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David Nelson
Hebden Bridge pianist, composer, teacher and music promoter

More about piano lessons


I’ve been teaching piano for over 35 years, and have taught hundreds of students/pianists both in London and in West Yorkshire. A sizeable number of these have gone on to become professional performers and teachers or influential in jazz and popular music. Many others have continued to play long after their lessons had ceased and value the life-enhancing qualities of such activity.

A very broad range of students come for lessons: from young children embarking on a long journey of discovery and adult beginners of all ages, who may already know intimately the pieces they would love to play, to experienced and gifted players maybe heading for music college (or who went there years ago perhaps). Every student receives a different kind of teaching that is completely tailored to their needs (and hopefully to their wishes!); there are no set formulae and no entrenched positions.

I’m based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and currently teach pupils from across Calderdale and from Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Manchester, Rochdale and Burnley.

Fees are £40.00 per hour and pro rata.


‘Dave is a brilliant teacher, fun and serious at the same time, always pushing me to improve, I always look forward to my lessons.  He’s kept me going through lockdown and playing the piano has become something I do to cheer me up when the going gets tough.  I never thought I’d be playing Beethoven for relaxation!  I can’t thank Dave enough for this gift.’ Katie

‘I have really enjoyed learning piano via zoom. I have kept my own practice going through lockdown and Dave is a patient teacher. Online piano learning has been fun and just as positive as in-person learning.’ Kate

Our daughters (7 and 9) have lessons with Dave every week. He’s thought hard about how to teach via Zoom, and they’ve both been making great progress. I’ve also learned a thing or two from listening in case I’m needed for pointing to something in the books or page-turning duties.Giles

‘I have been having piano lessons with Dave for a number of years.  His teaching is excellent, and he has developed so many areas of my playing.  When Covid 19 put a stop to face-to-face lessons I was so glad to be able to continue using Zoom.  I did wonder whether they would be as useful and enjoyable as previously, but have been delighted that they have continued seamlessly. Many thanks to Dave for setting up Zoom lessons so quickly, for his creativity, hard work, good humour and sheer breadth of musical knowledge.’ Helen

‘I have been having lessons with Dave for a long time. As far as I’m concerned, he is the best piano teacher in the world. Every week he puts his full attention on showing you the best way to play, and has a myriad of techniques at his finger tips. You will not get a better piano teacher anywhere.’ Stevie Hanson

‘Dave’s piano lessons are always enjoyable and well worth my two hours travelling. I think what impresses me most, apart from his patience, gentle insistence on high standards and technical know-how is the musicianship he brings to every piece of music learnt. He point out all sorts of nuances of interpretation, enhancing greatly my musical awareness.’ Catherine Jones

‘I’ve been having piano lessons with Dave for nearly 2 years now and play pieces I never thought I’d be able to play, even in my wildest dreams. Dave is very patient and encouraging.’ Dory Glynn

‘As an ‘adult returner’ I found piano lessons with Dave really engaging. It was much more than just about learning or improving on an instrument, which was in itself rewarding – but also enhancing my knowledge and appreciation of music, and really getting to the core of what composers were trying to do in quite simple pieces. I find that I listen to music with a greater intensity and fulfilment’  Tessa Gordziejko

During the pandemic lockdown…

‘Online piano learning has been fun and just as positive as in-person learning.’ Kate

‘[Dave] has kept me going through lockdown and playing the piano has become something I do to cheer me up when the going gets tough.’ Katie

‘I did wonder whether [Zoom lessons] would be as useful and enjoyable as previously, but have been delighted that they have continued seamlessly.’ Helen

‘I really enjoy doing video lessons with Dave cause I can use my own piano. Dave is very funny too!’ Bea (7)

Lesson content

I teach all styles of piano playing: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, modern, jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, pop, music for film or theatre, and more. Many students elect to study more than one style; for example learning to play classical music in order to become more familiar with music notation and interpretation, and jazz to develop ear-playing and improvisation.

My teaching also encompasses theory, composition, song-writing, ear training and improvisation. Any of these can be taught as separate courses but mostly they are found as strands or influential factors within practical piano lessons.

When teaching non-classical piano, I will always encourage students to suggest the pieces/styles of music they would like to play. From such ideas other pieces may be suggested to increase and enhance repertoire. To learn non-notated styles of piano such as jazz or blues, students are encouraged to listen to recordings of great performers (and not only pianists) to allow such music to percolate through to their own playing.


Although happy to take students through piano and theory exams to grade 8 and beyond (with a 99% pass rate since 1980), I’m is very keen that these are not seen as the only target. The delight in exploration and discovery, the physical pleasure of playing, the success of performing at whatever level; to him these things are at least as important as any formal qualifications.

For students also studying music at school or college I endeavour to work in a way that will complement a given syllabus, for example in the preparation of set recital pieces, in augmenting their theory or music history work or in delivering music software tuition that will help them realise their compositions.

Special Lessons

For pianists who live further away or who may thrive on longer lessons, I offer:

The Day Trip
A one to one lesson starting mid-morning with coffee, working until lunchtime (a simple and light but delightful lunch is provided) and then continuing until mid afternoon. Inclusive price £160.

The Weekend Break
A weekend which combines intense teaching sessions with a relaxing enjoyable stay in the wonderful old town of Hebden Bridge and the superb Pennine countryside which surrounds it. Day one starts at lunchtime and teaching continues throughout the afternoon. Students stay overnight at one of the many fantastic hotels or B&Bs in the town centre. On the Sunday teaching starts early and finishes with lunch (as above). Price £250 plus accommodation.