John Paul started playing the piano at age 5. Both his parents were singers, who met during a Gilbert and Sullivan Production on stage and although his father switched careers in his 30s to a non-musical path, they were keen for John Paul to take up a musical instrument. At first John Paul would practice with his father by his side; initially practising the piano was not necessarily his first-choice activity!
Starting with a piano teacher who had been recommended by a friend, the initial lessons were fun and engaging but by the time John Paul was 11 his teacher recommended he move onto another teacher to take him further and suggested joining the Royal College of Music Junior Department. It was when John Paul was 15 though and when he switched teachers to John Barstow at the Royal College, that he really became inspired to practice and took his playing to another level.
Despite being very academic and being offered a place at Cambridge University to study Music he went to the Royal College of Music; the natural place to continue his studies with John Barstow. This was the right decision for him. Ultimately at the Royal College of Music he could play up to 8 hours a day and really catch up with his playing, amongst the other great pianists. From the Royal College of Music Undergraduate course, John Paul went onto the Guildhall of Music to do a master’s where he was taught by Charles Owen. He also went on a course in Poland, (slightly life changing as this is where he met his wife!), but where a lot of his development was made in performance, through realising and solving issues of physical tension during playing. This set him up for a successful career performing and teaching.
John has since taught at St Paul’s school in London, as well as privately, alongside a busy performance career.