Piano—emphasis on Popular Styles: folk, standards, Broadway, pop, rock
Playing keyboard in Jazz Band, Improv
Association of Professional Piano Instructors (APPI): Member, Past President
Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA): Member, VP of Marketing, Popular Style Committee
Music Teachers National Association (MTNA): Member
Keyboard Jam: studio recital with back-up band (winter)
MMTA Popular Styles Exams, Bridges Program
APPI Piano Festival (spring)
K&S Piano Recitals
No makeup lessons will be offered for lessons canceled by the student.
Jim is a self-taught pianist who started on toy keyboards with play by number scores and later scrounged for piano time at school to continue “figuring things out.” After his freshman year in high school—when he played his first wedding and accompanied vocalists in a talent show--his parents finally gave in and bought a piano. Jim took a crack at the pipe organ later in high school when the church organist resigned and he loved that, too. In fact, he studied organ in college and made it his minor (he has a B.A. in Communication from Hamline University). A lifelong accompanist, he is a freelance musician for worship services (organ, piano, keyboard), musicals, choir concerts, solo/ensemble contests, big bands, and with vocal and instrumental soloists.
Jim came to music as a second career; he spent 14 years in retail, most of it as a Senior Buyer for Dayton Hudson Marshall Fields Department stores. When not on the bench, he enjoys cooking, reading spy novels, watching thriller and sci-fi movies, and spoiling his dog Lucy the Puggle.
Jim teaches piano emphasizing popular music: folk songs, standards, jazz, Broadway, pop, and rock. After learning piano basics, students begin the 8-level MMTA Popular Styles exam curriculum where they expand their understanding of music fundamentals like chords, progressions, intervals, rhythm, reading lead sheets/guitar tabs/jazz scores, improvisation, and playing with backing tracks. The annual studio Keyboard Jam, complete with live backing band (bass and drums), showcases students playing what they have learned. Jim believes the most likely place for a pianist to play throughout their life is at a gathering leading songs like Happy Birthday & Christmas carols or as part of a garage or worship ban; he teaches the skills needed for that kind of success.