Jim has a mission when it comes to passing along the exacting music standards that he himself has always adhered to.
Both his private students and those he teaches at Roosevelt University as a faculty member are subject to a rigorous program that demands an intense work ethic and commitment to study jazz at the highest level. Jim teaches jazz improvisation, jazz harmony, ear training, solo jazz piano, composing, basic piano technique, accompaniment technique and mastering jazz repertoire. Jim also teaches improve technique to musicians other than piano players.
Read what some of Jim’s students
Jim's teaching fosters deep comprehension of basic to advanced material by showing students how to break things down into manageable pieces. Each layer of your musicianship is enhanced as he helps you realize your strengths and improve your weaknesses, all while never losing sight of the "big picture." He has influenced my approach to playing as well as teaching, for the better!
—Kristin Sponcia, Keyboard/Theory Instructor,
McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul, MN
I am a 77-year old who has played most of his life and am mostly self-taught in jazz. For the past several years I have worked with Jim and am proud to say he is one of the best teachers I have ever come across in any field — and certainly the best jazz teacher. He has stretched my jazz vocabulary enormously and given me the encouragement I have needed to keep growing. He's great!
—Fred McDougal, Founder McDougal/Littell
...What's more, he knows how to pass on this understanding to his students, with an effectiveness few jazz pedagogues can manage. But his lessons never neglect the fundamentals, either: a lesson on playing as hip as Herbie is always, at the same time, a lesson on having as good technique, feel, and time as Herbie.
—Ben Neuman, University of Chicago Student
His emphasis in lessons on a solid foundation in technique and importance of constant focus on melody and harmony challenge me to improve my skills as a composer and arranger.
—Kendall Moore, Roosevelt University Student