Jon's School of Music

Community Subscriber
Operated By: 
Jon Merker
Toddlers, Preschoolers, Kinder, School-Aged
8 participants
jon [at]

Jon Merker of Jon's School of Music has been bringing the joy of music and  instruments to Berkeley children since 1996. In his BPN-acclaimed class, kids play drum set, keyboard, guitar, cello, violin, trumpet, microphone, much more, and learn the basics of music from a super-fun, experienced and innovative teacher!

Parent Reviews

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Here to add another endorsement for Jon's School of Music at Totland. Lots to love about his approach and, as a professor of music, I appreciate so much that his priority is play, exploration, and collaboration for kids just starting off in music. My two kids (ages 3 and 6) have learned a lot from him this last year!

I also recommend Jon’s music classes at Totland park ( My daughter started attending at around 2.5 years and all our family loves these lessons. They are both very entertaining and goofy, and educational. At first I thought of it more like a good way for my daughter to socialize and get a music exposure (she really likes singing and listening to music a lot). I didn’t expect much of the educational component. But in reality after a few lessons my daughter started repeating all the info about notes and singing in different tones at home too! So, this is not just a fun class, it’s really working in terms of building the foundation for future more structured classes for older kids. And I also love that Jon introduces kids to real instruments—guitars, drums, violin, cello etc. They play like a real rock-band during classes. And Jon himself is so good with the kids! My daughter adores him.

Try Jon’s School of Music. He’ll have a ton of fun, learn musical notes and try out many instruments.

There's Jon's School of Music holds fun music classes for tots in the little clubhouse at Totland toddler park at Virginia/McGee in Berkeley. Some of the classes start as young as 1 year old.

Hi there, you got the similar situation as we do, my oldest is almost 5 years old and the youngest is only 14 months. We took both boys to Jon's School of Music, they LOVE it!!! Jon is a very professional and experienced musician and teacher, he got all the skills to entertain kids while teaching and inspiring kids to learn & love music. My oldest son started taking music lesson from Jon as young as 23 months, and now almost 3 years already, and My younger is started lesson as young as 12 months old once he can sit still. And we both see music lessons have wonderful impact on them, verbal, communication, expression oneself & cognitive development. They got to experience different kind of music instruments, making songs, dancing & dramatic music play, etc., We LOVE it.
And, they also can associate with kids around their age and my kids have great friends group inside the music class too, also, so do mom support group too. :) Anyway, we do highly recommend to everyone who are looking for professional, affordable & wonderful music introduction classes.

Our daughter (just about 4 years old) is very similar in musical interest/ability to what you described. She's been taking group music class with Jon at Totland and loves it.

They learn about different notes and scales, do vocal exercises, and get exposure to all instruments - drum set, electric guitar and bass, violin, trumpet, cello, piano, other percussion instruments, etc.

From what I've read, she's still a little too young to be able to really form chords on a guitar. They say the best instrument for kids this age is the drums - she's always banging on a few hand drums that we have in the house and has a ukulele that she plays - her strumming and rhythm have really improved on that. Although she can't get form chords, she has started moving her fingers around and recognizes the different sounds it makes.

We are also a big friend of Jon Music of School!!! My son is with Jon for over 2 years now. He LOVES the music class so much and whenever he gets off from the class, there always a big smile on his face. Jon is a professional musician and he knows all the music skills and tricks to teach children, toddlers, etc., One of the specialty of Jon is: he can combine music theory into fun games, pretend play & drama. Even young toddlers can understand and follow his instructions too. Another bonus part is: we always have our kids do a play date at the Totland playground after the music class since the class takes place inside the Totland playground clubhouse. So, kids are friends and playmates inside and out of the music class. I would say, Jon music not only bring us the joy of learning music but also bring us a good group of Mama/Playgroup support group too! So, we are highly recommended it to everyone who is looking for music class and fun things to do in the East Bay Area!!!

I recommend looking into Jon's School of Music, which offers classes for toddlers and kids (age 1.5-6) at Totland park in Berkeley, including on Friday afternoons. Jon's music classes offer toddlers a chance to play a huge assortment of musical instruments, many of them in toddler-size (e.g., guitar, cello, violin, horns, piano, etc). Plus the kids learn musical concepts and have a blast while doing it. My 3-year-old son has been taking classes with Jon for a year, and he adores it. To give you a sense of his enthusiasm: After taking a few weeks off, I told my son we'd be restarting music this week, he jumped up and down and hollered with joy of the level you'd expect for a trip to Disneyland. Even though the new class sessions technically started this week, Jon is still enrolling new kids. Highly recommend!

