Dave Rapson – Student
“I’ve been playing classical music all of my life and was looking for a teacher who would bridge the gap to playing jazz as efficiently and enjoyably as possible. It’s not an easy switch – so much to learn… and un-learn. When I heard that one of the top young jazz performers in Sacramento had initially trained as a classical pianist, I was thrilled. Brenden has been the perfect teacher for this transition. From the very first lesson it was clear that he has a well-constructed pedagogical plan — a mix of theory, technique, listening, and just messing around (“jamming” is probably a generous description of my current improv abilities). Bottom line is that I’m having a great time and making steady progress. Brenden is laid back and an absolute master at conveying the material. He explains musical concepts with amazing clarity, and when words aren’t up to the task, he just demonstrates. For me it’s a long-term project. I have a busy career that only allows a limited time for practice, so I really appreciate Brenden’s patience. I’m sure he’s excellent for students of all types and levels; but if you’re trying to make the classical-jazz transition, don’t bother looking any further. You won’t find anyone better.”
Fernando Fierro – Student
“I was playing self-taught piano for years, when I decided to learn jazz piano more seriously. It is really amazing how much I learn with every session! Those are the most productive 60 minutes of my week. The class’ structure divided into learning technique, harmony and jazz standards, all in parallel, has helped me to constantly complement every part with the others, so that nothing stays behind. It is also very nice to have this balance of going on my own pace and Brenden always inciting to go forward”.
Matt Smith – Student
“It would be an understatement to say that my first lesson with Brenden began with the basics. He helped me identify Middle C as we sat down for the first time. It could have been embarrassing to know so little about music as an adult, but Brenden helped me through those initial anxieties. In my first months of lessons with Brenden, I am already learning to read music and play scales. The progress is noticeable and inspiring. Brenden’s teaching style is clear and encouraging. Our lessons feel relaxed, yet move at a steady pace. I appreciate the way Brenden weaves lessons in theory and technique into each class. He provides clear assignments to help me learn between classes and this picks up precisely where we left off the week before. I had honest doubts that I could learn to play piano when I began a short time ago. Lessons with Brenden are proving otherwise. I’m thankful all he’s taught me so far and I look forward to our session later this week.”
Josh Kravitz – Student
“When I started getting lessons from Brenden in my Freshman year of high school, I was having trouble playing chords and soloing on many of the songs we played in jazz band. I knew and understood the basics of chords, but not enough to play them well without a few hours of struggling on the piano. Right after my first lesson with Brenden, I already felt like a better piano player. He gave me specific exercises that immediately helped me improve my knowledge of jazz, both in practice and theory. I slowly was able to play more and more of the songs we sight read in band and, eventually, could sit down and adequately sight read any piece put in front of me. Three years later, I have reached a level that I would have never reached without the help of Brenden. His structured tasks help focus your practice and always push you in the right direction. If you are ever looking to improve your piano skills, look no further.”