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Aug 06 - 11 2023


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St Mary’s Music School International Piano Summer School 2023


The Piano Summer School offers a comprehensive and broad-ranging programme aimed at talented pianists, aged 13 to 18, who wish to expand their horizons and playing capability.

This intensive course includes expert tuition, individual coaching sessions, performance opportunities with a chamber ensemble, Alexander Technique, mindfulness and yoga. It is designed to give a holistic introduction to the musical, mental and physical skills needed to grow as a pianist and is suitable for those who aspire to study at conservatoire, university and professional level as well as those who simply wish to hone their skills in an atmosphere which is fun, supportive and encouraging.  

Course programme includes: 

  • One-to-one lessons
  • Collaborative work including Chamber Music
  • Alexander Technique
  • Relaxation/mindfulness/yoga
  • Daily group workshops
  • Staff concert
  • Participation in final concert

Who is the Piano Summer School for?

The course is suitable for pianists age 13 to 17, Grade 7 or above (ABRSM or Trinity) or who are playing at an equivalent level. Following a video submission, successful applicants will be invited to take part. 


Whilst we fully intend to deliver this course in person at our premises in Edinburgh, if restrictions preclude this, we will provide a digital online course as an alternative. 

Key staff

Principal Piano Teacher: Helena Buckmayer 

As a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician Helena has performed and toured through Germany, Switzerland, France, Britain, America, Canada and Japan with several concerts being broadcast on television and radio in Germany/Japan and the USA. She has played in venues such as the Frankfurter Dom, Usher Hall, but also in some of Japan’s biggest concert halls in Kobe, Hamamatsu and Kawaguchi. Amongst the conductors she has worked with as a soloist are Philip Jordan, Roberto Paternoster and Kenneth Kiesler. She has played with Augsburger Philharmoniker, Wurttembergische Philharmonie Reutligen, Sewannee Symphony Orchestra, Collegium Ulm and more.

She was a prizewinner at various competitions including the biggest German competition Jugen Musiziert where she was also awarded a special prize for her accompaniemnt and the Yamaha Piano Competition. She has received numerous accolades including awards from the German magazine Horzu, the Cultural Institute for the Arts in Baden-Wurttemberg, the City of Ulm, the Johanneson International Schools of the Arts in Victoria (Canada), and the Gideon Klein Foundation in Prague.

Course Director: John Cameron  

John Cameron is Head of Keyboard at St Mary’s Music School. John has performed at the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, and at the Cheltenham International Festival Highlights and been recorded for BBC Radio Three, BBC Radio Four, Radio Scotland and S4C. Among others, he has worked with singers Sarah Walker, Gweneth-Ann Jeffers, The Dunedin Consort, Mark Stone, Stefan Loges, Sophie Karthauser and Matthew Brook. A recording of songs by Ronald Stevenson with the soprano Susan Hamilton was released in 2003 on Delphian records. As well as his recital work, John has worked with Grange Park and Birmingham Opera Company in 2001, and as the tour pianist and Music Director for the ‘Essential Scottish Opera’ 2002 tour. 

Since joining the staff at St.Mary’s Music School he has been active as a recitalist, accompanying both string players and wind players in concert and masterclasses as well as teaching piano and chamber music.  He has worked with Mr McFall’s Chamber, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Cadenza, Edinburgh Festival Chorus, and acted as repetiteur for Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (2008), Phillipe Herreweghe (2009), Donald Runnicles (2011 & 2013), Sir Roger Norrington and Robin Ticciati at the Edinburgh International Festival. 

Location and Facilities 

St Mary’s Music School is one of five specialist music schools in the UK, designated by the UK government as providing the highest standard of music training and development. The School is located right in the heart of the stunning city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland and home to the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Both will take place during the time of the Piano Summer School and provide a stimulating backdrop for the learning and cultural experience of every student on the course. 

Access to the School is easy with a quick journey by tram, bus or taxi from Edinburgh International Airport which is just 20 minutes away and has direct access to airports throughout the UK and abroad. Haymarket train station is just two minutes walk away. 

As well as making use of our fleet of pianos, including a new Model B Steinway, students will enjoy all the facilities of this historic school, including twin ensuite bedrooms (sharing with one other student), beautiful gardens, sports court and table tennis and pool tables. 


The Piano Summer School is a residential course and the fee is £835. This is fully inclusive of food, accommodation and access to all facilities at the school. 

Financial Support

Funding is available towards fees and travel expenses. Please contact Dr JoAnna Collings, Bursar at bursar@st-marys-music-school.co.uk for more information.  

We have compiled a list of trusts and funding bodies who may be able to help if you require financial support. You can access this here. SMMS_Funding_Directory.pdf


The deadline for registration is 5 June 2023 however we strongly encourage early applications to ensure a place. 


If you have any questions, please contact our admissions department


What students say…

It was a great experience in every respect. Apart from the interesting and educative masterclasses and piano lessons, I also enjoyed enormously all those innovative courses, like the performance classes, yoga (the best way to start each day!) and Alexander technique. It’ s rare to find so many high-level classes in one academy!! I’m glad I got the opportunity to attend St Mary’s Piano Summer School! Many thanks to all – I hope to see you again!

Myrsini K

I had a very enjoyable experience. I got lots of detailed advice from the masterclass and of course from the performance class and the one to one lessons too. All of this helped me improve my pieces immensely. Also, I learnt how to stay relaxed and use my breathing to help me during a performance. This was my first time learning about the Alexander technique and it was very useful. From this opportunity, I got lots of beneficial advice and learnt new techniques to help with practice and performances. Thank you for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to see you all again!

Anika D

It was a wonderful experience for me! I really loved the yoga lessons, it taught me how to know my body better, to be in the moment. The masterclass, private lessons, and the performance helped me improve in my pieces, I got a new perspective from hearing my classmates and teachers give me advice. It really boosted my confidence in my music, made me more comfortable playing in front of other amazing players. The Alexander Technique was new to me, but it is interesting to have a new take on music and posture. I am honoured to be in this class, thank you to all teachers and classmates, keep in touch!

Amber Y


St Mary's Music School
Grosvenor Crescent


St Mary's Music School

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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Aug 06 - 11 2023
  • Time: All day

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