It’s hard to find a decent pianist that is willing to play for ballet classes. So far I have persuaded 3 persons to attend a session to see how ballet accompanists work. Only one took up the post, but he left 3 months later citing unable to commit. The other 2 took the scores to zap and practice, and a fortnight later rescinded the offer. I’m still trying to convince one friend who has completed Grade 8 to try it out. Her excuse: “I’m not good enough”.

What does a ballet pianist do? He/she plays the piano – scores provided – and the students dance. And you do that for several hours, as long as you can take it. Typically, I play for 11 hours on weekends. To some, it’s a torture, but to me, it’s therapeutic. I get to work out my fingers, compose new songs during freework classes, and get paid. You don’t play non-stop, mind you. It’s like taking piano lessons or lessons of any kind. Does the teacher ask you to play non-stop? Of course not. You play for 50 seconds for an exercise, the teacher talks for 2 minutes, then either repeat the exercise again, or go to the next exercise.

Youths nowadays can sit in front of the computer for hours, one can also sit in front of the piano and play. To think of it, there is so much in common between a PC-user and a piano-player.

Since I am already playing for ballet classes, why is there a need for more pianists? Simple: I got a full-time job, Mondays to Fridays. You can’t expect me to play on Saturdays and Sundays too? The classes stretches over 11 hours, longer during exam periods. I need a life. I need a rest, not from playing piano, but from work. So for the other days without me playing, the teacher uses the recorded CD for accompaniment, and she hates it.

And the school doesn’t only need one pianist. I doubt anyone can play 11-hour like me, so the school would need a few pianists to rotate or play in shifts. Of course, if you need the money and willing to sacrifice your weekends and free time to play for more classes, this job pays relatively well. Music? It’s not THAT difficult. You will be given time to practice, until you are ready to play. Even if it takes one year to practice, at least I know you will be ready to play 12 months from now.

Interested? Drop me a mail or comment.


  1. Hi!
    I am a professional ballet pianist and love it too. I combine the ballet accompaniment with really solo carrere now, you can find a lot of information about me by searching on my full name on I will be lucky to help you for 1-2 months when you need some holydays. Or perhaps we could change for a couple of months, you can come here to Oslo and play at my ballet school and I can play at yours? It can be really interesting for both of us! I love to travel and I use to play for many pianists in manydifferent companies. Interested? Take a contact!
    Best wishes-
    pianist Natalia Strelchenko, Oslo

  2. hello!! =)

    i wish i could meet u sometime …. but u only come to joo chiat once in 2 weeks ….

    i have fun too!! .. i’m the new pianist btw …
    playing for 7 hours for sunday ….. =)

    been playing for 2 months now … and still having the stress for grade 3-5, and due to my busy schedule .. i don’t really have time to practice also ='( …. luckily … grade 6-8 are not a problem …… weird enough ….

    hope to see u sometime Mr Chester =) … always hear of ur name often in joo chiat … hehe

  3. Hi there!

    My name’s Noora and I’m studying in Sibelius Academy, Finland. I’ve been working as a ballet pianist for the past five years and I love it. I am currently writing my bachelor thesis about being a ballet pianist and I just thought I’d ask if any of you would be willing to answer a few questions via e-mail, concerning how you’ve become to do this work etc. It would really help me in my research and wouldn’t take much of your time.

    If you’re intrested in helping out, just drop me a line to

    Thanks 😀

  4. Hi! My name is Julia. I’m a pianist and it happened so that i’ve been playing a lot in the ballet also. I really enjoyed it, and i want very much to keep doing that on. But for the next year i’m probably moving to helsinki for studying master degree there. So if you could be so kind and drop me a line to i’m sure i can help you out with a great pleasure for both parts!=)

  5. This is a little backdated, but I’m a ballet pianist too. I play on weekends, and 2-4 hours on weekdays. I’m familiar with all grades up to 7, g1-3 alternative, and inter found.

    I find playing for ballet classes rewarding… even though I overplayed last year while waiting for a levels, leading to a badly injured finger.

    Incidentally, which centre/teacher do you play for? I might know it/her/him.

    Trade contacts for fun?

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