Musical Activities


Piano performance - Licentiate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSMD(P)) - 2002
Teaching - Postgraduate Diploma in Music Teaching in Professional Practice (Distinction) (PGDipMTPP) - 2007

I have many years’ experience in performance, accompaniment and teaching, also composition and arrangement. While I no longer take on pupils on a long-term basis I am happy to offer advice and in some cases to give one-off consultations in person - to get in touch go to ‘contact me’.
I currently lead a piano group in my local U3A (Barnet branch of the University of the Third Age).  The group meets weekly and sessions are conducted on a 'masterclass' basis. 


26 July 2022 sees the publication of 'Tickling the Ivories  -  a Piano Journey'', a musical autobiography.  It tells the story of my involvement in the piano from early childhood to the present, against my own often turbulent family background and that of the social and cultural developments in post-war Liverpool.  Interleaved with the narrative chapters are interludes dealing in a non-technical way with such issues as how the piano works and how to play a simple tune with accompaniment without the need to read notation.  

The book is dedicated to David Crystal, honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor, whom I have known since I was eleven (I am now 73).  David says about the book:  'a delight to read, a very natural style.  He succeeds in achieving a balance between the home and piano worlds, and the bridge between the two comes across very clearly.  He tells the family story very movingly and fairly.  The descriptions of the various piano pieces are really interesting and evocative, and wll surely appeal to any piano learner.'    

This review from a Goodreads reviewer:

How to explain how exquisite and heartrending and beautifully personal this memoir is. ??

My family has always had a piano. Through generations, even when dragging your piano to Kansas in a wagon was a ridiculous idea. Even when purchasing a piano meant more than the family made in a month. We have always been surrounded by music. My mom was the true musician - and the piano was her therapy. We knew coming home from school what mood my mom was in, based on her piano choices. If we could hear the loud exclamations of 'The Entertainer' as we stepped off the bus, it was going to be a great afternoon! If the piano was moaning with quiet pensive hymns, we creaked open the screen door and crept up the stairs.

Jacobsen's stories and memories are considerably darker in tone than my own, but nonetheless resonant. He shares of his family background and youth with a frankness that is refreshing, that only a musician can truly impart.

This memoir, in fact, reads like a thoughtful album. Like a well-written song. And if one plays the piano, the notes and lyrics are here hidden just under the surface of Jacobsen's writing.

I learned to play the piano from my mom. Though I switched to flute at a young age, the beauty of music has always stayed close to my heart, triumphant and sorrowful in the same breath. This book reminds me who I am, even as I'm experiencing the life of a stranger.

Masterfully written, Keith Jacobsen. Thank you for sharing this book with the world.

"A piano does not do anything apart from what your fingers, hands and arms tell it to do. Even then it keeps no memory of what you have done for next time. It is not difficult to make a noise from the piano, but it is hard work getting anything worthwhile out of it. It is seriously old fashioned."

"Music is not and can never be distinct from real life."

I also write occasional articles on music.

Latest published article:  Britten and the Sea - Marine Quarterly,  Spring   2012   
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