Meet Kate Burkinshaw of Singing Fingers
A piano teacher for over 20 years, Kate Burkinshaw is the owner of Singing Fingers, which offers piano lessons for people of all ages and capabilities, as well as multi-generational music classes to bring people of all ages together in sharing the love of music.
York-based Kate also offers Skype piano lessons for people all over the world. Here, she tells us more about Singing Fingers and how she would like to expand the business this year with more local pupils.
Music for all ages
Singing Fingers was born in 2014 when my husband and I were living in Ibiza. I then brought it to York when we moved here with our little girl in 2017.
· York-based Piano lessons for all ages and levels from beginner to advanced, and young to old.
· Skype Piano lessons, currently with pupils in Ibiza, Norway, Italy, Denmark, and Tel Aviv.
· Multi-generational music classes for wobblers and toddlers aged 1-4 years, held in care homes for the elderly.
Creative & mindful playing
The Piano has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I believe music is incredibly powerful and healing, and I set up Singing Fingers with the simple aim of spreading that love for music to as many people as I could!
As a Piano teacher I am very flexible in my teaching style – my goal is purely to help people fall in love with playing the piano in whatever musical form that may be, but I specialise in creative and mindful playing. By that, I mean, I don’t just run pupils through exam after exam; I help them to discover their own musical style through improvisation, composition and repertoire exploration, and I show them how to use their playing to help them through the challenges of life.
Music exams have their place, but playing an instrument can also be an enormously powerful outlet for our emotions; it can create the calm space that we all truly need in this ‘noisy’ world.
Multi-generational music classes
My multi-generational music classes are so much fun, not just for the little ones, but also for the parents and for the elderly residents in the home in which we run them. We sing and dance together like crazy people!
We play percussion instruments; I introduce the kids to the piano, and we use fun props like floaty scarves and huge lycra sheets to really feel the music and move together.
I love teaching the piano and seeing children discovering the piano for the first time along with their excitement and interest as we play the musical games I’ve developed over the years.
I enjoy helping teenagers express themselves through their piano playing; helping to build their confidence and find their musical identity. And I love helping mature students fend off the fear of the ‘adult learner’ so they can discover or rediscover the Piano in their fingertips.
I loved creating my group classes in Ibiza too, and every variation of them I’ve done, from Spanish nurseries to UK care homes! I love seeing the children’s reactions when they experience my class for the first time, and the stories the parents tell me of their little ones singing and dancing like me at home.
It’s wonderful to see the elderly residents’ faces when the children arrive at the class too; their energy levels visibly rising with the injection of life the little ones bring them.
Everyone is always made to feel at home the minute they arrive at Singing Fingers. My classes are relaxed and fun, and we are supportive and welcoming to absolutely everyone.
The biggest challenge
For me the biggest challenge has been getting myself known and my message out to people in York. Moving countries with a 6-month old was a big challenge and finding the time to network and meet new people on top of all my work and family commitments hasn’t been easy!
Goals for the year-ahead
Singing Fingers is a miniature business, as I am still enjoying being a full-time Mum to my beautiful little girl. I would like to expand the Singing Fingers family a little more this year though. I’d love to grow my teaching studio with more local pupils, and I’d like to find another lovely care home who want to get involved in my group classes.
If anyone would like to learn more about my Piano lessons or my multi-generational group classes, please do get in touch:
You can also follow Singing Fingers on Facebook.