One of my ambitions has always been to learn and become adept at playing the piano, but as a teacher I have always used the excuse of being too tired or busy. I made my New Year’s resolution to play the piano and after completing some research I experienced my first lesson with Mike. I am delighted to have discovered a passion for playing the piano. I have really enjoyed the lessons and the challenge of learning a new skill and am determined to continue my development.
I have been surprised how much I enjoy the theory and have found Mike’s knowledge and enthusiasm very encouraging. It is really satisfying and evident that Mike has a desire for all his students to achieve highly and whilst he allows me to work at my own pace, after a few months I will be taking my first music theory exam.
The distraction and enjoyment of learning a new skill has taken my mind off the stresses and routines of school life, and I can reflect on seeing life through the eyes of a pupil. I enjoy practising and playing songs at home and I am really looking forward to being able to perform at school concerts.
In November 2017 under Mike’s tutelage, I gained full marks: 100 marks out of 100, achieving a Distinction for Trinity College London Grade 1 Theory of Music exam. Also, in May 2018, I gained full marks: 100 marks out of 100, achieving a Distinction for Trinity College London Grade 2 Theory of Music exam.
Danielle W. (Primary Teacher)
Dr Michael Spacie writes: Congratulations on achieving two 100% results in succession for Trinity College London Theory of Music exams.
I really enjoy my music/piano lessons with Dr. Spacie. The course I am doing has a variety of tunes and scales therefore it is never boring.
Sometimes Dr. Spacie accompanies me with piano duets and this gives me a wonderful sense of achievement.
M. J. (Retired Teacher)
I really enjoy playing the piano. Having lessons with Mike has enabled me to have a much better understanding of the music, as Mike teaches with focus and attention to detail. As a consequence, my piano technique and music interpretation skills have vastly increased. Learning a variety of piano pieces has also definitely helped me.
I very much enjoy the lessons and having achieved the Grade 8 piano practical exam, I am now working with Mike towards taking a piano performance diploma.
Rachel Perkins (Biomedical Scientist)
First Testimonial:- I simply cannot recommend Mike highly enough. Since having lessons with him my piano playing has improved beyond all recognition. Not only does he instil belief and confidence, but he also opens up the piano and takes music way beyond what is written on the score, focusing on technique and musicianship to transform a piece into a performance. He is highly experienced and I have personal experience of his competence teaching at all levels from beginner to advanced study. He is attentive to every note played, and I firmly believe that anyone who takes lessons with him will find themselves playing piano better than they ever believed they could.
Second Testimonial:- Mike is an absolutely superb piano teacher. Not only is his knowledge and technical skill practically unsurpassable, but his attention to detail is simply amazing and I come away from each and every lesson feeling a tangible and immediate improvement in my playing.
The lessons are enjoyable and grant a fuller understanding of the subject than I could ever get from elsewhere. Mike has developed me from a very average beginner to post grade-8 standard and my rate of progress has been entirely down to his skill as a tutor.
I recommend him most highly, and without hesitation.
Grade 8 Piano and Grade 7 Trinity College London Theory of Music have been achieved under Mike’s tutelage.
Dr Paul Hercock (A & E Medical Registrar)
I like to go to my piano lessons because it is really fun and Dr Spacie helps me to read music and play the piano. I love to play the piano and I really enjoy the books that I learn from. Dr Spacie is a brilliant piano teacher and I look forward to my lessons every week.
Below are my music examination achievements with Dr Spacie so far:-
Practical Piano Exams of Trinity College London:
Grade 1: 87 marks out of 100, awarded distinction; Grade 2: 80 marks out of 100, awarded merit; Grade 3: 89 marks out of 100, awarded distinction; Grade 4: 75 marks out of 100, awarded merit; Grade 5: 85 marks out of 100, awarded merit.
Theory of Music Exams of Trinity College London:
Grade 1: 94 marks out of 100, awarded distinction; Grade 2: 84 marks out of 100, awarded merit; Grade 3: 92 marks out of 100, awarded distinction.
Grace Wilkinson (Student)
Dr Michael Spacie writes: On the 25th March 2017, Grace Wilkinson sat the Trinity College London Grade 3 piano practical exam and gained a distinction of 89 marks out of one hundred. Grace scored excellent marks including full on the scale and arpeggio category. Some of the comments the examiner wrote on the examination report form are as follows:- “Well paced tempo and tidy pedalling allied to tastefully balanced voicing between the hands made for a musical and atmospheric account….A strongly rhythmic approach with clear painting of the phrases, clear tone and effective dynamics….stylish rendition. Scales and arpeggios were promptly played and accurate.”
Dr Michael Spacie writes: On the 17th March 2018, Grace Wilkinson sat the Trinity College London Grade 5 piano practical exam and gained an excellent upper merit of 85 marks out of one hundred including full marks for the second piece that was played. Some of the comments the examiner wrote on the examination report form are as follows:- “The playful style was quickly established….co-ordination between the hands was mostly reliable….There was a general feeling of engagement….This began at a tempo that allowed time for the melody to be enjoyed. There was lots of attention to detail and dynamic variety throughout this convincing account – well done….The ending was neatly shaped.”
First Testimonial:- When I retired I started to play the piano again but was disappointed with the results so I looked for a teacher and fortunately found Michael. He quickly identified where I was going wrong and now I am enjoying playing again and seeing a real improvement. I really look forward to the lessons because Michael is a sympathetic teacher who selects great pieces that improve your technique. He is also flexible about the frequency of lessons which is important for retirees who have more time for holidays! It is never too late to rediscover your love of the piano. Thank you, Michael.
Second Testimonial:- I have played the piano intermittently throughout my adult life. With more time to practice in retirement, I realised that I needed to improve most aspects of my playing. Fortunately I discovered Dr Michael Spacie (Mike) and have enjoyed two years of wonderful tutoring.