RE: Drama class for a 4-year-old? ()

We have a 5 year old who is super into putting on plays at preschool but we have held off on drama programs. His preschool teachers suggested holding off another year before enrolling in a drama program because the structure can be a lot at a young age. Perhaps consider a music class like Jon’s School of Music (we are longtime attendees). Your child can ease into having it be their turn to make up a rhythm, or sing into the mic or whatever and can warm up to it slowly in a low stakes way. So, not exactly what you were asking for but perhaps another idea to consider! 

Jon's School of Music is amazing! My son adores Jon, and I am thrilled with the class. Jon is enthusiastic, has tons of energy and is playful with the kids. He has a knack for teaching them real skills while making them laugh and use muscle memory to remember music techniques. The kids are always laughing and eager to stretch themselves when it comes to trying new musical experiences. Jon creates a safe and positive environment. Jon's outgoing nature, and upbeat music make the class a blast. I highly recommend his class. My son is 3.5 years old and talks about rock and roll class all the time. i can see he loves it, and it has made me dedicated to this School! Plus Jon now teaches at Totland, so there is time to play outside before and after class, and it is close by.

RE: Piano lesson for 3 year old ()

My 3 year old son is currently taking Jon's School of Music, and I highly recommend his classes for little ones to start getting into music as his class offers the following highlights:

1. exposure (children gets to touch & play) to a wide range of instruments such as a keyboard, drum set, guitar, base, violin, xylophone, and many more.2. opportunity to learn the basics of music such as rhythm, notes, scale, etc. all in fun ways that get and keep children's attention. 3. material that helps children learn outside of class.  My son got hooked with his CDs which also help with the basics of music.4. an opportunity to learn music with peers which definitely helps my son to get motivated, and enjoy the classes. I was also considering to have my son take private piano lessons, however, a friend of mine told me about Jon's class and I decided his class instead.  I am happy that we started with Jon's class first as I think learning "music is fun" for their age is very important before learning how to play a certain instrument.

RE: Piano lesson for 3 year old ()

Jon’s school of music was great for my 3-y.o. Not 1-on-1, and the class involves exposure to a wide variety of instruments, but the class energy got our kiddo excited to participate and expand his comfort zone. Something about having a bunch of kids all playing together was key for our kid’s success there. Jon introduces music theory and clave rhythm from the very begging. It was a solid foundation and we’re looking forward to starting our 13-m.o. in one of Jon’s sessions soon. 

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

we (me and my son Jeremiah, he was 24 months old when we first started and now he is 3.4 years old) felt so amazed by Jon's professional music talents and passion of teaching music to young kids.

Jon uses drums to warm up all children and grown-ups in the classroom, to get everyone excited about the music lesson. With different music games and a variety of musical instruments, children and grown-ups got experienced with a touch of REAL MUSIC. Plus tons of vocal exercise, movement, dancing, music notes, magic games, even combine with literature, he reads/sings a book with different songs to get children to have a full experience of music in many aspects and fully open up all sense of children. Therefore, Jon music got 4 developmental domains cover perfectly: Physical- movement, dancing, eye hand coordination, etc.,; Language/Literature- singing, taking lead, giving instructions, express oneself need and ideas, communication with peers and adults; Cognitive- remember stories, rythmns, songs; Social Emotional- tons of laughers and everyone got excited about the music class, etc.,

Therefore, we are highly recommended Jonas school of Music to every parants, especially for those are music lovers!!

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

I highly recommend Jon's School of Music.  My nearly three-year-old son and I greatly look forward to our weekly class.  The instruction is both innovative and fun.  It teaches pitch, rhythm, timing, melody, and instrument mechanics in a very creative manner that demonstrates the concepts visually using physical gestures.  Various characters, collectively known as "The Superfriends", are associated with the notes of the diatonic scale to aid in retention.  The class is exposed, hands-on, to an extremely wide variety of real musical instruments to explore.  I find this exposure at such young ages to be critical but unfortunately rare in other settings.  Above all, the classes expose and encourage children to approach music freely and creatively.  This is great teaching for parents and children alike.  Enjoy!

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

Jon's School of Music Jon's School of Music Jon's School of Music YEAH!!!!

My son, who will be three in a couple of days, and I have been attending classes with Jon for almost six months now, and we both love it. He talks about music class all week between classes.

I'm not a musician, but my father is, and I grew up around a lot of musicians and have a tiny bit of musical training myself. The way Jon teaches is incredible, with fun, fast-paced activities with elementary music theory, rhythm, and scale.

Kind of hard to explain, but I like to compare it to the way Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel-San karate in the sense that the students do activities that ingrain this information through repetition. Only instead of doing chores, the kids at JSoM are playing games and having fun.

