My name is Annabel Connellan and I live in Ardingly, West Sussex, with my husband and three children.  I teach piano, oboe and music theory privately from my home, which is situated in a beautiful picturesque valley just outside the village.

I also love accompanying, and have played for many grade exams, auditions, festivals, competitions and concerts.  I have lots of experience working with children and have full DBS clearance.


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My background is in classical record production, and in addition to my teaching and accompanying work I also run a production company with my husband, who is a highly respected classical sound engineer.  I am an Oxford Music Graduate and have a Masters degree in Music from the University of Surrey (specialising in sound recording), but my interest in music teaching has intensified since I began to teach my elder daughter the piano in 2003.



All ages are welcome for private piano or oboe tuition – I have experience teaching children from 4 years old up to adults in their 70s, and I am happy to take on beginners or more experienced players.  My philosophy is that music is for everybody, and I try to ensure that my own love and enthusiasm for the subject is always in evidence, making your lesson experience all the more enjoyable. I’m determined that I will always be aware of your overall goal and personal mission for learning, and will strive to get you there in the most enjoyable way possible. However, I think it is important to mention that I don’t believe in ‘instant gratification’.  Learning to play an instrument is a long-term undertaking and is not easy, but it is fun and rewarding! My teaching methods are, in essence, traditional – I will teach you to read music properly and thoroughly, and will build theory tuition into the practical lessons.  I also encourage all pupils to listen to music that they may not normally be drawn to, and to bring their reactions into lessons for discussion.

My background as a producer has coloured my teaching methods in that I will always try to help people understand the meaning, phrasing and expression in a piece to bring out the best and most musical performance.  I back this up with a thorough technical grounding right from the start, with exercises to encourage correct hand position and posture (and breathing/embouchure for oboe). If you are hoping to take grade exams, I am happy to support this, but if not, I will help you learn purely for enjoyment.

oboe teaching


Piano or oboe lessons are £15 each, and last half an hour.  The first lesson is free of charge, but after that payment can be made by any method, and if you have to miss a scheduled lesson, I won’t charge you, or would be happy to reschedule if preferred.

Lesson Times

I generally teach children on Saturdays and adults on weekdays, but I am able to be very flexible.  If you are interested in starting lessons, please get in touch and we can arrange a mutually convenient lesson time.

Skype Lessons

Since the coronavirus pandemic I have begun to offer lessons over Skype. Whilst lessons delivered in this way can have limitations, in many circumstances they are very effective, and can offer people the chance to have a lesson in their own home if, for example, travelling to my house would present difficulties. Please contact me if you are interested in having a free trial Skype lesson.

A Recommendation

Annabel started to teach my children piano aged 7 and 5 respectively from scratch. She is a mother herself, and is experienced in teaching children and adults of all levels and ages. She is a very approachable person, highly professional, good at recognising limitations, praising efforts and constructively tutoring areas for improvement. As her students, I know that my children are always keen to deliver results to Annabel, which encourages a strong home practice regime, and has augmented their abilities and confidence in music no end. Both children are enjoying their journey in music and have experienced a broad style base along the way (waltz, jazz, blues and many other traditional pieces), with ABRSM exams interjected at just the right time. Both have excelled in their exams so far, gaining Distinction every time.

Annabel has always made every minute count for us, always with a smile, and we feel very privileged to have found her!

– Anna Nardini



Ever since my elder daughter took her grade 3 violin I have accompanied my children as they have moved up the grades on violin, oboe, horn and bassoon, as well as for numerous festivals, competitions, concerts and auditions (including for the National Children’s Orchestra, which resulted in scholarships on several occasions). I now regularly take on many types of accompanying work, and draw on my experience as a producer to help people polish their performances, so that they bring out the underlying meaning and expression in the music. Making music with others is a passion of mine, and I hope that my own enjoyment and enthusiasm during rehearsals will help to put you at your ease about your up-coming exam or event. I have experience accompanying younger children and adults, and can accompany all grades, including Grade 8 and Diploma.

Rehearsals are £15 for half an hour, and exam fees begin at £30 for Grades 1 – 5.  Fees for higher grades or other events will be quoted separately.

A Recommendation

“Annabel provided me with piano accompaniment for my Grade 5 saxophone exam and as many practice sessions as I felt I needed. From the start, I found her to be very enthusiastic and amenable whilst retaining a professional attitude. She gave me a lot of valuable feedback and advice on my playing techniques, musical interpretation and sound and made good productive use of the practice sessions. I would recommend Annabel highly.”

– Gerry Thorpe

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Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about what I do, or to book a trial lesson.


Email: annabel@giraffeproductions.co.uk

Home number: 01444 891893


Also see our production company website: http://www.giraffeproductions.co.uk


I look forward to hearing from you!