Piano Lessons for All Ages, Beginner to Advanced

Jazz Piano Lessons

Unleash Your Inner Jazz Pianist

Have you ever sat in awe listening to a Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, or Oscar Peterson record? Have you ever dreamed of being on stage at the Village Vanguard improvising with some of the world’s top jazz musicians? If your answer to either of these questions is “yes”, Merriam Music can help you discover your inner jazz pianist. 

Whether you are a beginner that is brand new to the piano, a classically trained pianist looking for a new challenge, or an adult seeking a new hobby, the exploration of jazz music is just as rewarding as it is fun.


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Jazz Piano Lessons

Preschoolers • Kids • Teens • Adults • Seniors

Best Jazz Piano Lessons in Toronto

Learn How To Play Jazz Piano

It is easy to understand why many musicians, even experienced piano players, are intimidated by the jazz genre once they hear the complex jazz harmony of the bebop style or the seemingly-unstructured meters of free jazz. However, the skills and chops acquired through taking jazz piano courses are incredibly valuable.

In addition to expanding your musical vocabulary with all-new piano chords and chord voicings, jazz improvisation will develop your creativity and confidence in ways that you never could have imagined.

Jazz Piano Lessons

Good Fit Guarantee

Love Your First Piano Lesson, or It’s Free

Your first lesson with a new tutor is protected by Merriam’s Good Fit Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your lesson, you don’t pay. No questions asked.

Expert Instructors

Not every single piano teacher is a jazz piano expert. Even the most accomplished classical piano teachers may not be well-versed in advanced jazz harmony and repertoire. For this reason, having an expert, specialized instructor that understands the genre you are trying to learn.

Convenient Scheduling

There are three different lesson formats to choose from: in-studio, in-home, and online. With 7 days a week scheduling and over 150 teachers to choose from, you will be able to learn music at your convenience and in the manner that suits your schedule.

RCM Exams

Merriam has been training students for RCM exams for 30 years and knows exactly how to prepare you for success. They can be done on their own, or together with Merriam’s own university-endorsed exam system.

HD Performance Videos

Document and keep track of your performance milestones with HD Video Logs. Every student that participates in our concerts and recitals receives videos of each of their performances.

Ensembles & Bands

With one of the largest selections of extracurricular ensemble programs, Merriam Music presents its students with the perfect platform to connect with other like-minded musicians and develop new musicianship skills by practicing and performing in ensemble settings.

15+ Recitals

With over 15 concerts and recitals each year, you will have numerous opportunities to show off the skills and chops you develop in your private lessons. Channel your inner Bill Evans on stage and blow the audience away with your mastery of jazz repertoire.

No Long-term Contract

While we are confident that you will be part of the Merriam Music community for many years to come, there is no long-term commitment. If you need to cancel or suspend your lessons at any point for whatever reason, all we require is 30 days written notice.

5-Star Google Rating

Merriam Music has become the highest-rated school with the most reviews for very good reason. Join our community of over 3000 students to find out why we enjoy a 97% customer satisfaction rating.

Jazz Piano School

Piano Lessons in Person or Online

In-Studio, In-Home & Online Piano Lessons

Life can be hectic and, at times, we are fortunate to even have a few hours of personal time to spare. Because of this, scheduling extracurriculars such as piano lessons can be difficult. For this reason, Merriam Music offers scheduling options 7 days a week in three different formats. You can study jazz piano with a top-rated piano instructor in-person at either our Oakville or Vaughan campus or from the comfort your own home. Merriam Music is also proud to offer cutting-edge online lessons via our proprietary online lesson platform.

Fulfill your lifelong dream of expanding your scale vocabulary beyond pentatonic scales and using your newly acquired sonic palette to effortlessly solo over “Autumn Leaves” and other jazz standards at the time and place that works for your schedule.

Piano Teachers With Degrees

The Perfect Jazz Piano Teacher For You

As many musicians will attest to, in some cases, even if you’re proficient on an instrument, learning to play it in a new genre can feel like you’re learning an entirely new instrument. This can certainly be the case for musicians shifting into the jazz realm.

That is why it is absolutely vital to have a piano teacher that is specialized and focused on jazz piano playing specifically. From the modal jazz of Coltrane to making the notes truly “swing”, an experienced jazz piano teacher will understand the nuances of the genre in a way that other piano teachers simply will not.

Rock School

Step-By-Step Piano Lessons

Exceptional Customer Service

Despite our large and ever-growing community, the Merriam School of Music feels like a second home to our families and students. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our customer service team. They are fully focused on making sure that all of your needs are met in order for you to be able to focus on your music lessons.

Our customer care representatives pride themselves on their connectivity to each and every member of the Merriam community. Their intimate knowledge of students, teachers, and staff members has established one of the most personalized learning and working experiences on the planet.

