Complete Saxophone And Piano Lessons

Complete Saxophone And Piano Lessons

5.0 (3)
1 employee
15 years in business

About this pro

Since 2005, saxophonist Daniel Casares has been a constant presence in the Bay Area music scene. Growing up in the East Bay, while immersed in soul and jazz music at an early age, Daniel has worked with notable artists such as Bernard Purdie, Irma Thomas, Joe Sample, Zigaboo Modeliste, Dumpstaphunk, John Medeski and Robben Ford. He has performed at numerous festivals around the world including Montreux Jazz, Netherland Bosbop, New Orleans Jazz and Athens Rockwave. Spending 2009 in Paris, he returned to the East Bay where he continues to perform, teach, tour, and lead his own group, Atta Kid.

In addition to performance, Daniel also teaches piano, flute, sax, and clarinet.  From 2017-2019 he taught privately at Stanford University for students who won the McMordie Scholarship. 

Topics you will learn in these lessons (saxophone)

1. Basic insturment/reed and embouchure setup 

2.  Major Scales and fundamental technique 

3.  Reading music notation 

4.  Learning songs by ear/memory 


1.  Different hand positions 

2.  Finger independence 

3. Traditional and popular styles of music 

Growing up in a musical family, at a young age I played popular music on stage, mostly using my ears as a guide.  Throughout high school I studied classical music and in college I graduated with a BM in Jazz Performance.  Today I do what is neccessary to make a career in music by playing mutliple genres at a proficient level. 

What I love most about teaching my students is that I can blend all of these attributes together to create a course that will not only prepare them fundamentally but also give them a chance to expierence the fun music can offer. 

Read more about this pro


Hayward, CA 94544
Email verified

3 Reviews


  • Michael Eastwood

    Daniel was great! I took saxophone lessons from him and really enjoyed his guidance and approach. I was a total beginner and he had me jamming out to the blues in no time. I also went and saw him play with a local group and had a great time - he's a great musician.

  • Marcus

    Great teacher who taught me the basics of improvisation and how to apply those concepts to various genres of music.

  • Nathanial Smith

    Daniel is an amazing teacher who knows how to explain things in a very simple way and taught me how to get a great sound from the beginning!

Photos & Videos


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I like to know the musical interests of my students before even setting up the instrument.  Any musical familiarity helps in the process of learning music.  Secondly, before the instrument is setup, I give the students face/embourchure exercises that help relax the muscles, which is neccessary for good tone production.  Thirdly, we focus on finger placement and proper technique.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I began saxophone at the age of 9 and played with my father who is a bassist.  I would play with blues bands at the age of 13 and throughout high school studied classical saxophone which led to two years of California All State.  

I went to San Francisco State University and recieved a Bachelor's of Music in jazz performance while actively playing gigs in SF.  Since then I've lived in Paris, played music throughout Europe, toured the US and abroad multiple times as a saxophone sideman.  I've taught at Stanford University from 2017-2019 and have nearly 15 years of teaching experience.  

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

For children (under 16) I teach for a duration of 45 minutes for $45 at my home studio or $55 at the child's home. 

For adults I teach a minimum of 1 hour for $55 at my home studio or $70 at adult's home.  

How did you get started teaching?

I started in 2005 when I was attending San Francisco State University.  I taught mostly high school students in the area and then briefly in the south bay area.  

What types of students have you worked with?

I've worked with ages from 6-50 years old.  Some have been young beginners and others have been players who needed to revisit the saxophone.  When I taught at Stanford, students had been already playing semi professionally, either studying music or another subject.  

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Lately I have been accompanying my students (on piano) while they play songs on saxophone, flute, or clarinet and it has been amazing because I can sense their concentration and excitement as that experience is happening in real time. I love seeing the faces on students when they feel like they've completed a song from start to finish, while also seeing that they had fun doing it. 

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Hire someone who will focus on the fundamentals (major scales, tone production, relaxed embourchure, intervals, metronome) for atleast a month before playing songs and "having fun."  Like language, we must first learn our letters, nouns, verbs, etc.. before we speak to one another.  It's very crucial to have this foundation so you're not creating bad habits from the start.  Think of it like playing any sport: you must go to the gym and focus on specific muscles (slowly) in order to become better at playing that sport. 

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Understand that music is a language.  If you're a beginner, it may be very discouraging.  You're learning how to "read and speak" all over again!  It's very important to realize that you will not like your playing for awhile.  It's like skiing, the first couple of times are not enjoyable.  You're constantly trying not to fall and your legs aren't strong enough. So know that the fundamentals will allow you to be more free. 

If you're a seasoned player, then think about which songs give you trouble or if you like a song and can't find music, inform your teacher and he or she will give you the tools to learn by ear.  Also ask about improvisation and which scales/phrases to use when improvising.