Mike has extensive experience of teaching all age groups and all aspects of musical education. I was concerned that my memory and concentration could be a problem but Mike understands and with his encouragement and expertise I am improving my technique and loving the music we are exploring. So far we have ranged from Bach to Satie. Mike’s explanations about the musical history of the time really helps with the interpretation of the score.
Anyone, young or older, who is fortunate enough to have Mike as a tutor will enjoy a lifetime of love and understanding of music and playing. And let’s not forget that for us all – it is also great fun.
Mike is an expert, inspiring and understanding tutor.
Dr Diana Gaubert (Retired GP)
I started learning the piano when I was 31 years old. My inspiration for wanting to learn was watching the pianists in the gospel quartets from the 50s.
I had been wishing to play for several years but was put off as I thought my fingers were not long and slender enough; I also work shifts and I didn’t know if at my age I would be able to learn an instrument.
I came to Dr Spacie as a complete novice. Within the first 7 months of my taking up lessons, he arranged a hymn tune for me to play and sing to at my own wedding. And in a year of lessons, I took my Grade 1 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam and passed with 100 marks out of 100.
Dr Spacie is very patient and has an excellent ability to help you learn. He makes lessons fun and I find him to be flexible with my availability and approachable.
I would recommend him for anyone wishing to take lessons.
Della O. (Police Officer)
Dr Spacie has made it even easier for me to learn because I find it a bit hard at learning the notes but I love music and playing the piano and Dr Spacie teaches me loads of good advice and I’m getting better at piano than I was.
Emily Leung (Student)
When, at 48 years old, I decided that I would learn to play that piano which was stood doing nothing in my dining room, I thought “it will take a good teacher to get me playing this.”
Fortunately for me, I picked out Dr Spacie from those teachers listed on the web and thought “we’ll give this fella a go and see how we get on.”
Honestly, if you are reading this and you are looking for a teacher – look no further. Book yourself a trial lesson with Mike and get yourself started on a journey with him, which will have you both understanding and playing music as it should be.
Under Mike’s tutelage in May 2016, I achieved Grade 2 Trinity College London Theory of Music exam with full marks: 100 marks out of 100, gaining a Distinction. Also, in May 2018, I achieved Trinity College London Grade 3 Theory of Music exam with Distinction gaining 96 marks out of 100.
David Bennett (Steelworker)
First Testimonial:- Michael is a very inspirational and enthusiastic piano teacher who explains things thoroughly and clearly in a way that is easy to understand.
Music is the most relaxing, tranquil art possible and Michael has already made a huge impact to my musical skills. He sets you work appropriate to your level and goes through things at a comfortable pace. I look forward to my lesson with Michael every fortnight.
Second Testimonial:- I’ve been having piano lessons with Michael for several years and in that time, my musical ability has rapidly increased due to Michael’s enthusiasm and attention to detail. With Michael’s patience and expertise, I have achieved high marks in all my theory and practical exams and my passion for music has developed. Therefore, I highly recommend Michael as he is an outstanding piano teacher and his musical knowledge is faultless.
I have achieved Grade 3 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 98 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction and Grade 2 Practical Solo Piano exam gaining 96 marks out of 100.
Also achieved, Grade 4 Trinity College London Practical Piano exam with 85 marks out of 100 gaining a Merit and Grade 4 Trinity College London Theory of Music exam, passing with Distinction: 91 marks out of 100.
Lucy Hamstead (Student)
Dr Michael Spacie writes: On the 9th December 2017, Lucy Hamstead sat the Trinity College London Grade 4 piano practical exam and gained an excellent upper merit of 85 marks out of one hundred. Some of the comments the examiner wrote on the examination report form are as follows:- “A good speed was chosen and maintained quite well….Balance between the hands was good, and there were some pleasing phrasing and musical details….There was careful control of dynamics here, combined with a good legato melody and resulting in an expressive performance….Articulation was crisp, giving a good rhythmic impulse to the piece….The beat was steady, and details were mostly neat and tidy….There was a good awareness of the style, and it was accurately played.”
First Testimonial:- I have a love for music in general but in particular the art of playing piano. In my opinion there is no better past time than playing piano and studying some of the great piano literature available for the instrument. I am glad to have made the choice to study with Mike as he is helping me to develop my musical awareness and pianistic skills to a higher level, and to overcome my lack of confidence in order to become a more proficient musician. As a mature student, taking lessons can be daunting, but Mike is a very patient and encouraging tutor and his approach to teaching has helped me to progress well.
In addition, Mike has helped me to develop my musical knowledge and pianistic skills to a greater level. Over that time I have made excellent progress in my musical training. This is due to the highly professional and first class tutoring that I have received during my studies with Mike. Mike’s philosophy and teaching methods are well suited to my learning style in that he is patient and very thorough when conveying key musical principles whilst at the same time inspiring confidence in the student. If you are looking for a highly respected and competent music teacher then I highly recommend him without reservation.
Mike’s teaching studio provides a state of the art environment in which to learn with its enhanced acoustics and ambience. It also provides great comfort, thus inspiring confidence in performance.
Second Testimonial:- I have studied music with Mike since February 2012. In that time I have gained a considerable amount of confidence and grown substantially as a musician. I have had fairly bad experiences with previous tutors and lost a great deal of confidence and almost giving up studying piano. The importance of being taught by an extremely competent, knowledgeable and highly skilled musician and tutor such as Mike cannot be emphasised enough. Mike is calm, patient and thorough with a holistic approach to his teaching style and this has clearly been beneficial in my musical progression.
Third Testimonial:- I have taken lessons with Dr Spacie for over 5 years. Mike’s teaching practice provides a relaxed, encouraging and inspiring environment within which I have developed as a musician. As a mature student I consider my personal progress under Mike’s tuition to be quite remarkable given my very low level of confidence at the start of my musical journey. I successfully took the National College of Music and Arts, London, Performance Diploma in the summer of 2017 and passed well. In my opinion this is clearly a testament to Mike’s holistic, thorough but supportive approach to the musical development of his students.
