The Merriam School of Music offers students the opportunity to study blues piano at both an intermediate and advanced level.

Examples of blues pianists include:  Dr. John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ray Charles

Blues piano is often characterized by highly energetic playing over the various popular blues forms, such as the 12 and 16 bar blues forms.


To equip students with a solid foundation in the blues idiom, allowing them to play both solo and in band formats in the popular blues styles, keys, and tempos.


Each class takes place between one teacher and one student, for either 30 or 60 minutes.

Blues Pianos Lessons

Length:30 / 60 min
RCM Exam Compatible:N/A
Locations:Oakville, Vaughan
Start Date:Throughout the year
Term:40 Lessons/Year
Admission:Open admission
Genre: Jazz/Blues

Students taking blues piano should already have a basic foundation in piano playing, that should include a basic level of technique, and some level of harmonic knowledge.  Generally, at least 5 years of experience is recommended, but not absolutely required.

Repertoire / Memorization

Blues students will learn several popular blues songs from the 1950’s – 1990’s.  Although much of the blues is improvised, knowing the opening melodies and forms is critical.

Technique / Rudiments

Understanding the basic blues rhythms and common soloing and ‘comping’ patterns

Ear Training

Students are taught to recognize melodies, intervals, and harmonic progression by ear.  This significantly aids in the speed of repertoire learning, as well as enhances the memorization process, and creates a greater versatility in ensemble or band settings.

Sight Reading

Students at every level are taught to recognize and play in real-time: individual notes, chords, melodic passages, and full two-clef writing


Students learning blues piano will learn to improvise using common blues ‘licks’ and ‘riffs’ as often heard on recordings and popular blues bands.

Applied Harmony (vs. written harmony only)

This approach treats the study of harmonic progression as directly connected with the study of performance, rather than a separate academic approach not connected with performance.  Students learn to understand the harmonic motion of the pieces they are playing, increasing their depth of understanding and interpretation of those pieces.  It also gives them an advanced understanding of how harmony influences improvisation and composition.

Applied Rhythm (vs. written rhythm only)

Studying rhythm in an applied sense vs. isolated requirements will increase students’ capacity for contemporary playing, as well as a stronger sense of pulse across all genres of music.  It also encourages the use of rhythm as a compositional and improvisational component.

Merriam has more than a dozen instructors that specialize in jazz, notably: Brian DeLima, Tim Cousins, Stu Harrison, Len Feldman, and Amanda Tosoff.

Ongoing and relevant experience in the Toronto Jazz scene is considered crucial, to ensure that playing levels are high, and that there are regular opportunities for students to witness their instructors performing.


Featured Piano Teachers

All merriam school of music programs

MERRIAM School of Music Locations

MERRIAM School of Music

(905) 829-2020
 Monday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Tuesday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Wednesday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Thursday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Friday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Saturday - 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
 Sunday - 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

MERRIAM School of Music

(905) 660-9503
 Monday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Tuesday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Wednesday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Thursday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Friday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Saturday - 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
 Sunday - 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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