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

Jon's School of Music in Berkeley is great -- I have been taking my son there since he just turned 2 and he looks forward to it every Sunday morning (there are classes at all different times, for different ages).  It's structured so that each child has one adult accompanying them and participating with them, so it's a special weekly joint activity for the two of us.  For the really young kids like mine, the focus is on interval training (5ths), games that emphasize rhythm, dynamics (crescendos and decrescendos) as well as pitch change, by combining all of those things with body movements.  All very entertaining for little ones.  Lots of percussion.  We also rotate around and the children get to try many different cool instruments, including marimba, electric guitar and bass, accordion, keyboard, a full drum set, sometimes even a cello.  Pretty cool.  The children love Jon and run to hug him.  As a bonus, when you walk out the door, you're in the middle of the best kid's park in Berkeley -- Totland -- and it can be time for running around playing.

Jon's School of Music in Totland park building is a great place. My son started with Jon as a 4-year old in the rock band drums and keyboard class (uses other instruments too). Jon had him playing some very good original compositions on piano at 4-5 (and some of the other kids songs were great too). Jon started with his own songs (we got he CD to use at home) that allow the children to learn their way around the keyboard notes. Probably around age 7 my son wanted a break, but Jon assured us that my son had gained enough knowledge and skills that he could continue in the future "no problem" whenever he was ready. Sure enough about a year later he was ready to go back and learn some songs he had heard on the radio. My son is about to turn 11 and has been taking private lessons in the Totland building ever since. His drumming has picked up lots recently. Jon's a multi-instrumentalist so recently my son expressed the desire to play problem. Jon packs anything my kid wants to learn into his lesson. I love watching it (we sometimes video the lesson to practice at home), particularly when Jon is standing on the other side of the keyboard so he shows the next riff on the keys....and my son then gives it a go.....and Jon corrects or demonstrates again....and this repeats until the song is learned. Effective technique. It brings tears to my eyes to see my son anchoring a rendition of a recent Imagine Dragons hit on piano with a few of his peers belting out the lyrics to their favorite song on their own. Jon knows the path for kids to enjoy making music and expressing themselves with music. In my mind that's priceless. So yes.....sign up for guitar......and drums......and a dash of keyboard knowledge couldn't hurt.

Jon at Jon's school of music is fantastic. He's great with kids and teaches them musical concepts and instruments. The kids have a great time in his class and learn a ton. My son did his rock band class and wrote his own songs and learned how to play them with the band on keyboards, drums and other instruments. Jon also does private lessons.

Hi!  I would recommend Jon's School of Music.  Jon is wonderful with kids, and truly enjoys teaching them and watching them progress.  My kids have been taking classes with him for a few years, and have learned more about the love and art of making music than I can encapsulate in one small review.  He teaches in the building over in Totland Park, and offers classes for all ages as well as private lessons.  Mine play the piano, drums, and one has now begun the guitar.  You should check him out!

Yes! I have the perfect recommendation—Jon’s School of Music, which is located at Totland in Berkeley. My son is in the “rock band” class, where kids have the opportunity to play keyboard, drums, guitar, and sing. They even write songs, which is super fun and sweet. Check it out—I think he offers a free trial class.

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

I have been a stay-at-home mom for three years now, and have tried 3 different music classes in the area from the time my oldest was a tiny baby. For a two-year old, I would recommend Jon's School of Music,, I have been taking my 3-year old there from the time he was one. My LO sings to himself, makes up songs, dances, pretends he is Jon and leads me in class at home, and loves being around musical instruments. This  to me is the biggest gain from attending Jon's class, a love of music that my LO expresses every day.  

The kids get to participate in class because Jon makes it interactive, so it has given me the opportunity to coach my LO to approach the teacher, walk up to the front, which adds to his self-confidence. My youngest (a baby) will be attending Jon's class once he is old enough.

The location has lots of parking, and I schedule my park outings to match the day he is teaching, so it is super convenient to go to class and have some play afterwards . 

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

We are also happy going to Jon's music class. The class is very engaging, hands on and moves quickly. Parent engagement is required and makes the class more fun. My kid would go daily if it were possible. Now that Jon is located at Totland it's easy to make a morning of play out of the class. Email him to try a class free. Here's the info: Jon Merker / jon765432 [at]

We LOVED Jon’s School of Music. My son started in the general music class when he was 4. He was exposed to several instruments and learned basic music skills. At 5 he joined one of Jon’s “rock bands” - where the kids make up the songs and learn how to play together on a variety of instruments. My son was particularly drawn to the drums and electric guitar. Jon is quirky and fun, and really gets how to engage kids in developing a passion for and skills to explore music.

