Archived Q&A and Reviews
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My 13-year-old son plays piano and over the last year has been studying jazz improvisation. He plays in a weekly jazz ensemble workshop but would like to get together with other teen jazz musicians to play informally. Anybody interested? Jennifer
Try the Jazz School in downtown Berkeley for classes, workshops, and bands. It's terrific. High school jazz programs (in Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito) exist but may be hard to get into. Good luck
My son's piano teacher is moving away at the end of May. She is a wonderful teacher who our son really enjoys and has learned much from. He has a good foundation in all piano and music fundamentals and we are now looking for another piano teacher who can pick up where his current teacher leaves off. We would like to find someone who is able to continue stressing all piano fundamentals but who also likes and incorporates ''contemporary'',''popular'' music into the music repertoire, music that a music-loving ten- year old would want to play. MFW
Janet Somers, in Rockridge, is an incredible, brilliant, and gifted teacher. My son had two previous piano teachers who did not inspire or excite him, and he quit piano. Then we found Janet. She met my son where he was at, appreciated him as an individual (which included incorporating his taste for Elton John music), and inspired him to go with the music he wanted to play while gently expanding his vistas into jazz and classical. This led to my son being very self motivated to practice and he progressed amazingly. Under her guidance, he performed an Elton John song beautifully in one of Janet's student recitals (this one at the Freight and Salvage), for which she hired a bass player and drummer to perform with the students playing jazz and pop. If we hadn't met Janet, I think my son would not have continued with piano for the six years he took lessons before going off to college. He now studies with her during the summers when he comes home. My son and I both feel very fortunate to have had Janet in our lives and cannot speak highly enough of her. She also has a degree in music from UC Berkeley and occasionally performs in jazz groups around the Bay Area. Her number is 510-653-6783, her email is janetsomers21 [at] gmail.com. Gwynn
(editor note: for additional responses to this question see Piano Lessons for Children )
Hi- I'm looking for a jazz piano teacher- either private (preferred)or in a class- I have 10 years of serious classical piano training from childhood so I read and play proficiently but I'd like to learn more improvisational playing and jazz chord progressions- any recommended teachers out there? jazz me up
Ellen Hoffman is an outstanding jazz piano teacher. My husband has been taking lessons from her for years, and has made amazing progress. She is particularly good at matching the correct level of music to your needs, and she pays a lot of attention to detail - which really makes you get better. She is also an incredible performer and composer, and a lot of fun! Her website is: http://www.ellenhoffmanmusic.com/ Good luck. Pat
For beginning jazz piano lessons I strongly recommend Sallie Hanna-Rhyne in Berkeley, 510-843-1963. She has been teaching for many years and is great working with kids and adults alike, especially teenagers. She teaches blues, boogie-woogie, and jazz. For the more advanced and committed jazz pianist, Debbie Poryes in Piedmont, is a very experienced and dedicated teacher and performer. 510-655-6596 Laura Klein lauraanneklein [at] gmail.com
From taking voice lessons with him and experiencing him as a teacher and pianist, I can recommend Rich Kalman. Richard Kalman, a Berkeley music teacher, offers jazz piano lessons at his home/studio to children and adults. Using some of the best jazz piano texts available, he can help you gain mastery of jazz chords, voicings, progressions, and how to develop improvisational mastery. Kalman has been teaching piano and voice for over 15 years in a convenient Berkeley location. He also teaches vocal jazz workshops and a big band class at the Albany Adult School. Websites: http://richardkalman.com, http://richkalman.musicpeeps.com You can reach him at richkalman [at] att.net or at richkalman [at] aol.com Fran Have fun jazzing up!
I highly recommend Angie Spinelli at Musically Minded Studio. She is classical trained and went on to study jazz. She is now a professional jazz pianist. She has a unique way of articulating jazz methods and theory. She also understands how to translate the language used by classical players to help them understand jazz. She is fantastic. Contact the director of the studio for more information about taking lessons from Angie. anna [at] musicallyminded.com, 510 428 4094, www.musicallyminded.com anon
I would recommend Eli Sundelson (510-295-8998). His specialty is the Hammond B-3 organ but he is a fabulous pianist as well--and a great teacher! Mary
I'm looking for a piano teacher that can teach me how to play ragtime. As a child I grew up in a musical family, and the music was always old style jazz. Over the years I taught myself how to play the piano, but I never got far enough with it where I could play jazz. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to play old jazz, especially ragtime. I feel that I have an ear for this kind of music, just not the broader knowledge of the structure of jazz to try to figure it all out on the piano. Is there a piano teacher that can help me to learn to play this kind of music? I have great difficulty reading music, but I am a quick learner when it comes to watching and listening. I would need a teacher who works well with someone like me. Laurey
I've got the perfect guy for you: ''Hurricane'' Sam Rudin. He is a pleasure to work with, specializes in adults, and is very willing to focus on what you want. A great performer, too, playing ''boogie, blues, and jazz.'' his site is http://www.hurricanesam.com/index.php Good luck! anne
John Partridge is a fantastic ragtime player and composer and seems a very nice person if you're looking for a teacher. (He plays other styles too, but ragtime is one of his focus areas.) You can get a sense of his playing and personality on most Thursdays during lunchtime when he's at the Cheeseboard pizza place on Shattuck. More info if you google his name and ''ragtime'' You can reach him at partridj AT aol.com; I believe he lives in El Cerrito. Hope you'll be happily playing soon! Franziska
PS: John Partridge has a new website: www.jpartridge.com. Enjoy! Franziska
Ellen Hoffman is a fabulous piano teacher, musician, arranger, etc. etc. She can teach anything. I take jazz lessons with her to learn chord structure and how to accompany myself singing. (I'm trained classically). Ellen makes learning music REALLY fun and has unbelievable patience. You can e-mail her at ellenlouisehoffman AT sbcglobal.net She lives in Berkeley near Hopkins and Cornell. Have fun, June
Eric Glick Rieman would be good. He plays and teaches all sorts of music, including Jazz. He's at 225-5269
love that ragtime too
Any suggestions for after-school music classes for a teenager interested in music, especially jazz?
Oaktown Jazz Workshop has classes Tues. and Weds. from 4-6. (I'm not positive about Tues. -- Weds. is for more advanced students and that class definitely meets, but there used to be a less advanced group on Tues.) You can call Khalil, but most kids just go down, talk with him there, and audition. Cost is $50/month. Group plays at various community events in the east bay. Oaktown Jazz Workshop Khalil Shaheed, director 1428 Alice St Alice Arts Center Oakland, CA 94612 510-233-6205 (Alice Arts?)
Website (very dated and phone no. incorrect): http://www.oaktown-jazz.org/ See also http://www.jazznow.com/khalil_shaheed.html.