is no pressure to play if you don’t feel ready, but we aim to make the atmosphere as relaxed and encouraging as possible, with David being known to ask a nervous player to just “play one note”!

Performance classe for this weekend will include:

  • Give it a go!
  • Exploring new styles and genres

At 7pm on Saturday, we have a pre-dinner talk or recital in the main hall of the family home. This is a chance for guests can sit back and relax with a glass of wine: After a full day’s concentration, nothing beats hearing the course tutor inspiring guests with some current repertoire on the family Bosendorfer!

“Extraordinary weekend piano course with the excellent David Hall. […] Very good tuition tailored to the individuals and plenty of time to focus on the piano.” ~ Shadow Tours (Google review)

On a typical weekend course, Finchcocks guests will:

  • Have the chance to play in and observe two performance masterclasses and two workshops.
  • Receive one-to-one input from tutor David during circulation in the free practice sessions.
  • Enjoy access to play on our 9 grand pianos anytime between 7am and 8pm. (There are enough pianos to go round that everyone can play a piano at any given time.)
  • Enjoy a private recital for course guests on Saturday evening in the main hall of Finchcocks.
  • Join and socialise with a group 8 fellow piano enthusiasts during lunch and dinner.
  • Dine in style with lunches and three course dinners prepared by our fabulous chef.
  • Experience the Finchcocks bubble, hailed as a “paradise for pianists” by BBC Music Magazine and stay in a grade 1 listed country manor.

Plus ones are very welcome on our courses, with a room surcharge dependant on whether they are a playing or non-playing guest. Please ask for further details.

For booking enquiries, please contact Jenny on 01580 428080 or fill in the form below.

Nursery bedroom
Dinner in the coach house

Weekend courses

from £675 (inclusive of accommodation, food, wine and tuition)



    5 April @ 7:00 pm
    7 April @ 3:30 pm