In November 2016, under Mike’s tutelage, I achieved Trinity College London Grade 6 Theory of Music exam with 75 marks out of 100 gaining a Merit, and in November 2017 successfully gained my Trinity College London Grade 7 Theory of Music exam; in addition, 138 marks out of 150 for the DipNCM Solo Piano Performance Diploma sat in July 2017.
- “I have studied with Dr Mike Spacie for several years and under his tutelage I have grown in confidence and matured substantially as a musician. Recently I gained a Performance Diploma in piano with the National College of Music and Arts, London, (DipNCM). For me this has been a true musical journey from both an inspirational and spiritual perspective. I highly recommend this teaching practice if you’re considering taking music lessons.”
Dr Keith Mckoy (Senior Lecturer: Sheffield Hallam University)
I think being able to play the piano is a skill that everyone envies, as it is such a beautiful instrument.
I knew that my mum had played piano when she was younger and it had always inspired me to want to play. But I never really had the opportunity, so I played the clarinet for two years but I didn’t enjoy it enough to continue past Grade 4. But when I received a piano for my fourteenth birthday and started going to lessons with Dr Spacie, I felt like I had found an instrument and teacher that suited me! Lessons are always fun and as they are an hour long I feel like it helps me to progress quickly.
Dr Spacie is an amazing teacher, as he doesn’t rush and lets you work at your own pace. I love going to lessons once a fortnight and actually miss it the weeks that I don’t have piano.
Abigail Huke (Student)
I’ve always wanted to be able to play the piano, but for many years I didn’t have a chance. I started lessons with Dr Spacie in April 2015 after a couple of years trying to learn on my own. And what a difference it has made!
Dr Spacie is an amazing teacher. He is friendly and very patient, and allows me to progress at my own pace. The amount of homework is just right, and – being a busy professional – I don’t have any trouble completing it for the next lesson. Lessons are a pleasure to attend. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and Dr Spacie is good at putting me at ease. The advice given is invaluable, and I see my technique improving every week.
There is a lot of emphasis put on music theory. Under Dr Spacie’s guidance it finally makes sense to me, and it is a pleasure to study. In fact I am looking forward to doing more music theory exercises, and preparing for my music theory exams.
I have achieved Grade 3 Trinity College London Theory of Music exam, passing with Distinction: 95 marks out of 100.
Thank you Dr Spacie!
Dr Natalia Pawlowska (Hospital Specialty Registrar)
I attended piano lessons for years as a child but unfortunately life ‘took over’ and I had to stop my tuition. I looked at many different teachers over the intervening years and never found anyone I felt confident in.
Then, I found Dr Spacie’s website. I am incredibly grateful to Dr Spacie for his tuition. I put off contacting him at first, as I was nervous to begin lessons after such a long time, but Dr Spacie immediately dispelled any nerves I had. He is a patient, welcoming and friendly teacher. I am excited to continue learning from him.
Trinity College London Practical Piano Exam success under the tutelage of Dr Michael Spacie: 93 marks out of 100 for the Grade 2 piano practical exam gaining a distinction.
Sarah Gorman (School Business Support)
Dr Michael Spacie writes: On the 17th March 2018, Sarah Gorman sat the Trinity College London Grade 2 piano practical exam and gained a distinction with 93 marks out of one hundred with full marks for the sight reading test and also full marks for the third piece that was played. Some of the comments the examiner wrote on the examination report form are as follows:- “The gentle mood of the piece was quickly established….The left hand had steady and even control. This continued into the right hand semiquavers….Notes were balanced and placed with care at the start. The tempo change was managed well. It was stylish with a clear musical personality – well done….This was a full correct reading….A well deserved distinction! I hope you take another Trinity exam.”
I have been taking lessons from Mike for a while now and I am really happy with how much I have already learned. I achieved my Grade 8 a long time ago and I am now working with Mike for my Associate diploma in piano performance. Mike has a very effective teaching style and he has already taught me different styles of playing and techniques that were previously unknown to me and I feel that my playing has improved a lot.
Sarah Newill (Programme Manager)
I was inspired to take up piano lessons again in 2013.
Through already attending singing lessons with Mike I rediscovered my passion for playing the piano.
I had no doubt about booking some more lessons as his enthusiasm, knowledge and artistic talent is second to none. Mike also is very professional, calm and approachable.
I find the two artistic disciplines of piano and singing complement each other very well in which you are able to develop and excel within your musical accomplishments with confidence, clarity and artistry.
I have achieved Grade 3 Practical Solo Singing exam with Mike in 2012 gaining 87 marks out of 100 and also in the past whilst studying with Mike, Grade 3 Trinity College of Music Theory of Music in the year 2000 gaining a Distinction. In addition I have been successful with my Grade 5 Practical Solo Singing exam with Mike in 2013 gaining 76 marks out of 100.
Roxanne Bottrill (Dance Artist/Teacher/Student)
I had piano lessons at school but never took it much further, although I’ve always enjoyed playing. After retirement I decided to start learning again, looking for someone with the patience to teach a senior citizen. I had no problems with Mike – he is always supportive and encouraging, and he took me through to pass the Grade 7 piano exam with an excellent standard of Distinction – more than I ever expected. Now I enjoy my retirement playing my favourite classics.
Mike has also helped me prepare some piano pieces for sound recording and I am very pleased with the result. Thanks to his brilliant lessons and tutelage, making a CD has been possible.
Keith Southwood (Retired Industrial Engineer)
Dr Spacie approaches pieces in a way that I have not considered before. He is very thorough, yet patient. I feel my playing has improved vastly, thanks to his tuition.
I would highly recommend.
Under the tutelage of Dr Spacie, I have achieved The Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music Grade 7 piano exam with Merit gaining 125 marks out of 150.
In addition, under the tutelage of Dr Spacie, I have achieved The Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 piano exam with Merit gaining 121 marks out of 150.
Helen Wright (Assistance Support Dog Trainer)
First Testimonial:- From a child I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano and after looking around for some weeks for a teacher I decided to go with Michael.
