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Piano Lessons

Inspiring a Curiosity for
all Aspects of Piano Playing

The Piano Vault


  Piano Lessons That Offer . . . 


  • A solid foundation of the basics and beyond for those who want to learn from scratch


  • Support, guidance & inspiration for those who already play and want to develop further

  • Structured practice sessions for productive learning

  • An open, creative and exploratory approach to encourage​ a lifelong love of playing the piano


  More Details Below. . .

Darren Thornton - Piano Teacher / Pianist

Darren Thornton
Piano Teacher / Pedagogical Writer
Owner - The Piano Vault


My Approach to

Making  it About You

My teaching style is different for every individual.  Each pupil has a different personality, different interests, and a different way of learning.  As a tutor, I aim to cater for this to provide the most engaging learning experience for the pupil.

I feel that it is important to allow my pupils the freedom to progress naturally, at their own pace, and to follow their own interests. As a private tutor, I am not bound by a syllabus or school league tables, which makes the explorative aspect of music making much broader, richer, and more rewarding in the long term!

Teaching Material

For children and adult beginners, I use my own tuition book which lays out the basics of playing and reading music in an intuitive process.  It gets them up-and-running quickly, so that they can draw on the advantages that reading music will bring to piano playing.

This opens the door for them to start exploring the huge and varied piano repertoire, and forms a solid foundation to continue building their skills.

For those who already play, I provide specially selected music to help build on existing skills, as well as working on music that they may bring along themselves. 

Overall, by working through a wide variety of pieces, the better your understanding of piano playing will be.  Your skills and musical knowledge will naturally develop, and your playing experience will continue to be rewarding and engaging.


Lesson  Prices

Starting At



per Half Hour

(Paid Monthly as a  Block of £55

and the First Lesson is


Free  Lesson

The first time we meet (either in person or via video call for online lessons) is a free trial, and lasts up to 30 minutes.

This is intended to be a planning lesson. It is an opportunity to discuss what your goals are, and what sort of lesson style you would like... i.e. would you like a relaxed approach so you can progress at your own pace, or, would you like me to set targets and keep you accountable for your progress?

If you play already, I will hear you play something that you are comfortable with.  If you are a beginner, I will explain some of the basics for you to take away and think about before your first paid lesson.

We then officially begin the following week.

Lesson  Structure

Lessons last either 30 minutes or 1 hour.

I'd suggest 30 minute lessons for beginners (whether they are children or adults), and 1 hour for intermediate to advanced pupils.  Ultimately it is up to you of course.

I would also advise taking lessons on a weekly basis, as this helps keep you on-track and moving forward, as well as being more engaged with your playing.

As a Musician and Piano Teacher
As a Musician & Piano Teacher


I studied music at The University of Huddersfield where I developed a deep interest in piano performance, historical performance practice, and piano pedagogy.
I've since focussed these interests toward teaching the piano as well as continuing to research techniques on effective long term learning.
My research on this is put to work in an ongoing series of piano tuition books for the beginner and intermediate standards. 





  • Over 25 years teaching children & adults.


  • Classically trained in both performance and musicological research.


  • Degree - BMus Hons​Masters Degree - Historical Musicology.


Views on Music Education


I'm an advocate for music being taught and experienced as a broad, rich, explorative journey both for children and adults. By encouraging independent and creative thought, problem solving and curiosity, it is my hope that developing a love of playing the piano in all its forms will remain with a pupil throughout their whole lives.


My Writing
My Writing
Piano Foundations - Book 1

Reading music is not difficult... as long as the learning of it is presented in an intuitive way.

Today, the number of piano tuition books on the market is colossal.  After using some of them with my beginner pupils, I was surprised that learning to read piano music was presented as such a narrow and clumsy process. Upon noticing that some aspects caused the learner to struggle with reading, I decided to tackle this by writing my own tuition book.

The first book starts out as a practical guide on how to recognise basic note patterns, and then turns them into clusters of finger movements.  Individual note names are presented initially as anchor points for different hand positions on the keyboard.  By keeping the learner's mind engaged with regular positional changes, combined with pattern recognition, reading music doesn't become the challenge that many teachers today seem to see it as being.

This results in a beginner being quickly up-and-running with the basics, so they can then draw on the advantages that reading music can bring.  It opens the door to start exploring the huge and varied piano repertoire, and forms a solid foundation to progress further. 

Piano Foundations - Book 1
Associate Teacher

Sam Wilson is the organist and Director of Music at Dewsbury Minster. His role at the minster involves playing the organ and piano at weekly services, organising and playing at festive concerts throughout the year, and rehearsing the choir (amongst many other music related duties).


Also, by providing organ and piano playing for various other venues in the local area, such as weddings, funerals and accompanying children's school singing classes, he brings along valuable professional experience to The Piano Vault teaching service.

Sam adopts the same approach and philosophy to teaching and music education that The Piano Vault strives to provide, maintaining the same levels of quality and consistency that are essential in helping our pupils enjoy their piano journey.

Sam Wilson - Organist / Pianist

Sam Wilson
Piano Teacher / Organist / Director of Music at Dewsbury Minster

Associate Teacher - Sam Wilson
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Contact  Me

I'm really looking forward to hearing from you.  If you'd like to get in contact & discuss getting started, or have any questions for me before you decide to go ahead, please send me an email:



Hope to speak soon!


Darren Thornton, 6 Cawley Lane, Heckmondwike,

West Yorkshire, WF16 0BG

The Piano Vault
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