Despite a large body of research into learning styles from cognitive, personality and activity perspectives, the definition of learning style is still unclear. The assessment instruments commonly in use have methodological problems. The learning styles of conservatorium instrumentalists are scarcely known and are best studied using an observational approach. This study investigates student behaviour in 24 studio music lessons in order to provide music educators with new means of describing and classifying learning styles in this unique setting. Six learning styles were identified using cluster analysis, with the largest group of students using the Compliant style of learning that exhibits submissive student behaviour associated with maestro-style teaching. Similar numbers of students employed positive learning strategies (Extrovert and Serious) and negative learning approaches (Apologetic, Disappointed and Frustrated). Stereotypical gender attitudes to learning emerged. The results provide new insights into the learning styles of advanced instrumentalists and inform professional practice by drawing complex models of music learning occurring at conservatorium level.