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

My girls love Jon's School of Music, We started when my youngest was 1 and my oldest attended until she was almost 6. Class meets in the building at Totland, which is great because we'd make a whole afternoon of it. We did Music Together before but switched to Jon's class because 1) my kids had more fun there; 2) they actually learned some music concepts, which helped my older daughter when she started taking piano lessons; 3) we had some negative experiences with a Music Together teacher not respecting a friend's desire not to be touched in the course of class, whereas Jon was always very attuned to different kids' boundaries and needs.

We aren't taking the class this session because both kids are starting new schools so we're figuring out our new schedule. My kids are not happy about it, and keep asking when they can see Jon. I've taken lots of classes with my kids over the last 6 years, and it's a rare and special thing to find a teacher they bond with the way they did with Jon.

RE: Music Classes for 2 year old ()

Yes!  Jon's School of Music, which is located at Totland in Berkeley.  My 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son have done multiple sessions with Jon, and they both love him.  Jon provides group classes with separate time slots for various age / skill groups, led by Jon and his various toys and puppets.  Jon's classes vary a little each time, but for the last few sessions in which my kids were enrolled, each class started with the kids participating in a lesson as a group, singing and playing the drums, and playing different games that emphasize important musical skills, like following the leader and counting.  Jon is super enthusiastic, makes up stories, does voices with the toys and puppets, and always keeps the kids very engaged.  We wonder how he does it day after day! Then, during the latter part of the class, the kids get to do a sort of round robin with different (real) musical instruments, which are appropriately child-sized.  In addition to the always-popular drum set, my kids have played the xylophone, marimba, keyboard, trumpet, guitar, violin, and cello, in addition to egg shakers, triangles, etc., and singing on the microphone.  In light of the real instruments, and to set an example for the kids, parent / caregiver participation is necessary for the classes to work.  Here is the website:  The fall classes start in a couple of weeks, and we highly recommend that you check it out; we have signed up for another session ourselves!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

    For more reviews, see Music for Babies & Toddlers , Music for Preschoolers , and Music Classes for Kids 5-11

    Aug 2012

    Re: Jon's vs. Music Together vs. Jingle Jamboree
    My son has been taking lessons with Jon's School Of Music for nearly three years now - first in his group lesson and now privately. Jon has been a wonderful teacher! His group class was a great follow-up to music together, which my son took from 9 mos until he was nearly three. Jon's group lessons exposed him to all different types of instruments in a really fun way, which was a great alternative to just guessing what he might like and signing him up for lessons for something he might not be passionate about. His CD's are also filled with songs that are all geared toward teaching children the fundamentals of music and learning to play a variety of instruments. Once it was clear that my son gravitated toward the drums, we started him with private lessons with Jon. The best part about that, is that while he spends much of the time practicing the instrument he's concentrating on, Jon still has other instruments at the ready and is always happy to let my son explore. For example, after hearing some marimba music at the farmers market, my son is completely enthralled with the marimba! So, rather than having to find him a new teacher, Jon spent time with him on the marimba and applied much of the fundamentals that my son has already learned to that instrument. While learning to read music and enduring the repetition of practice can be tough for a five year old, Jon's flexible and fun style has been incredibly engaging for my son - he always seems to have something up his sleeve to make learning fun. Karen

    We have done MT and Jon's school of music, but not Jingle Jamboree. MT was much more mellow and had fewer instruments to experiment with. Our teacher was Cheri Hudnut and she has great energy and I think she's a fun teacher. We switched to Jon and have been mostly happy with his classes. He is very high energy and fast moving- has a lot of instruments for the kids to play with- and I think delivers superior music ''education'' than MT. Our son (age 2!) has learned so much from Jon. He can pick out where a D is on a piano. He understands musical concepts and can, unassisted, bang out a somewhat complicated beat with his hands and do it accelerando and decelerando and understands both concepts. He understands quarter and eighth notes. I credit all of this to Jon- and he would not have learned any of that in MT. For a child who is more mellow, I'd recommend MT. For a child who really LOVES music and has a lot of energy and parents who don't get annoyed easily , I'd recommend Jon. music mom

    My 7 and 2 yo sons have been through Music Together and Jon's School of Music classes, and my younger one still attend Jon's class every week. Both started as infants in Music Together, and moved on to Jon after they turned two. Music Together offers exposure to a wide variety of musical genres, as well as interactive participation with song, dance and musical instruments (hand drums, shakers, sticks, tambourines, bells, etc.). Jon also offers interactive participation, but with more emphasis placed on hands-on exposure to different instruments (including a keyboard, hand drums, violin, trumpet, ukulele, xylophone, an auto harp, and the ever-popular kid-sized drum set). My boys enjoyed both classes and each has its strength, but we ultimately ended up with Jon because jamming with his musical instruments is just so much fun! Take a trial class for each that you are considering, and you'll get a better idea of what suits your kids. Have fun singing and dancing! Jennifer

