Making the Most of Your Time in London (Musical Training is More Than Just Practicing):

Taking lessons in London and practicing will be a valuable experience.  But, don’t let this be the extent of your musical exposure to London – there is so much for you to see and hear in London that will do wonders for your education and musical soul.  Be sure to take full advantage of it all. 

The London Centre offers a dedicated music practice room for its students on site, where you can play and practice without being disturbed.  Also as a London Centre student, you will have access to the Barbican Centre Music Library for your lessons and research.

As part of your participation in the London Centre, you will be given a membership to the University College of London's Student Union.  Through this union, students are able to engage with local students in extracurricular activities, play with local bands or ensembles and be further engaged in London's music scene.  The University College of London has several musical society's Lawrence music students are able to join including the Live Music Society  and the Music Society.  A full list of clubs and societies can be found here.

But with all the concerts, recitals, operas, and public master classes on offer in London, you may find that you will not practice as much as you do on-campus. Most music students enjoy the opportunity to listen and learn from world class musicians and artists who perform in London, and incorporate these unique learning experiences in their own performance. 

Here are some of the opportunities you’ll have in London:

• Attend concerts, talks, recitals, and master classes - this can be time just as well spent for your musical development as in a practice room. Check out all of the concerts and master classes (not just on your instrument) at the major music schools [RCM – Royal College of Music, RAM – Royal Academy of Music, GSMD –Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College London] that are free and open to the public.  You will certainly find a few that won’t conflict with your London Centre course schedule.

• Queue for cheap tickets to the opera and ballet at Covent Garden, the English National Opera, or for a play at the National Theatre. When will you have the chance to see and hear such world-class performances, in such abundance, again?

• Hear something (anything) in the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room, the Queen Elizabeth Hall … If you are planning to study in London in Fall, you might be able to catch the last concerts of the Proms, where you can listen to the world's best musicians and orchestras for as little as £6!  St. James Picadilly and St. John's Smith Square also offer world-class concerts at reasonable prices.  Check out London's Concert Diary to find out what is playing around the city.

• Museums & historic sites: Visit Händel's House, the Sir John Soane Museum, the Foundling Hospital Museum (where there is also a small but fantastic collection of Handel artefacts, including his Will & Testament), attend a Ceilidh at Cecil Sharp House (English Folk Music & Dance), spend some time at the National Portrait Gallery, or see the “Treasures” room at the British Library.

Music Lessons

The basics

Students who have regularly taken music lessons on-campus and who wish to continue taking lessons while in London may choose to do so.  If successful in contracting for at least five hours worth of instruction over the term, students may register for a 3-unit, S/U only course overseen by Associate Dean Jeffrey Stannard.  Costs up to $500 for these lessons will be reimbursed to the student or paid to the instructor directly by the London Centre.  Students interested in pursuing lessons, should contact the Off-Campus Programs office for more information.


Students must register for these lessons in the spring of the academic year before attending the London Centre (soon after paying their deposit confirming participation in the London Centre program).  Students register for London Studio Instruction (MUIN 355) through Voyager.  Instructor approval is needed to register for MUIN 355 and Dean Stannard will grant this approval.

Finding an Instructor

Students make arrangements for an instructor independently (meaning, the London Centre does not arrange instructors for you).  Occasionally students choose to work with more than one instructor to meet the requirement of five contact hours over the term.  Students should talk with their advisor and/or studio instructor to see if they have suggestions for an instructor based upon past experiences of their students in London and/or personal contacts in London.  Professor DeCorsey can also be a good resource for students.  If this does not yield suggestions of an instructor, the student should contact Christine Hoenigs (London Centre Director) who will draw upon knowledge of past instructors and may consult the London Centre music history professor for suggestions.  It is up to the student to contact and arrange for the lessons.  Students should start this process two to three months before their London arrival.  Students should know who will be teaching their lessons before arriving in London. 

Scheduling Lessons

Planning for lessons in London in advance is highly recommended. Most instructors are working professionals who have busy travel and performance schedules and it can be difficult to get all of the needed lessons in if they are not planned throughout the term.  However, some teachers may find it difficult to schedule lessons months in advance, so students should be flexible when considering teachers and lesson times. If lessons do not work out with a specific teacher, do not worry. London is full of professionals who should be delighted to teach you, even if it is only for a one-time lesson. Additionally, while working with one instructor consistently throughout the term in London is beneficial, students can gain insight from taking lessons from more than one professor throughout the term.


You will get an evaluation form from Christine which you and your instructor fill in at your first lesson.  The top half of the form is to be done at the beginning of the lessons and the bottom is the evaluation form the instructor completes at the end of the term.

Practice space

There is a dedicated practice space for Lawrence students at the London Centre.  Students can use this room to practice during reasonable hours (we suggest 8.30am to 10pm), and access to the room is by a key code which can be obtained from Christine Hoenigs.

The practice room has a Clavinova but if you prefer to practice on a piano, there are some locations in London, including public libraries, where you can play, either for free or for a small fee. Contact Christine if you would like to find out more. In terms with a larger number of students taking lessons, it is all the more important for each student to plan ahead and coordinate practice time with their peers.

End of term

At the end of the term you will need to bring the evaluation form back to your instructor.  After it is completed, it should be given to Christine Hoenigs in a sealed envelope.  She will fax it to campus so Dean Stannard is able to give you the S/U grade.  Please note that you will not receive a grade for these lessons until you submit the completed evaluation form.


The completed evaluation form will list how much the student has paid to the instructor for the lessons – this serves as proof of payment and your reimbursement will be based on this amount.  The London Centre will pay the instructor directly as soon as you have submitted the evaluation form. If you paid the instructor, a reimbursement will be arranged through the London Centre.