top of page

RGS  H a r p s i c h o r d   L e s s o n s

This page is intended for parents and pupils who are considering taking harpsichord lessons at Newcastle Royal Grammar School.



Here at RGS, we are extremely lucky to have a harpsichord. Our  instrument was built by Robert Deegan in his workshop on St. George's Quay, Lancaster. It is a copy of a single manual Flemish instrument, originally built by Hans Moermans in 1584.


To help you understand a little more about this incredible instrument, and to encourage you to learn more about playing it, I have uploaded some interesting videos. They cover topics such as the history of the harpsichord, how the instrument works and some exciting performances to get you hooked!

Some of the benefits of learning harpsichord



  • Learning the harpsichord is an incredible way to develop your knowledge of harmony and figured bass – especially useful for GCSE and A-Level students. Research suggests that students with good keyboard skills do better at written exams too.


  • ABRSM exams are offered from grade 4, but students can begin from around grade 2.


  • Lessons are provided in the same way as normal instrumenal lessons, however, as you are unlikely to have your own instrument at home, a booking system is provided to allow students to practice during break/free periods/after school.


  • Many pianists choose harpsichord as a second study, either for enjoyment, or to develop their existing keyboard skills further. There is masses of repertoire waiting to be discovered that you rarely encounter on the piano.


  • If you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s the instrument for you too. No other school in the region offers harpsichord lessons, and there are not many harpsichord teachers outside of school either. Why wait until you get to university to start – theres no need to grow a beard or dash out to buy a pair of sandals, get involved now and give yourself a head start on the competition.

How does it work?

Harpsichordist Steven Devine takes an instrument to pieces and describes how  its distinctive sound is produced.

How are they made?

Every harpsichord is unique. Here, a slightly sleepy sounding gentleman describes the process of building an instrument from scratch.

Useful Links







  • The Avison Ensemble - The region's premier period orchestra dedicated to the promotion of Newcastle born composer Charles Avison


Pancrace Royer

Performed by: Jean Rondeau

Jean Rondeau is one of the new generation of harpsichordists. His playing is tremendously exciting and he is widely regarded as a virtuoso on the instrument.


This piece was published in France in 1746, and you can decide for yourself how the title 'Vertigo' dictates the feel of the music!

Jean Baptiste Quentin

Performed by: Ensemble Nevermind

This beautiful piece by Quentin is an excellent example of how the harpsichord is used within an ensemble, playing figured bass. You can see how expressive the instrument can be, imitating the lute players of the day with the lavishly rolled chords using a technique called 'style brisee'.

The Handel House


Handel composed a huge amount of music for the harpsichord. He lived in an 18th c. house on Brook Street in London, which is now a museum. It contains a number of stunning harpsichords. Discover more about them here.

Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons - 'Summer'
Performed by: Red Priest

(Who said playing an instrument was dull?)

bottom of page