Be like Jane Austen. Practice the piano every day.

For years I have been fascinated with the literary works by Jane Austen and music during her time. The Austen Family Music Books now available for free viewing online at the Southampton University Library (UK) makes it possible to study music that was in her possession. Below is the description and brief resource list for the Jane Austen Society of North America Metropolitan Kansas City Region presentation titled “Jane Austen’s Piano Lessons”, held January 27, 2024 at Village Presbyterian Church, Kansas City.

“It’s no secret that Jane Austen enjoyed music and played the piano. She favored popular and dance music that she performed to entertain her family. There is some mystery surrounding her musical growth through piano lessons with the Winchester Cathedral assistant organist George William Chard. In this presentation, we will speculate on how Jane Austen’s lessons may have been conducted. Encouraged by her father to study and play the piano, her early years of piano lessons coincided with the wildly creative years of her juvenilia literature. A similar outpouring of her youthful comical and often irreverent parodies are found in songs in her collections along with vigorous dance pieces. The renowned expert Gillian Dooley states with “a fair amount of confidence [that she has] identified 140–150 pieces of music [in the Austen Family Music Books] as written in Jane Austen’s handwriting, apparently across the course of her life.” Dr. Jacob Hofeling, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Mark Catholic Church in Independence, Missouri, will join me to perform keyboard music found in the “Austen Family Music Books” and discuss music instruction common in England during Jane Austen’s formative years. ”   ~Linda Mannering

Resources List: The Austen Family Music Books, digitized and available online in the University of Southampton Library, (UK) A brief introduction to the life and work of Jane Austen

Alltop, Stephen and Stoppelenburg, Josefien. Jane Austen at the Piano. Persuasions Vol 42, No 1, Winter 2021.

Brooks, Jeanice. “Musical Monuments for the Country House: Music, Collection, and Display at Tatton Park” Music & Letters, © The Author (2010), Vol. 91 No.4, Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. doi:10.1093/ml/gcq088, available online at

Carrasco, Samantha. “The Austen Family Music Books and Hampshire Music Culture, 1770-1820” Ph.D. dissertation includes an alphabetical list of music works in the Austen Family Music Books volumes and a list by composer.

Cave. Penelope & Faulds, Katrina. Duetts in the Drawing Room from the Georgian Music Collections at Tatton Park & Killerton House, a lunchtime recital sponsored by the University of Southampton, October 29, 2012.

Chard, George. Dictionary of Music and Musicians (online) at Wikisource last updated 29 December 2020.

Chard, George. Listed in “Mayors of Winchester from 1587 to 1912”. Cited in Wikipedia last updated 4 December 2023.

Clementi & Co 1798-1830

Dooley, Gillian. “Jane Austen and the Music of the French Revolution”, Essays in French Literature and Culture 57, 2020, pp. 151-166.

Dooley, Gillian. “Juvenile Songs and Lessons: Music Culture in Jane Austen’s Teenage Years”, Persuasions, vol 41 no 1, Winter 2020.

Gammie, Ian & McCulloch, Derek. Jane Austen’s Music. Corda Music Publications, 1996.

Honan, ParkJane Austen: A Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987. ISBN 0-312-01451-1.

Jousse, J., Musical Catechism. Later published as “Improved, Revised & Corrected, including Dictionary of Musical Terms, Burrowes’ Guide to Practice,  Mohr’s Thirty Home Rules” Theodore Presser Company, 1892. Included in the Austen Family Music Books was a much earlier version of this booklet.

Kimber, Marian Wilson, Jane Austen’s Playlist: Teaching Music History Beyond the Canon, The Journal of Music History Pedagogy 4, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 213-230.

Rainbow, Bernarr, “The Rise of Popular Music Education in Nineteenth-Century England” Vol. 30, No. 1, Music in Victorian Society and Culture (Autumn, 1986), pp. 25-49.

Ray, Joan Klingel, Interview on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, October 10, 2010 by Charles Carlini, interviewer.

Roy, Josephine M., Mistresses of Music: The Pianoforte and Social Mobility in Jane Austen’s Novels.’s%20novels%2C%20the%20pianoforte,the%20pianoforte%20to%20good%20use.

Spongberg, Mary, “Jane Austen, the 1790s, and the French Revolution”, in Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite (eds.), A Companion to Jane Austen (Chichester: Wiley, 2009), 272-281.

Storace, Stephen, “Captivity: A Ballad” (London: J. Dale, 1793). British Library Music Collections DRT Digital Store G.1277.a.(44.) Online.

Sutherland, Kathryn, “Women Writing in Time of War”, in Kathryn Sutherland (ed.), Jane Austen: Writer in the World (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2017), 97-117.

Thompson, Allison. Dances from Jane Austen’s Assembly Rooms. A Collection of 40 Dance Tunes from Austen’s Music Books as well as 46 Popular Dance Tunes of the Day, with the Choicest Selection of Figures set to them as Danced at Court, Bath, & all Publick Assemblies, together with Poems, Sermons, Songs, Elegant Extracts, Exhortations, & Descriptive Essays, Selected and Written in a Style Guaranteed to Elevate, Instruct, & Amuse. © 2019 by Allison Thompson, ISBN: 978-0-578-53776-5. Published August 2019 and available at

Todd, Janet, ed. Jane Austen in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-82644-6.

Todd, Janet. The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-107-49470-1.

Tucker, George Holbert. “Amateur Theatricals at Steventon”. The Jane Austen Companion. Ed. J. David Grey. New York: Macmillan, 1986. ISBN 0-02-545540-0. 1–4