James was educated as a music scholar at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood and studied the piano with Rachel Lambert. As a sixth former he attended the Royal Academy of Music, furthering his piano playing under pianist Graham Caskie. He went on to study Music at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he held an instrumental scholarship as well as gaining a choral scholarship at Oriel College. He graduated in 2008 and, having been awarded a high first in performance, he applied to study solo piano at the Guildhall School of Music where he completed his Masters under professors Paul Roberts and Charles Owen, his studies being generously supported by The Leathersellers’ Company. There he developed an interest in the Alexander Technique and its capacity to identify causes of tension in playing thanks to the teacher Nelly Ben-Or with whom he continues to study.