    I have tried both Music Together and Jon's School of Music with my now 22 month old son. We started Music Together when he was about 8 months old and continued going for a few sessions. In my opinion, Music Together is great for the 8 to 18-month old crowd. The children are exposed to music and noise makers (egg shakers, music rattles, etc.), which is fun for them while they are younger. My shy son liked to watch the children in the class, but was not too interested in actually participating in class once he turned about 18 months old. I could tell he was bored in class, so I started my search for another music class and found JSOM. He absolutely LOVES the classes and adores Jon. Jon sings, plays the drums, and keyboard (all at the same time) while parents join in with real drums during the first few minutes of class during the hello songs. The kids and parents get to play real instruments the entire time and everyone is fully engaged. My son especially loves playing the electric guitar, harp and drum set. My shy boy has completely opened up and even runs to hug Jon at the end of every class. At home, he loves to practice singing the songs Jon taught him the previous week. I highly recommend Jon's classes. Check out a trial class--I'm sure you're family will have a blast! Dena

    I tried all 3 of these music programs when my daughter was a toddler and strongly preferred Jon's School of Music, which I then attended with her and my son for almost 4 years. Simply put, Jon's was so much more fun for my kids (and for me) than the other 2 programs, and was clearly superior in terms of teaching actual musical skills. I think a child could enjoy any of the programs so if you are looking for an activity to get you out of the house, any of the three will do. But Jon uses a big variety of real kid-sized instruments, teaches notes on the keyboard, and of course teaches rhythm and timing. Most kid music programs are just singing and maybe shaking or banging some instruments. Definitely give Jon a try! anon

    Aug 2012

    Re: Seeking music class for 21 mos old
    Our 25 month old loves Jon's School of Music in North Berkeley! He also had a great sense of rhythm and love for music at a young age and we started going to Jon's when he was 19 months old, based on BPN recs. He talks about it all the time now and looks forward to it every weekend. It's a fun and goofy class and it's kind of amazing that Jon holds all those little kiddos attentions for a full hour. There are real instruments that everyone gets to play and they sing songs designed to teach musical concepts. Our son recently moved out of the 1-2.5 year old group into the older class where the kids learn to lead one another (as opposed to following Jon's lead in the younger group) and are exposed to more music theory. We have seen some parents put off by Jon's expectations (one adult, has to participate, don't let your kid abuse the instruments etc.) but those expectations are there to make the class successful and it works, so don't take it personally if he asks you to do or not to do something. He offers a free trial class so please check it out. Just be prepared to role with it and have fun. musical mama

    Feb 2011

    Re: Music/Movement/Art/Outdoor Classes for Toddler?
    There are so many fun things to do with a toddler. My son's absolute favorite class is his music class at Jon's School of Music. He's been going since he was 17 months old, he's now 22 months(Jon can certainly have younger kids) and he has loved it since the beginning. He looks forward to it every week. Jon holds classes in San Francisco and in Berkeley (which wouldn't be a stretch from San Leandro). I love the class myself. It's so fun to see how excited all the little one's get and the songs are really fun.

    My kids love John's School of Music. My oldest went from the time he was 2 until he turned 5. The middle one started when he was about 14 months and is still in it. My youngest is only 5 months, and John is always great about letting her come along. The classes involve music, dancing, playing instruments, running around, story time, and stamps at the end of class. John has classes for all ages up to about 6 or 7. Each class incorporates elements of the younger kids class, and adds elements to keep the kids entertained, and learning about music. (415)971-5435 Paul

    Sept 2009

    Re: Toddler Drumming Classes?
    You must check out Jon's School of Music. It is the perfect music class for a toddler who wants to play real instruments, especially drums. Jon is a fantastic drummer, and there lots of opportunities in class to play all kinds of drums and multiple drum sets. My children were students of Jon's for years, and they had so, so much fun with him and learned so much about the basics of music, including drum and keyboard skills. You can find him on the web at He teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. Liz O.

