Jason's Jazz Studio (via Skype)

Jason's Jazz Studio (via Skype)

5.0 (11)
2 hires on Lessons.com
1 employee
3 years in business

About this pro

Well, first of all, WELCOME!  I've served as a singer, player, writer, and/or music director for three critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands, recorded a half dozen albums, and even racked up some fancy awards along the way. But the accomplishment I hold most dear lies in having had the pleasure of teaching harmony to musicians of all levels for over 35 years.

At the internationally renowned program The School for Music Vocations, I taught Jazz Piano, Jazz Voice, Vocal Arranging, Music Theory, Ear Training, Choral Conducting, Music Fundamentals, and also served as director of Vocal Jazz and Chamber Ensembles. Whatever it is you seek to learn about music, I feel confident I can assist you.

I love helping people realize their dreams. 

Read more about this pro


Urbandale, IA 50323
Email verified
Phone verified

11 Reviews


  • David Scott, Professor of Voice - Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA

    Jason Smith is a master teacher. The nuts and bolts of harmony and jazz piano that were so elusive to me became clear as day. Work with Jason, put in your time, and you will get there!

  • Keith Power, Hollywood Composer for CBS’s Hawaii Five-O, MacGyver, Magnum P.I.

    Jason is one of the finest educators, arrangers, and overall musicians in the game.

  • Deke Sharon, Music director for Pitch Perfect 1,2,3, and NBC’s The Sing-Off

    Jason is one of the brightest lights in the vocal jazz harmony universe!

  • Roger Treece, Composer/Arranger/Producer for Bobby McFerrin, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, Barry Manilow

    Jason is as serious as a heart attack about his art. I highly recommend working with him if you get the chance.

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

I take students of any/all experience levels. Although I'm primarily considered a jazz instructor, I also teach classical and pop/commercial music. I teach via Skype and limit my student base to just 12 students in order to maintain a customized approach. My typical process for new students is to figure out which of the three learning "portals" offer optimal growth. The three learning "portals" that a student learns through are the eyes, the ears, and the hands (visual, aural, and tactile). EYES: Seeing the keyboard as though there are a million notes without seeing shapes and patterns can be problematic. I guide students through this quite swiftly. HANDS: Does the student have 5 thumbs on each hand and need some rudimentary work there? I've got exercises for that. EAR: Clunking around, playing solely by ear can be problematic. This must stop.

Zeroing in on these three learning portals is paramount when I'm working with a new student. And, of course, making sure they aren't feeling overwhelmed. Music lessons should be joyful; something that is looked forward to. My lessons are well structured and always coupled with humor and joy! 

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

B.A. in Vocal Performance from Gonzaga University. But I didn't learn much about music there. The bulk of my learning came underground, learning from the iconic jazz pianist/arranger- Phil Mattson. I've been teaching music for over 35 years now. 

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

It depends on what the student decides to take and how long the lessons are. All of the details are listed on the page marked "ENROLL" on my website: www.jasonsjazzstudio.com. 

How did you get started teaching?

It was 1983, and there was a need for someone to jump in and begin teaching a Music Fundamentals class at a local college. I was asked to do so and never looked back. 

What types of students have you worked with?

Many music educators and industry professionals. Mostly adults, but I do teach high school kids, too. I've recently begun teaching grade school children and am enjoying it immensely. My students are from all walks of life, really. You can get a good feel for this by visiting the "Testimonials" page on my website: www.jasonsjazzstudio.com

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

My daughter became a board certified music therapist after completing her Masters degree!

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

Is the teacher dispensing instruction to you in a "one-size-fits-all" manner? Your learning proclivities are as unique as your fingerprint and your lesson plans should be tailored accordingly. I pride myself on doing just that.

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

Am I serious about creating art at a high level? 

Am I willing to treat my practice time as sacred? (even if it's only one 20 minute "power session" per day)

Am I willing to pay my dues at the piano in order to become a well rounded musician?

Lessons offered