From the start I have found Michael to be a fantastic teacher in both practical and theory work, showing his abundant knowledge of music in both his lessons and enthusiasm.
I am thoroughly enjoying my lessons with Michael and would recommend his tutelage to anyone.
Second Testimonial:- I’ve been taking lessons from Michael for over 2 years now and his tuition throughout has been fantastic. Michael is a great teacher and has a vast knowledge of many areas of music. He has a relaxed but professional style which creates a great atmosphere for learning.
Michael caters the lesson to the student. I initially started learning through the Alfred method books, they offer a variety of styles to learn which suits me perfectly.
I expressesd interest in the blues and jazz style, which Michael was happy to incorporate into my lessons. I have also been looking at classical impressionist, in particular, the works of Eric Satie, once again Michael has an excellent knowledge of the genre and is able to provide insightful and constructive lessons around each piece.
I thoroughly recommend Michael as a piano tutor.
Tom Levitt (University Student)
I initially started lessons with Mike in 1991. I had an electronic keyboard and then progressed onto an upright piano thereby fulfilling my childhood dream of playing the piano. Mike’s guidance, encouragement and patience enabled me to pass some practical exams.
To improve in your pianistic ability, practice is essential and due to other commitments this soon was a struggle, so it was side-stepped. However, I was successful with my theoretical studies eventually gaining the upper grades in music theory achieving Trinity College London Grade 7 Theory of Music exam with Merit.
I stopped having lessons after 5 years with Mike in 1996 and the piano was sold – a decision that was later regretted! In 2011 I was offered another chance of owning a piano and leapt at the opportunity.
I managed to track Mike through his website and have now resumed my lessons. Unfortunately, I am like a beginner again but know with Mike’s tuition and a lot of commitment on my part I will soon improve. The pride I feel at playing even a simple tune is fantastic and my enthusiasm hasn’t dwindled over the years. I don’t want to take any more examinations, but merely improve my skills on the piano and with Mike’s calm, patient teaching and encouragement, I am sure I will gain in musicianship.
Hazel Ward (Clerical Assistant)
I’ve been receiving tuition from Mike for 19 months now and in that time he’s taken me from having only a very basic knowledge of the theory of music to achieving a Distinction at Grade 5.
He’s an excellent tutor, very knowledgeable without being patronising, and has a very affable personality.
I find him very patient and encouraging while he listens to me attempt to play – and he quickly observes the areas I need to concentrate on in order to improve.
I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending him to anyone as a music tutor regardless of their current ability.
I achieved full marks: 100 marks out of 100, achieving a Distinction for the London College of Music Grade 2 Theory of Music exam (awarded by the University of West London).
I have also achieved Grade 5 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 96 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction.
In addition, I have achieved 92 marks out of 100 for Trinity College London Grade 6 Theory of Music exam gaining a Distinction and 88 marks out of 100 for Grade 7 Trinity College London Theory of Music exam gaining a Distinction and also 92 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction for the Trinity College London Grade 8 Theory of Music exam.
David C. (Civil Service)
First Testimonial:- I first had piano lessons as a child and managed to reach Grade 7 standard before life got in the way! After a sixteen year break, I decided it was time to return to piano and got in touch with Mike after discovering his website. I was really nervous at my first lesson but quickly felt at ease as Mike has a very relaxed teaching style, which suits the way that I learn.
Returning to piano at an advanced level was always going to be a challenge. It is hard work, but my lessons with Mike have been varied, interesting and most of all, rewarding. I have learnt three Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 exam pieces already with Mike, so I am very pleased with my progress.
I have definitely rediscovered my love of music. As well as continuing piano lessons, I intend to improve my knowledge of music theory and maybe even try some singing lessons!
Mike is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. He doesn’t just teach me to improve my piano playing – we look at the history behind the music as well as consider technical theory and performance. This has given me confidence in my ability as a piano player but also as a performer.
Thanks for the brilliant lessons!
Second Testimonial:- I began piano lessons with Mike, returning to musical tuition after a sixteen year break. The improvement in my playing was almost immediate and I find my lessons immensely enjoyable. Mike doesn’t just teach me how to play – he encourages me to delve deeper into the music, which ensures I develop a well-rounded understanding of pieces, composers and musical history. I tend to express emotions through my playing and have even found my lessons to act as a counselling session of sorts! I now (finally) feel ready to sit my Grade 8 Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music piano practical examination and fully intend to continue to study with Mike for my first level piano performance diploma in the next couple of years.
In short, Mike is a fantastic teacher and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone who is looking for music lessons, whether they are a complete beginner or have studied music previously.
I am pleased to say that under Mike’s tutelage, I achieved The Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 Practical Piano exam with Merit, gaining 122 marks out of 150.
Gemma Marriott (Physiotherapist)
When I was about 8 years old, I took piano lessons for a short time. Unfortunately, homework increased and I had to stop my lessons.
Now I have children of my own and recently decided I would love to take up the piano again – just to enjoy playing! I searched the internet for good quality tutors in my own area and found Mike’s website. Mike, his experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and great testimonials inspired me! I gave him a call and I was booked in for an introductory lesson!
I feel very fortunate to have found such a wonderful tutor in Mike. He is very calm, patient and enthusiastic person and teaches step-by-step at a pace he knows you are comfortable with. Mike is a positive teacher and gives lots of encouragement. Even after only a short time of having lessons I could play pieces that were recognisable tunes.
Although I was quite nervous at first, being an adult beginner, Mike put me at ease straight away.
I have achieved my Grade 1 Practical Piano exam with 86 marks out of 100.
Nicola Jenkinson (Clerical Assistant)
I thoroughly enjoy my lessons with Mike and feel that I have made very good progress. Mike’s tuition has encouraged a real interest in music. If I have any musical queries, Mike always has the knowledge to answer my questions and more. I attained Grade 3 standard in the theory of music within a year of commencing lessons as an absolute beginner. I felt very well prepared for the Grade 3 theory exam and therefore approached the exam with confidence which helped enormously and in turn reflected in the result, of which I was very pleased. I am looking forward to further studies, and also my practical piano playing has progressed significantly too.