    Our now 3 year old has been going to ''Jon's School of Music'' for a little over a year, once a week. He loves drumming. The kids are introduced and use real instruments. I know that Jon also teaches private lessons but not until kids are old enough (maybe 4 or 5). This is not only for drumming, many other instruments as well. But, he works with rhythm and the kids and parents have so much fun. Our son comes home dancing and drumming and talking about different instruments. This is Jon's website: Here is his e-mail: macks777 [at] e cohen

    I would highly recommend Jon's Music Class ( if you're looking for a toddler class with lots of instruments. My son who is now four has done Jon's classes for about two years and really loved it. We tried other music classes but mainly found the music kind of insipid and there was definitely a lack of instruments besides tambourines and shakers. Jon has a trombone, cello, trumpet, keyboard, full drum set and lots of other instruments. He's quirky and kind of a kid himself which I think is why my kid has loved the class so much. Leslie

    Try Jon's School of Music ( in Berkeley. Jon offers really creative music classes that draw kids in to the fun and give them hands-on experience with drums, keyboard, guitar, and more every week. My 2 year old loves it. Elizabeth

    Our boys (ages 3 1/2 and 22 months) really enjoy the classes in Berkeley at Jon's School of Music and we've been doing the classes for over a year now. The kids get exposed to a variety of instruments as well as musical theory. Jon offers a class trial for new families so check it out! Carla

    I highly recommend Jon's School of Music to anyone who wants to give their child a real musical opportunity. Jon is funny, inventive and his method is very smart. There is a lot of drumming. Most special is when the class forms a band. They play real instruments and the drummer, who calls the tune, is on an authentic trap set. My granddaughter, who is almost four, loves it. You can see more about Jon's School of Music on his site: Ahni

    Jon's School of Music. Just finished a hilarious evening with my 4 yo daughter and 3 yo son who have been attending Jon's music classes. They were dancing around singing to his CD, playing the drums and guitar. Amazes me what bits of music theory they pick up from such a playful setting. Jon teaches from a house in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. In his silly class, children get to play different instruments in the group setting in a relaxed, fun manner...with teaching going on (somewhat subconsciously) constantly. Check it out at By the way, he has 2 drum sets that the kids just LOVE to play! Jennifer

    Jon's School of Music in Berkeley is really spectacular and I highly recommend it. Rather than learning one instrument, children play lots of instruments and are exposed to the principles of music as well as group dynamics. Through Jon's playful approach, children learn rhythm, harmony, melody, dynamics, tempo, and more. In addition they have the opportunity to play real instruments and experience what it's like to play a cello, trombone, guitar, drums, keyboard, violin, shakers, etc. Children sing, dance and laugh throughout the class as Jon challenges them to grow musically. Jen

    March 2009

    Re: Music lessons for an almost 4 year old
    Do check out Jon's School of Music if you haven't already. It could be just what you are looking for. He offers a free trial class, too. Our son started when he was 3 1/2 and has learned tons about music, beginning theory, basic piano instruction, and has had a blast the whole time. They get to try out all kinds of different instruments, too. A JSOM fan

    July 2008

    Re: Music classes for young toddler
    Jon's School of Music is fabulous. He teaches kids age 1 to 6, and is especially good with toddlers. He is very lively/silly and uses very developmentally appropriate and creative methods for teaching the kids the basics of music, including ''playing'' (i.e., playing with) a large variety of instruments. My kids LOVE him, and I am amazed at what they have learned. Now, he is not as cheap as you may like ($18 per class), but classes last almost an hour, so it seems worth it to me. Jon teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. You can get more information at Liz O.

    April 2008

    Re: More music, less circle, for 4-y-o boy
    I think Jon's School of Music may be just what you are looking for (although the location, North Berkeley, is not ideal for you). Jon teaches classes for kids up to age 6, and his emphasis is on basic ensemble skills using lots and lots of cool instruments. Among other things, my children have ''played'' cello, harp, trumpet, electric guitar, and have become really comfortable singing into a microphone. Jon uses very creative, play-based teaching strategies. They have SO much fun in his class and I am amazed at what they have learned musically. My just-four-year-old is playing real songs (e.g., Twinkle, Twinkle) on the piano, harmonizes when he sings, and can get great sound from a trombone. You can get more info at Liz O.

    I highly recommend Jon's School of Music. My daughter who is almost four really enjoys it. Being a musician myself, I'm aware of the challenges of presenting musical concepts at this young age without it going over their heads. I think Jon does a great job of introducing musical language and ideas to the kids in a fun and entertaining way. He's got a lot of energy and can be quite goofy in a positive way. One other important point, they get a chance to play real instruments! Check out Good luck! Gianna

    I would like to give a strong recomendation to Jon's School of Music. (

    I have a young son ( 3 years old) who has done both East Bay Music Together and Jon's School of music. The Music Together was great and fun but we outgrew it. It teaches that one 'plays' music but there is not much true musical knowledge being imparted.

    Jon teaches basic music reading and note recognition. He uses different teaching methods to reach different children's learning methods. For example, he writes songs to teach where specific notes are on the piano keyboard. 'D the dog' and so on. We rotate through playing real instruments. We also dance and of course have fun.

    I am a musician and enjoy his classes. I think Jon is an excellent teacher.