Piano Classes & Programs

Private • Enriched • Online

Private Piano Lessons

One-On-One Jazz Piano Lessons

Jazz is arguably one of the most social genres of music there is. It is one of only a handful of musical genres where musicians can come together for a recording session, jam, or concert and, despite having never met or played with one another, play some of the most complex and expressive music at the highest level. 

However, before a jazz pianist can be properly equipped to jump into that high-pressure ensemble situation and keep up musically, it all starts with one-on-one private lessons.

Private Jazz Piano Teacher

Online Piano School

Online Jazz Piano Lessons

While many people are attracted to the convenience of online lessons, there is a bit of a stigma amongst some musicians that they do not compare to in-person lessons. Simply put, these musicians have not had the opportunity to experience online lessons with Merriam Music. After well over 200,000 online lessons taught, we have learned quite a bit.

The data and feedback we acquired allowed us to refine our online lesson experience to a point that most of our students actually prefer it over in-person lessons. 

Online Jazz Piano Teacher

While many schools will try to convince you otherwise (usually because they are not equipped to provide proper online lessons), the truth is that the lesson experience does not have to suffer when it is administered online. We infuse the philosophies and sensibilities that has made the Merriam School of Music so highly regarded for decades with the latest cutting-edge technology to keep things fun, engaging, and, most importantly, effective for our students.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced pianist, you will love our online lesson platform and be blown away by the plethora of resources and tools it provides.

Online Piano Lessons

Learn Piano Online

Best Piano Lessons in Toronto

Piano is Fun. Piano Lessons Shouldn't Be Any Different

You have spent countless hours being inspired by the likes of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and Duke Ellington. You have spent many nights dreaming of jamming on stage with other musicians. Why not act on those urges and reward yourself with the fulfilling experience of learning to play jazz piano?

With our professional jazz piano instructors, you will learn how to make the music you play “swing”. You will acquire an extensive repertoire of jazz standards as well as a jazz harmony vocabulary that you have only dreamed of. 

From reading lead sheets to improvising, you will be equipped with all of the skills that a modern jazz pianist needs to feel confident on stage with even of the best of players.

Your jazz piano lessons will serve as the perfect outlet for your innate expressivity and creativity. In addition, you will alleviate stress, increase your day-to-day happiness, and unlock new skills that will have a tremendously positive impact on all aspects of your life. Make your dream a reality by treating yourself to jazz piano lessons with Canada’s leading private music school.

A Piano School Beyond the Notes

There is much more to music than the notes on the page (especially in the world of jazz!). While the piano-related technique and knowledge we acquire is undeniably beneficial and significant, the benefits don’t end there. From newfound confidence to increased creativity, you will love the positive impact that your music education has on your life.

At Merriam Music, we have spent over three decades studying every detail of music education and creating a science around how to optimize both the musical and non-musical benefits of lessons. Our educational approach is holistic and deliberate in order to create not only more well-rounded musicians, but more well-rounded people.

Regardless of whether the student is a child, adolescent, or adult, the benefits will be plentiful. Furthermore, regardless of the age of the student, Merriam Music exposes them to all facets of music. Our students become complete musicians because of the fact that they are presented with a holistic approach to learning music. In addition to their repertoire and technical studies, Merriam Music students learn improvisation, composition, and theory. They also have the unique opportunity of participating in ensemble courses and real-world performance situations.

Experience a music education that stems beyond the notes on the page with the Merriam School of Music and see for yourself why our school has become internationally-recognized as one of the top music academies in the world.

The Science of Musical Excellence

Becoming a virtuosic musician is seldom the result of chance, luck, or innate ability. Instead, it is the product of effort, dedication, and thousands of hours of practice. However, if one’s effort, dedication, and practice is not invested in the right places at the right time, progress and successful results are not guaranteed. There is a deliberate science to ensuring that these investments lead to tangible results which, at Merriam Music, we call “the science of musical excellence”.

Our mission is for every single one of our students to reach the highest levels of musical excellence and ability in conjunction with having fun and developing important life skills that will continue to pay dividends for years to come. The key to achieving this lofty goal is a holistic approach to music education.

While most music schools focus exclusively on teaching students instrumental techniques and how to apply it to playing songs and pieces, Merriam School of Music’s approach is uniquely different. We expose our students to every area of music. Students, regardless of their age, are simultaneously exposed to improvisation, ensemble playing, music theory, composition, and music history. The simultaneous exploration of all of these subjects allows students to see the connections between musical elements in a meaningful way.

Regardless of whether you are entering into lessons for leisure or seeking to break into the international jazz scene, our tried and tested formula for musical success will give you enjoyment and success that is unparalleled by other music academies.