I have achieved Grade 3 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 93 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction.
Colin Garnett (Finance Manager)
I used to have a different piano teacher that wasn’t very good as he never explained anything to me and didn’t teach me how to read the notes. Because of this we decided to try piano lessons with Michael Spacie and I noticed how much better he was than my other one as he explains everything and taught me to read the notes and music. Now I really enjoy my piano lessons and always look forward to them.
Alexander Teufel (Student)
I went for lessons to Mike for over ten years and from day one I knew this was a welcoming, friendly and enjoyable environment which makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Mike’s delivery of teaching is of the highest standard and can adapt around specific music requirements; for example, I started playing classical music and now with new skills, I play popular music alongside classical studies. I have also been successful with an Associate Performance Diploma Piano exam. I would recommend Mike to anybody!
Regarding my success with exams, I use a process called ‘The Six Ps’: this would be my advice to anybody taking a practical exam. If you follow these basic steps, hopefully you should succeed every time you take an exam:-
Before the exam:
Practice – become ‘warmed up’ to familiarise yourself with the structure of the pieces and the harmonies within.
Polish – make sure the pieces are of a high standard and contain lots of dynamics, interpretative points and technical elements to gain extra marks.
Prepare – on the day of the exam always try and do things which are not as stressful and have a ‘chilled out’ day, this just saves your mind for the exam, so you can concentrate fully on that. During the day, have a run through of the pieces, but never any real practise at the last minute, and prepare yourself with what you need for the exam. Always set off early to the exam so you are there ready. Before the exam, try to be profoundly silent so you can be fully focused for when you step inside the examination room. Always make sure you are ready for the exam by having your pieces ready before you set off.
Present – make appearance look respectable as well as your pieces as these two things will make you stand out from other candidates. Once you know how to approach exams you start to feel more comfortable and understand the process, that’s why it is important to be focussed as there is the possibility of being too complacent.
During the exam:
Persevere – if you make a mistake, stay calm and relaxed and carry on from where you can pick it back up.
After the exam:
Pleased – if you follow these steps you should hopefully be happy with the overall outcome of the exam and of course pass the exam to a high level with a good mark.
I was successful with an Associate Diploma in Popular Music Piano and Grade 7 Trinity College London Theory of Music under Mike’s tutelage.
Matthew Bennett (Musician)
At the time of writing this testimonial I have been having piano lessons with Mike for 7 months. I played instruments in school, however hadn’t for 15 years, so it was somewhat daunting going back into music. That apprehension was quickly dismissed by having my first lesson.
Mike has helped me go from randomly mashing the keys until it sounds approximately right, to having a growing knowledge of the theory, and how to apply it whilst playing. That theory is so important, and the lesson structure is great at drilling that knowledge in.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mike to anyone who wants to learn to play the piano. He has a wealth of qualifications, an enviable talent for playing, and is so patient during the lessons. I genuinely feel lucky having access to his experience and knowledge.
In May 2018, I achieved my Trinity College London Grade 2 Theory of Music exam with Distinction gaining 99 marks out of 100.
Samantha R. (Actress)
What Mike doesn’t know about the piano, and music in general, isn’t worth knowing. His knowledge and skills appear limitless.
With his tutelage I have found myself enthusiastically heading towards my theory exams, something I thought I had no interest in when first setting out on my musical journey.
The whole learning process is very enjoyable and I eagerly await my lessons with Mike. I thought I would enjoy learning the piano but it has gripped me totally and I can think of no better tutor to guide me.
I have achieved Grade 2 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 99 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction and I have also achieved Grade 4 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 91 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction.
Martin Cox (Lawyer)
I have been having piano lessons from Mike since September 2016 following a friend’s recommendation of his excellent tuition.
After having lessons on and off for many years and not knowing what direction I wanted to go in and feeling insecure about my playing despite the number of years I’d been learning, I was enthralled to experience a great sense of hope and optimism to resume playing the piano after only one lesson with Mike.
Over the next few weeks it became apparent I’d acquired some bad habits but with the supportive, encouraging and skilful way Mike teaches I am gradually starting to address them and my playing is sounding more musical.
Mike is very calm and patient and at times when I’ve attended a lesson after a busy stressful day at work, his perception of my mind state, which affects my performance, would guide the lesson in a way to aid relaxation and focus and being in the ‘here and now’. In other words, Mike is not only excellent at drawing out the knowledge and skill of playing a piece of music but also the emotional and spiritual aspects of it which keeps me stimulated and most of all enjoying playing again.
I would highly recommend him.
Thanks a lot Mike.
Lynne Owen (Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and EMDR Practitioner)
I’ve been having piano lessons with Mike for just over two months. Although I have always been interested in music I was never interested in playing an instrument until I left school in 2001. Since then I have tried several instruments including keyboard, piano, drums and guitar.
Until taking lessons with Mike I have always tried to teach myself by watching videos online on websites such as YouTube. This has worked to a certain extent but what I have found is that I can play a few songs but not very well. I recently decided I wanted more structure to my learning and to become proficient at one instrument rather than knowing how to play lots of instruments to an ‘OK’ standard. I searched for ‘piano lessons’ on Google and found several tutors within my local area. The thing that attracted me to Mike’s lessons was the number of genuine reviews and recommendations that he has on his website from a varied demographic.
My progress so far: despite having some basic knowledge, both myself and Mike decided together that we would start from the very start and work through both the theory and the practical as if I had never played before. This was fine for me as I knew I needed to ‘iron out’ a few self-taught bad habits. Three months have passed since my first lesson: due to my own time constraints I chose to take a lesson once every two weeks and the lessons themselves are one hour long usually split 50/50 between theory and practical. After six lessons and just a few hours in my spare time at home I am now in a position where I am ready to sit my Grade 1 theory exam. I am consistently achieving above 95% on practice papers, this is an amazing achievement as I had no prior knowledge on the theory side of things. It’s worth noting that the exams are totally optional and Mike doesn’t put any pressure on the student to take them as he appreciates that exams aren’t for everyone.
