Jason Yeager

Instructor

"My approach to teaching is both flexible and disciplined. I like to find out what students are into musically, what their backgrounds are, and what they would like to achieve. It’s important to master fundamentals like good rhythm, groove, strong ears, and a good understanding of harmony, melody, and form, regardless of style or genre. But I want to connect these skills with each student’s individual interests and inclinations."

"I give my students very specific things to work on: exercises and methods to help them develop certain skills. But these almost always involve improvisation and creativity. It’s not just rote playing or memorization of patterns. I want to maintain that sense of creative discovery, and the process of finding one’s own voice—as a player, improviser, and composer. The main question I want to help my students explore is, 'How do you take these tools and use them to express your feelings, your thoughts, and your place in the world in a musical way?'"

"The best teachers I had opened my ears and my mind to new possibilities, and I want to do this for my students. I want them to feel inspired and excited about practicing. Not that it’s a chore, but that it is part of furthering their creative goals. If I can do that, they will be much more excited to practice, and the lessons will be more relevant."

"It is important for students to really listen to their sound. It’s easy to think, 'I just press a note, and if it is a good piano, it will sound good.' But it’s much more than that. I coach students on their physical approach—the posture and positioning of their hands, arms, legs, where they sit, and so on. I want students to develop a good, personal sound on the piano, staying true to their musical personalities, while avoiding injury and strain."

"I am primarily a jazz pianist, but I’ve studied and continue to play classical music, and I’ve played in rock groups. I don’t feel the need to segregate genres. The Piano Department is incredibly varied, with working professionals from all fields of music. I’m really excited by that, and I hope my students are too."

Career Highlights

 

  • Honors graduate of Tufts University/New England Conservatory Double Degree Program: B.M. in Jazz Performance, New England Conservatory, and B.A. in International Relations, Tufts University
  • Recording artist on Inner Circle Music label
  • Released debut recording as a leader, Ruminations, on Inner Circle Music in 2011
  • Performances with Greg Osby, Ran Blake, Mark Walker, Aubrey Johnson, Grace Kelly, Linda Oh, Sara Serpa and others
  • Performances as a leader and sideman at venues such as Smalls Jazz Club, Cornelia Street Cafe, Jazz at Lincoln Center (NYC), the Regattabar, Ryles, and Jordan Hall (Boston) and abroad in Argentina, South Africa, and Botswana