The Merriam Curriculum 

A Complete Music Education

Merriam Music’s approach to music pedagogy is unlike any other school’s. Our students experience every dimension of music through their education. Regardless of whether you are 3 years old or 30 years old, we have developed an approach that optimizes any student’s progress. Experience a holistic approach to music with Merriam Music.

Private Jazz Piano Lessons

One-On-One Jazz Piano Lessons

Jazz is arguably one of the most social genres of music there is. It is one of only a handful of musical genres where musicians can come together for a recording session, jam, or concert and, despite having never met or played with one another, play some of the most complex and expressive music at the highest level.

For this reason, it is paramount for every aspiring jazz pianist to perform in ensemble settings. However, before a jazz pianist can be properly equipped to jump into that high-pressure ensemble situation and keep up musically, it all starts with one-on-one private lessons.

Online Piano School

Online Jazz Piano Lessons

While many people are attracted to the convenience of online lessons, there is a bit of a stigma amongst some musicians that they do not compare to in-person lessons. Simply put, these musicians have not had the opportunity to experience online lessons with Merriam Music.

After well over 200,000 online lessons taught, we have learned quite a bit. The data and feedback we acquired allowed us to refine our online lesson experience to a point that most of our students actually prefer it over in-person lessons. 

"Our mission and purpose is to help foster and inspire creative, connected, and well-rounded lives with the power of music."

- Alan Merriam, President of Merriam Music
Common Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Like anything new, learning jazz piano does not come without its challenges and hurdles. However, it is also one of the most fun, creative, and rewarding styles of music to play. Due to the heavy emphasis on improvisation and expressivity, playing jazz music is one of the most liberating things a musician can do. There most certainly will not be any shortage of opportunities to express yourself when playing jazz.

While there are naturally many parallels and areas of overlap between jazz piano playing and piano playing in other musical styles, the demand for a strong theoretical foundation is quite high as jazz harmony can be rather complex at times. Playing jazz piano is just as mentally demanding as it is technically demanding. You will be required to make split-second decisions in improvised performances, which will require you to draw from and apply your knowledge of musical theory.

Two of the biggest keys to success when it comes to learning jazz are as follows: having a great teacher and becoming fully immersed in the genre. An experienced piano instructor that specializes in jazz will help breakdown and illustrate the complex harmony and concepts in easily understood ways. Furthermore, because jazz is such a “feel” based genre to play, getting fully immersed with the style will be incredibly helpful. Surrounding yourself with jazz music in all possible ways, such as watching jazz performances on YouTube, listening to jazz playlists on Spotify, or attending jazz clubs for live performances, will give you an intuitive understanding of what “makin’ it swing” is all about.

There are a number of ways that you can begin your journey into jazz piano playing, but lessons with an experienced jazz piano instructor is usually the best place to start. There are a number of excellent jazz piano method books, websites, and online video tutorials, but nothing can truly compare to the personalized experience of private lessons. 

A proper teacher will custom-tailor lesson plans to address your specific challenges, interests, and goals. You will be able to work closely with them to apply the techniques and knowledge you’re learning through repertoire that inspires you. Maintaining your motivation level plays a huge role in one’s success. A great teacher will help you stay motivated every step of the way.

Another important step to take is exposing yourself to as many different styles of jazz as possible. Google, YouTube, and Spotify can be amazing tools to discover jazz music and musicians that you resonate with. Not only will this exploration give you a deep well of inspiration, it will actually make you a better jazz musician. Your feel for the “swing” that is at the rhythmic core of jazz music will be enhanced and you will also have more solo and improvisation ideas from listening to the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

Yes! While some music schools and teachers may say otherwise, at Merriam Music, we believe fervently in the notion that any student is able to be taught any musical concept regardless of their age or level of experience. Needless to say, you cannot teach a complex subject like harmony the same way to a 5-year-old as you would a 25 or 50-year-old, but, if the approach is tailored to the age range appropriately, any student can begin to understand any concept.

We have refined our unique educational approach over 30 years and are very proud of the success we’ve had with teaching all areas of music to all types and age ranges of students. Jazz piano is certainly no different. If you have a strong passion and affinity for jazz music but have never played the piano, we want to utilize that inspiration and ensure that your areas of interest are reflected in each and every lesson.

Through a combination of our specialized jazz piano instructors and our unique holistic approach to music education, you will successfully be able to tackle the jazz genre from the onset of your piano journey. Sign up for lessons today to be set on the path to jazz piano mastery from a leading instructor!

This is a difficult question to answer as the time it takes a student to refine their technique or gain a strong understanding of theoretical concepts varies greatly. The age and prior piano experience of a student as well as the lesson length and hours of weekly practice all factor in ultimately. As the old saying goes: “you get back what you put in”.