    Please make sure you give his classes a chance. He teaches in both North Berkeley and San Francisco. Edie

    Our almost 5 year old boy has been going to Jon's School of Music in the Berkeley Hills for almost 9 months and LOVES it. He has learned a ton - theory, rhythm, and lots of really good skills for future musicians (ej watching and responding to the conductor and/or to the other musicians in your band, music symbols, notes on a keyboard). It is high energy and engaging. The kids get to use real instruments (cello, drum set, brass etc). In Berkeley on M and Th. In SF other days. Our 2 year old goes to the younger kids class and also loves ''Teacher Jon-Jon.'' Heather

    Nov 2007

    Re: Low-key music class for 4-year-old
    I HIGHLY recommend Jon's School of Music, especially given that your daughter has enjoyed music classes in the past. My now almost-4-year-old has been going since he was 17 months (and my daughter went from age 4 to 6). Jon is very creative and fun and does an amazing job of teaching musical concepts and skills to toddlers, and most kids just love him. And unlike Music Together (which we tried too), kids ''play'' tons of instruments (e.g., trombone, cello, drums, keyboard, harp, accordian). Parents attend classes too, but in terms of physically participating you could certainly do as much or as little as you are able. He teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. You can get more info at: (415) 971-5435. Liz O.

    Sept 2005

    I just signed my 3-year old son up for classes with Jon's School of Music, and he LOVES it. It's fantastic, and still has some room (Mondays at 3:30 at the Luteran Church on Grizzly Peak;). Actually, this particular class needs more enrollment or is in risk of being cancelled.

    It's a class for 2.5-4 year olds, and they get to play all kinds of instruments: drums/full drum kit, guitars, keyboards, cello, trombone, you name it. Jon has made up all kinds of silly, fun songs, stories, and dances that actually teach these little ones about music while they have a blast and all get hands on experience with the instruments.

    It's a perfect after-school activity.

    Check out his web site (it doesn't really do his program justice...) or call him directly: 415-971-5435.

    Feel free to call me if you want any more info: patty 526-9036 -Having a ball at Jon's School of Music

    Aug 2005

    Re: Music class for 4 year old

    A couple months ago I too was looking for music classes for my 3 year old boys. We had gone to music together for a couple years and felt ready to move on to something new. I really wanted them to be around and be able to experience a variety of instruments. After a search on BPN I found Jon's School of Music, visited his website, and went to check out a class. What a blast! Jon is full of energy and has a very unique way of exposing the kids to the language of music as well as instruments. My boys have already played keyboards, guitars, trumpets, cello, stand up base, accordian, full drum set and more! Please go to his website, http:/, and take a look. New classes are starting soon. His classes in the east bay are taught at a Luthern church up on Grizzly Peak. Be sure to look at the videos to get the flavor of the class. Kyle

    Hi there - The class you're looking for is Jon's School of Music. He is excellent and the classes involve real instruments and loads of fun. Check out his website for more information: Cheers. EAnnis

    My son took a music class this summer at ''Jon's School of Music'', which is up at Grizzly and Spruce and he got to play instruments, dance around, learn music theory, etc. It was a lot of fun! His favorite was playing the drum set but he also really enjoyed playing trumpet and string bass, among other things, and was learning more than he realized about reading music etc as well. There is a web site at . I think this is the class you heard about, definitely check it out! Joanne

    jon's school of music in berkeley (and sf) are perfect classes once the kindermusik-type classes become too young. awhile back, i wrote an unsolicitated review about jon's music classes as a great place for young children to get hands-on experience playing real instruments, learning about musical notes and theory, singing songs, and having a great time with ''silly jon man.'' my daughter and her friends attended for almost a year, and we ALL-- parents and babes, included--had a great time. also, he schedules early evening weekday classes, as well as weekend ones, too. check it out: pamela

    I would highly recommend Jon's School of Music ( He is very entertaining but is also serious about teaching music basics (notes, rhythm). The kids get to play a variety of real instruments, including kid-sized guitars, cellos, xylophones, keyboards, drums. He teaches in Berkeley on Monday and Thursday and I do believe he has a 5:30 class one day. Liz O.

    May 2005

    Any input on Jon Merker and Jon's School of Music for a 2 1/2 yr old who's really into music?

    My 4 year old son and his dad have been going to Jon's evening class for a year now. It's not the closest music class, but Jon's approach is substantially different. The kids use real instruments -- not your shakers and tamborines. My son's favorite is the kid-size drum set. He's come home talking about playing a base (really a kid-size chello (sp?)).

    Jon puts a lot of energy into engaging the kids, which really helps keep my son focused. I find it a little over the top, prefering a move reserved approach, but I'm not a toddler. The more reserved kids tend to sit with their parent initially and play the individual instruments, but soon want to help with the magic scales and give Jon a good-bye thumb-to-thumb.