Mike has adapted part of his home into a fully sound proof studio where you can play as loudly or badly as you want without the fear of anyone outside listening in. This is great if you are just starting out or lacking in confidence.
Mike made me feel comfortable from the start and the pace of the lessons is perfect; with the theory we don’t move on until it is clear I have fully understood the topic we are covering and with the practical, we don’t move on until Mike is happy with my performance.
If anyone is reading this and wonders whether or not to give Mike’s tuition a go, then just try an introductory lesson. If you decide it’s not for you, then there is no obligation to carry on but I’m sure you will!
Chris Hall (Engineer)
I started piano lessons with Mike as a complete beginner. I immediately found him to be an extremely friendly, patient teacher, who was quickly able to put me at ease.
I am also studying music theory and sat my Grade 5 exam after only a year of lessons. The practical side is a slower process, as Mike has ensured that my technique is correct from the beginning, and I feel that this will make me a better pianist in the future.
I have also started singing lessons with Mike, which I am enjoying immensely.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Mike as an extremely experienced and knowledgeable teacher, who has the ability to make lessons a real pleasure.
My Grade 5 Theory of Music exam result from the London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) was particularly pleasing with 98 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction. Also, I have achieved Trinity College London Grade 6 Theory of Music exam gaining 92 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction. In addition, I have achieved Grade 3 Practical Solo Singing exam gaining 93 marks out of 100.
Susan O. (Teacher)
I have been taking piano lessons from Dr Spacie for a while now and I look forward to my lesson each week and although it lasts for an hour, it is fun and the time seems to pass so quickly. Dr Spacie is very kind and patient and he is disciplined in how I learn. He is a very good teacher. I enjoy playing the piano and practising at home afterwards.
Below are my music examination achievements with Dr Spacie so far:-
Practical Piano Exams of Trinity College London:
Grade 3: 79 marks out of 100, awarded merit; Grade 5: 89 marks out of 100, awarded distinction.
Theory of Music Exams of The London College of Music and Trinity College London:
Grade 1 (London College of Music): 96 marks out of 100, awarded distinction; Grade 2 (Trinity College London): 99 marks out of 100, awarded distinction.
Mia Singh Venables (Student)
Dr Michael Spacie writes: On the 10th December 2016, Mia Singh Venables sat the Trinity College London Grade 5 piano practical exam and gained a distinction of 89 marks out of one hundred. Some of the comments the senior examiner wrote on the examination report form are as follows:- “The performance was faster than marked, but it was accurate and musically shaped. The RH line was clearly articulated and expressive and balance of sound between the hands was good, with dynamics well observed. Overall, a stylish and assured performance……Another well-voiced performance. Melodic flow was flexible and expressive and performance details were all well observed. Note accuracy was good throughout. A convincing performance……There was good shaping and a sense of forward direction in the phrasing……Very musical playing – well done.”
I find music to be the most amazing and beautiful art anyone could experience. To me it speaks of every level of the human condition and the best thing is everyone can access it.
As music is so personal and enjoyable I encourage everyone to learn and develop musical attributes on whatever level and see for themselves how much of an enriching skill it can be.
I have achieved Grade 2 Practical Piano exam with 93 marks out of 100 and also Grade 5 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 95 marks gaining a Distinction.
Outstanding tuition! Being taught by Dr Spacie is always a pleasure and a fantastic musical experience.
It really is absolutely fabulous tuition and a truly great musical experience. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Dr Spacie and I am forever thankful for all he has taught me.
Martyn Scott (Musician)
First Testimonial:- Our daughter Grace has piano lessons with Dr Spacie and we are delighted with her progress. Under the superb tutelage of Dr Spacie she has already began to demonstrate a solid understanding of music and play with confidence. She thoroughly enjoys her lessons and looks forward to them each week.
Dr Spacie tailors each lesson to the individual, supporting and nurturing their musical ability in a kind, patient manner. His ability to explain the fundamentals of music to the student is outstanding; this coupled with his calm manner makes each lesson extremely enjoyable and progression swift.
The tuition material used is ideal for the beginner, making lessons and homework both fun and rewarding. Grace is developing into a confident, competent pianist and we would recommend Dr Spacie to anyone whose aim is to play the piano with a strong musical knowledge and most important of all, to enjoy it.
Dr Michael Spacie is a superb tutor. His patient, professional and unrivalled knowledge of music twinned with his kind approach enables his students to develop their musical skills with enjoyment and confidence. My daughter Grace demonstrates fine musical skills. The decision to entrust Dr Spacie with her musical education is by far the best decision we have made for her.
I cannot recommend enough.
Second Testimonial:- My daughter has been under the expert tuition of Dr Spacie for several years and is making excellent progress. She is becoming a well rounded, confident pianist and has gained some excellent results in her graded exams. She thoroughly enjoys her lessons, and Dr Spacie’s unbelievable musical knowledge twinned with his gentle manner ensures each lesson is fulfilling and enjoyable yet challenging. Grace would like to pursue a career in musical education and with Dr Spacie’s guidance and expertise I definitely feel this is possible.
Third Testimonial:- I simply cannot recommend Dr Spacie’s teaching practice enough. My daughter has been playing for just over 5 years, and her progress has been wonderful. She has passed several exams with distinction and is a very competent pianist with a huge passion for her instrument. My daughter’s lessons are enjoyable and structured and Mike has such a talent for adapting to every step of the journey and the age of the student. My daughter now plays in school recitals with confidence, and is very well known at school for her ability. This is all thanks to the fantastic teaching of Mike Spacie. If you are looking for a professional, superbly qualified, friendly and patient teacher then look no further.