A student that spends three hours a day practicing and is fully immersed in the jazz genre will undoubtedly progress faster than a student practicing 30 minutes a day that does not spend much time listening to jazz music. Furthermore, students that have piano playing experience in another style, such as classical or pop, will have an edge when it comes to learning jazz piano compared to a brand new beginner that has never touched a key.

Jazz piano is very different compared to classical piano, but the core technique and music theory is consistent. For students that already have solid playing techniques and understand scales, chords, keys, and note values, the process of becoming proficient jazz pianists should not be as difficult. 

Regardless of your prior experience though, Merriam Music’s expert jazz instructors can coach you to be jazzin’ the blues in no time!

Every child is different, but between the ages of 3-6 is typically the most ideal time to begin learning piano. The brain’s development is at an optimal stage, where new neural pathways can form quickly – it’s as though the mind learns how to learn the piano at this age, laying the mental foundations for understanding rhythm, harmony, and aural learning at a deep level of comprehension.

This is not to say that people of all ages can’t begin to learn piano…generally mature piano students can expect to learn piano at the same pace and to the same level as they have with other complex hobbies or areas of study. 

The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine is an excellent resource for any aspiring jazz pianist. It covers all aspects of jazz piano playing quite thoroughly in a very easy-to-follow manner. It has justifiably received praise and recognition for being one of the quintessential method books for jazz piano. However, the book is geared towards intermediate and advanced piano players and not necessarily beginners.

Other method books that cover core technique, reading, and music theory would be recommended primers for The Jazz Piano Book. Your teacher will help you determine the most appropriate method book to begin with based on your knowledge, ability, and previous piano experience.

While many jazz piano books begin under the assumption that the reader has some prior experience with playing the piano, there are several books that begin from square one and are appropriate choices for someone just starting out.

Hal Leonard’s Jazz Piano Method Book by Mark Davis is a great choice for beginner jazz pianists and does not require much prior knowledge or experience. Other books like Intro To Jazz Piano by Mark Harrison and Exploring Jazz Piano by Tim Richards are also excellent options, but they do require the reader to have a late-beginner level knowledge, namely familiarity with basic musical notation.

The key to becoming a competent jazz pianist is having a holistic understanding of music. Jazz combines all aspects of music in a uniquely simultaneous way. In addition to utilizing your chops and technique, most jazz performances incorporate some degree of improvisation that will require you to apply your creativity, compositional abilities, and theoretical knowledge all while maintaining a great feel and expressivity to your playing.

For this reason, Merriam Music’s holistic approach to music education is perfectly aligned with the requirements for jazz piano. Your simultaneous exposure to all aspects of music will make you well-equipped to be on stage at a jazz club jamming with the best jazz musicians around.

While some of the aforementioned educational resources can be important tools on your journey to learning jazz piano, the best bet is to study with an experienced jazz piano instructor. Jazz is one of the most metaphysical styles of music there is and, consequently, even the best articles and method books are inevitably missing something. 

At the core of jazz is feel, expression, and introspection. As most jazz musicians will tell you, you learn just as much about what it takes to be a great jazz player from being around jazz and jazz musicians as you do from the hours spent privately in your practice room. For this reason, being connected to an experienced instructor that is actively working in the jazz community will be able to teach you things that stem far beyond the technical performance of the music itself.

How much time do you have? Because we could be here a while! Joking aside, there is a massive list of benefits that comes along with any type of music education. However, in the case of jazz, that list might even be a little longer.

From a physical standpoint, the coordination and dexterity associated with jazz piano is quite demanding. Learning to play complicated walking bass lines with your left hand while playing lighting fast licks and runs with your right hand (and still managing to add the odd chord hit of course!) will greatly enhance your coordination and hand interdependence. Being able to seamlessly shift gears between different feels (i.e. from “swung” to “even”) and subdivisions (i.e. from triplet to quadruplet groupings) will provide you with a rhythmic mastery that will allow you to lock into any beat.

From a cognitive standpoint, your brain will truly be pushed to the brink. While that may sound stressful or unpleasant, it is quite the contrary. It is incredibly stimulating! Jazz music is just as much mental as it is physical. The scales and harmonies used are very sophisticated. Furthermore, given the highly improvised nature of many forms of jazz, players need to be able to call upon their creativity and theoretical knowledge in the spur of the moment. Naturally, this makes jazz players cognitive powerhouses.

The benefits and skills acquired through studying jazz piano are not just related to music though. A player’s enhanced coordination and cognition will be invaluable assets when it comes to other aspects of their life. For instance, jazz musicians tend to be high performers academically. Also, given their comfort with performing and improvising in front of crowds, they are usually very confident and expressive personalities.

Start developing your hidden superpowers through education in jazz piano with some of the best instructors in the world at the Merriam Music.

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