    It's interesting to see him integrate musical theory into the class and introduce notes. I don't know how much the kids get but they like it.

    I would suggest going to a class to get a feel for it. As with most music classes, you can go to one to check it out for free. For the summer, he's letting us pay only for the classes we go to, which is nice.

    The other thing Jon does, which I appreciate, is a friendly discipline. Although the parents are there, Jon telling my son to sit down helps a lot. It's very friendly but firm and age appropriate.

    If you have other questions, you're welcome to email me. ajanks

    my now 3 1/2 year old daughter and i attended jon's music class for 7 months, and we both really enjoyed it. we only recently stopped because of a schedule conflict, but she still channels ''silly jon man'' and asks to listen to his cd frequently. it's a great class where children are introduced to authentic instruments and learn how to be part of a music band. for us, it was the only class where my slow-to-warm daughter was engaged from the very beginning; i attribute it to jon's very silly atmosphere. claire's mom

    Jon's School of Music is an imaginative and educational trip through the world of sound. Jon tells stories of the 'wondrous land of keyboard' where all the notes have interacting animal friends: C-roadrunner, D the dog, etc, and the musical flubs taste like chocolate. The kids each play their own instrument--drums, guitar, violin, cello, harmonium, bazouki, bells, you name it, he's got it. My son loves leading the band, helping D the dog put out fires, and singing the magic numbers (major or minor scales) to help free up a mysteriously stuck stack of drums. I love that we're getting a terrific education in musical terms and theory, besides getting to play all those great instruments. My son is 4, but we have a 2yr old in our class, and he's right in there playing and dancing with the older kids. Jon drives the class with energy and extreme silliness, and the kids love it! Karen

    My 3 yr old son has been attending Jon's classes for two seasons now and we are VERY happy with the classes. He gets great exposure to different kinds of instruments and is actually learning music in a really fun way. We learned of this class from an unsolicited positive review on this newsletter and are so glad we followed through on the recommendation. As with the parent who wrote the review, we are just not the twirling in the air, scarf throwing type of people and the Music Together / Kindermusik classes were just not going to work for us (we tried). Jon is exceptional and we go out of our way to make it to his classes. Try a free class and see for yourself. Edna

    Jan 2005

    This is an unsolicited recommendation of a great children's music class my 3-year old daughter and her three friends have been attending. It's called ''Jon's School of Music.'' Classes are offered for ages 1 - 6, and children are grouped with similarly-aged peers. Unlike other music classes we've participated in (and we've tried them all!), Jon's classes emphasize the actual playing of authentic instruments, including keyboard, guitar, drums, brass instruments, xylophone, and string instruments. No egg shakers or rhythm sticks here! Our kids are learning pitch, rhythm theory, musical notes, respect for instruments, performing as an ensemble (as well as duets and solos), in ways that are completely age-appropriate and very fun. (And actually, the grown-ups have learned quite a bit, too!) Most importantly, Jon has a natural affinity with little people and really understands how to connect with them developmentally, making each class a very silly, yet musical experience. Also, the kids love having a former rock band musician as their teacher.

    Our winter session has just begun, but I know that he still has openings. Preview classes are free, so come join us. His East Bay classes are Mondays and Thursdays. For more information, check out his website and/or give him a call. Jocelyn

    Re: Music class for 4.5 year old (Nov 2004)
    I would like to recommend Jon's Superhero Music Class for your son. Jon Merker is an energetic teacher with an irresistible program that incorporates play and learning in a perfect mix for my 4yo son. Alex has ''played'' a variety of instruments including drums, keyboard, trumpet, violin, xylophone, electric and acoustic guitar, bells, and I can't wait to see what comes next. The students play at following rhythm, are learning tempo, musical terms, and use pitch to ''magically'' move stuck objects. Jon also has a veritable zoo of imaginary animal friends to show us where the notes ''live'' on the keyboard. He does an amazing job of keeping our class of 2 two-ish and 3 four-ish kids on track and learning.

    Jon has classes in Berkeley and SF, and can be contacted at (415) 971-5435 or through (Jon's School of Music.) Tell him D the Dog sent you! Superhero Mom

    Sept. 2004

    I want to heartily recommend Jon's School of Music (formerly Music Time) for music classes for young children ages 1 - 5. My 7 year old son took Jon's classes from 18 months thru age 5 and is now in private piano lessons with Jon. My 14 month old twins just started music classes with Jon and they already love it. Jon is great with little kids because he loves them and he teaches music in a fun and educational way. All my kids are huge fans of his. Call him at (415) 971-5435. classes in Berkeley. Susan G