Natalie Wilkinson (Mother of piano student Grace Wilkinson)
We found Dr. Spacie by recommendation from Mia’s school. Dr. Spacie has an excellent teaching style; as Mia says above, he is kind and patient but precise and disciplined in his teaching and in Mia’s playing. Mia is not ‘driven’ by her parents to take piano lessons: this is something she enjoys. I think we have been fortunate in finding Dr. Spacie who can cultivate Mia’s interest so well.
Inspector Michael Venables QPM (Retired Police Officer)
(Father of piano student Mia Singh Venables)
Before Alexander started piano lessons with Michael, he used to go somewhere else. But after 6 months of music lessons he still couldn’t read the music properly and I often had to help Alexander with practising, because he didn’t know how to tackle a piece of music. He got every lesson a new piece for homework, even when he couldn’t play the previous weeks’ one yet. Since Alexander started with Michael he is coming on heaps. The difference is amazing. Alexander suddenly knows what to do, how to practice and he really enjoys his lessons.
Susanne Teufel (Mother of piano student Alexander Teufel)
In short; I really love music. There are so many genres full of artists making music for others to enjoy whether they play, sing or write. Ever since I was little I’ve loved music and always wanted to play an instrument.
On my birthday one year my parents bought me the four ‘John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course Books’ after my granddad had given me his organ so I could teach myself. I tried and tried at first but had no success so I simply gave up but a year later I tried again and persisted until I could play a few pieces. After I had finished Book 1, I tried to move on to Book 2 but without a teacher I didn’t understand. Luckily we were into December so I could learn carols as my Dad had got me the music for some. That day my Dad also got me a keyboard so I could play more often and practise more. Having taught myself for less than a year, I played three carols in the school Christmas music concert. That Christmas my parents told me I could have piano lessons with Dr Spacie. After that I kept going to lessons every other week and learnt piano theory with Dr Spacie. From then on, I advanced all-round.
I hope I can keep playing the piano in the future and keep expanding in ability and knowledge. Maybe sometime in the future it may be a song I’ve written playing on the radio. But I think I have a long way to go before then!
I have achieved Grade 1 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 97 marks gaining a Distinction and also Grade 2 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 94 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction.
I have achieved Trinity College London Grade 4 Theory of Music exam, passing with Distinction: 91 marks out of 100.
Chloe Woolley (Student)
Dr Michael Spacie writes: congratulations to Chloe on achieving her Grade 5 Trinity College London theory of music exam with 96 marks out of 100 which was sat on the 6th May 2017. For the seven questions involved, Chloe scored:- 9/10; 15/15; 10/10; 15/15; 15/15; 14/15; 18/20. Well done!
I first met Mike Spacie when I once accompanied my wife to her singing lesson. I was very impressed with the structure of the lesson and Mike’s teaching method.
Before meeting Mike, I tried for many years on and off to play the piano and managed to achieve up to grade five theory and practical exams but never got to the stage where I felt entirely competent.
My last teacher relocated to another part of the UK, so I needed to find another one. Each time I mentioned my age, 82 years, no one appeared interested in helping me. (I am currently 83 years of age.) However, Mike had no such qualms and in fact was very enthusiastic to take on the role. His attitude was such that I soon learned that my age was not a barrier, and it is never too late to learn.
Since I began piano lessons with Mike in November 2014, practice is no longer a chore and his patient and dedicated teaching methods are now enabling me to learn to be a pianist instead of someone who simply plays the piano.
(I retired from lessons with Mike in July 2017 aged 84 and a half years; I am grateful for Mike’s tuition and help.)
Tony Richardson (Retired Fire Fighter)
I initially started piano at an age of 7 and I loved it. I continued to play throughout my teens but unfortunately I allowed the piano to take a back seat whilst I studied for other subjects and I never really got back into it.
This is something I’ve always regretted, so as an adult I decided to take the piano back up and I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to be playing again.
Mike is an amazing teacher; he’s friendly, patient and knows exactly how to bring the best out in students. I’ve learned to look at music in a way I never have before and I’m really excited to continue working with him.
Rebecca Elliott (Music Theatre Teacher: Theatre School Principal)
I first had piano lessons aged 12 to 18, reaching Grade 6 before life got in the way! Aged 27 (after completing a music degree and then heading into a completely different profession) I decided I now had the time and money to start learning properly again, feeling I was getting nowhere fast just sitting at the piano and playing around of my own accord. Having researched teachers in this area, I was impressed by Mike’s website and booked an introductory lesson.
Mike’s friendly demeanour and professional yet comfortable teaching studio made me feel at ease from the start, but what really impressed me was the way that from the very first piece I took along (Chopin’s ‘Raindrop Prelude’), Mike gave me lots of background and historical information about the music, educating me on the type of piano Chopin would have written the music for and how to get a more historically authentic feeling flowing through the piece. He gave me a list of the positive attributes he felt I possessed already and the areas he felt he could help me with, helping me realise straight away that these lessons would have a purpose and push me to achieve rather than stagnate.
I have been having lessons with Mike for around four months now and can’t believe how much I’ve progressed. The thing I like most about Mike is how he manages to choose the most perfect pieces for me to learn: they’re difficult enough to mean I need to work hard at learning them, while being within my reach so as not to be frustrating, and speak to me emotionally which keeps me wanting to sit back down at the piano and practise day after day (as a teenager I found it hard to practise when faced with the same old boring Grade exam pieces I felt nothing for). I feel this reflects his extensive musical knowledge, not just of the mechanics of playing but also of the body of piano music, which has helped to open my eyes to music I was not already familiar with. Perhaps most importantly, each piece we’ve looked at so far has helped me to develop a particular musical skill, be it playing more musically and with ‘rubato’, or developing my dexterity at playing chords softly and expressively (rather than crashing down in a hurry) while my hands are jumping between octaves.
I feel as though I’m getting fantastic value for money from Mike’s lessons and look forward to them each fortnight. I always feel as though I’m being encouraged to play in my own personal style and never feel the fear of making a mistake I sometimes felt with previous teachers, as I feel Mike recognises that as an adult with a busy life I won’t always be able to practice as often as I’d like! Nonetheless, I’ve made great strides and feel a far more competent and confident pianist than I ever have done before.
