Dr. J.M. Ainscough

Dr. J.M. Ainscough


I give first-class professional tuition in piano, classical pipe organ, music theory, advanced composition plus choral conducting and choral rehearsal techniques. I have more than thirty-five years' successful experience in an extensive private practice and in prestigious public and other independent schools. My pupils often study with me for many years, flourishing musically, academically and personally. I have a notably high rate of success in preparation of young organ pupils for collegiate organ scholarships at both Oxford and Cambridge universities.

I can offer places to well-motivated adults and children, from absolute beginners up to those seeking music conservatoire and university entrance plus 'Advanced' Certificate and professional performance diplomas.

I work under my maiden name, although I am married and have a family, as all my qualifications have been gained under that name; also, having a surname beginning with "A" can be useful, especially when being listed as a teacher by music and instrumental retailers, etc.! My website URL plays on a Latin word which can be translated as "voice, instrument or organ", which seemed apposite.


Prospective private pupils are invited to contact me with a view to arrangement of a meeting wherein there is ample opportunity to discuss aims and objectives and to ask any questions which they may wish to put forward. This consultation is without cost and obligation and is most definitely not a formal audition, but, given the limited number of places available in a representative year, I will look for some evidence of the applicant's potential plus a high level of motivation and commitment. An opportunity to play the piano at such a meeting is offered to prospective new pupils who have prior experience, but this should not regard this as being compulsory.


I am in the midst of a house move in the Leatherhead area of the County of Surrey, in South-East England, near Junctions Nine and Ten of the M25 London orbital motorway, the A3 London-Portsmouth Road and the A24 London-Worthing Road; both London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) and London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) airports are approximately thirty minutes' drive from Leatherhead. Trains from London (Waterloo and Victoria) for Dorking, Horsham and Guildford call at Ashtead and Leatherhead; trains from London (Waterloo) for Guildford call at Oxshott; trains on the Redhill-Guildford-Reading line call at Dorking (Deepdene), close by the main Dorking station.


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Disclosure and Barring Service: Yes

Qualification: LTCL, GTCL (1st Class Hons), FTCL, M.Mus. (London, Composition), Ph.D. (Su

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Piano Teachers

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Did You Know Piano Facts

By approximately 1400 the clavichord had about ten strings and inearlier examples two notes or more were produced from that string or pair of strings by making two or more tangents contact thesame string or pair of strings at different points. This typeis termed fretted, or in German Gebunden. A later type, in whicheach note has its own string, or strings, is called a "Bundfrei"clavichord. The clavichord is the simplest and usually the smallestof string keyboard instruments. It is rather like an oblong boxwith the keyboard running nearly the length of one long side andwith the horizontally placed strings almost parallel to that side.The small wrest pins and bridge are at the right-hand side andthe strings are permanently damped at their left-hand ends by astrip of felt or cloth. The strings are struck from below by smallpieces of metal shaped like a screwdriver blade, which are fixed tothe backs of the key frame as tangents.

Since about 1450 keyboards have virtually remained the same,except for a little variation in the colour of the keys, as the older ones had the reverse of the present-day key colouring. The organ was the first keyboard instrument and the weight of the keys has varied greatly since the earliest examples, whose keys were so heavy that the players were called "Organ Beaters." Around the thirteenth or fourteenth century, keyboards were laid out according to the natural modes which were the basis of the musical system. The interval of the augmented fourth, B toF, was considered discordant, so B was lowered by adding anextra short key, which procedure then led to five accidentals, B flat being followed by F sharp, E flat, C sharp, and G sharp.

Today's arrangement was found as long ago as 1361, as demonstrated by paintings of the time. The first member of the harpsichord family was the virginal or virginals. The strings on this instrument are plucked by plectra and the shape is similar to that of the clavichord. The spinet followed the clavichord and then came the more elaborate harpsichord.

Tuning often followed the meantone system where major thirdswere tuned precisely and other intervals tempered. This created somevery wild intervals and the howling sound resulted in them beingcalled "wolves" or the "wolf interval." If a series of fifths is tunedfrom the bottom A upwards, when the top A is reached it will be a quarter of a semitone sharp if all are tuned in pure intervals, and this is called the Pythagorean comma. The spinet could have received its name from a possible Italianinventor, Giovanni Spinette, or from the connection with spinethorns, which were used for plucking the strings.