Professional, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and dedicated teachers are hard to come by, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mike to anybody looking for a piano teacher.
Faye S. (Mental Health Professional)
First Testimonial:- As an adult beginner, I felt very apprehensive before my first lesson, but Michael quickly put me at ease. He has a positive, supportive teaching style as well as a clear enthusiasm for his subject which he passes on to his students. I am pleasantly surprised by the progress I have made and am glad that I finally decided to begin piano lessons.
In addition to my Grade 2 Practical Piano exam success with 76 marks out of 100, I have achieved Grade 4 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 96 marks gaining a Distinction. And, I have also achieved Grade 5 London College of Music (awarded by the University of West London) Theory of Music exam with 99 marks gaining a Distinction.
I have achieved Trinity College London Grade 6 Theory of Music exam with an excellent 94 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction. Also, Trinity College London Grade 7 Theory of Music exam with 93 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction and 92 marks out of 100 gaining a Distinction for Trinity College London Grade 8 Theory of Music exam.
Second Testimonial:- I started taking piano and music theory lessons with Mike as a nervous adult beginner and I am so glad that I finally decided to do so. Mike put me at ease and is always patient and understanding. The lessons are interesting and well-taught, with expert subject knowledge. Mike’s teaching is flexible and responsive; he tries different approaches if I am not able to grasp something, and sets the right amount of homework or practice. I have achieved 92 per cent on the Trinity College London Grade 8 Theory of Music examination. The careful way in which Mike prepared me for this played a large part in my success. I am now concentrating on piano study where, again, I am making progress thanks to Mike’s excellent tuition.
I fully recommend Mike. I’m certainly delighted that I decided to pursue something which I had wanted to do for a long time.
Suzanne P. (Teacher of English)
Mike is an excellent tutor. He’s patient, insightful and will settle for nothing less than perfection. In April 1997 I began lessons with Mike as an absolute beginner. His tuition has supported me through all of my piano practical Grades 1-8 and Piano Associate Performing Diploma as well as music theory up to and including Grade 8. This proved to be an excellent foundation for further study of music at Leeds University; not only had Mike taught me to play the piano but he had shown me how to be a musician, demonstrating that music is about far more than just playing the notes on the page in the right order and at the right time. Mike’s teaching experience and knowledge is vast and as a result Mike is able to tailor tuition to fit you, your interests, your ability and to help you achieve your aspirations whatever they might be. I cannot recommend Mike highly enough.
Thinking about further study in higher education?
If you are considering taking your music education further, the leap from instrumental lessons to a university environment can be a scary prospect. Relocation to an unknown city is often involved, you are thrust into an alien educational environment and then there is the consideration of tuition fees and cost of living. It is important to really question what you hope to achieve from higher education, whether that simply be personal development or improved job prospects.
I can say from personal experience that studying music at university was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I had the opportunity to explore all aspects of music, for example, music in history and culture, harmony, counterpoint, composition, analysis, performance, aesthetics, acoustics and music psychology.
However, it is important if you are considering further study that you seriously consider the following points:
- What do you hope to get from further study: is this realistic?
- What career paths does further study open? A degree is not always the end of the road.
- When exploring possible university options there is often a focus on you having to demonstrate your abilities in order to get a place, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask what they can offer you. Examine their module options (every university/music college will be different and will have a different research focus). Is what’s on offer interesting to you? What lecturers work there? What is their personal field of study? What level of teaching are you going to receive for your money? What career and personal development services can they offer?
If you are considering going on to study classical music in higher education then you have to do it for the love of it. You will be doing it for a long time and it will be very hard work so you have to be passionate about what you are doing; the rewards however, will be huge. You will meet lots of new people with similar interests, make useful contacts for future work opportunities and develop skills that employers find indispensable.
Grade 8 Piano Performance; Associate Diploma Piano Performance; and Grade 8 Trinity College London Theory of Music were achieved under the tutelage of Dr Michael Spacie.
Joe Clayton (Musician)
I can read music and have attempted piano music before but I have never been able to grasp how to use my left hand at the same time as the right but playing something different! For this to be brought in immediately made me understand that Mike knows what he is doing, and that he encourages you to have a good go at anything. When mistakes are made, Mike is patient and supportive showing you where you went wrong and, most importantly, how to improve.
The practical side combined with music theory helps you play better. I can now glance at a piece of music and quickly know the effect that playing the piece should have on its audience, purely through an understanding of the notes and embellishments. This helps me play a certain way – the way in which the piece was intended to be played.
I was delighted when, in my introductory lesson, I had the opportunity to play a tune using both hands on a gorgeous piano. This might be what people expect from piano lessons! But for me it was unexpected and exciting. The lessons are light hearted, there is no pressure, and this relaxed atmosphere enables you to enjoy playing the pieces without fear of judgement. Mike is knowledgeable, passionate about music, and patient. These three skills make him an ideal music teacher both for practical and music theory. I would highly recommend Mike if you have a passion for music but also want a better understanding of what is truly behind a piece of music.
As well as the practical, Mike shows a passion for the theoretical aspect of music. I quickly found myself enthused about the significance of understanding the music which I would love to play. Having achieved a Grade 5 Trumpet examination and a GCSE in Music when I was at school I thought I had a fairly good understanding of music theory. However, in just four lessons after starting with Mike I had a better understanding of music theory than I gained through years of previous study. This is a credential to Mike; he explains clearly how the music works, and has tools which clearly illustrate things which seem complex at first glance. If I had had this teaching when I played the trumpet I believe that I would have been a better musician.
Jessica Grinsell (Regulations and Policy officer)
Below is a link to the stream of Michael Spacie Music Tuition’s Videos. The videos showcase students’ performing skills and musical abilities learned in Dr Michael Spacie’s home teaching studio under his tutelage.