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At this site you will learn what is available in terms of instruction for:

Private Instruction
What We Teach
Resources for Teachers
Kids age 5 and above
Jazz Piano
Rock 'n' Roll Piano
Classical Piano
Popular Music
About Burnett Thompson

Monthly Group Performance Class
Music Education Frequently Asked Questions
Downloadable Music Scores

Telephone: 703.489.8704 or email:Burnett@PianoJazz.com

What We Teach


As with any language, the students who do best in music start young. The music at home during infancy and early childhood does more to shape a child's aptitude and predisposition toward music than any amount of lessons.

We teach children from age 5. The parents are always present at lessons, and always oversee the assignments and practicing. An enormous amount of progress can be made before a child turns 8 or 9 years old, and many of the basics in terms of ear/hand and eye/hand coordination can be thoroughly instilled in the youngest students. The basics of classical, jazz and pop repertoire can all be taught in the early years. We teach children music that they like to play, as the most important ingredients at this age are consistency and fun. All students also receive basic swing and Latin drum training for playing in jazz ensemble, as well as basic upright bass skills.


Classical Piano is a broad brush for the repertoire from Bach (and before) to the present. In this studio, jazz and classical music are taught somewhat seamlessly. For the early students, a thorough knowledge of the Bach easy pieces and inventions, the classical sonatina repertoire, easier Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Prokofiev, Kabelevsky are essential for establishing basic reading and facility skills. Oh, and a whole lot of Bartok. For the advanced students, anything goes, and the unending classical repertoire provides limitless opportunities for expression and intellectual advancement, both in solo and chamber repertoire.


Jazz Piano now spans 100 years, and the techniques of the various epochs are all fair game. Ragtime, Stride Piano, Swing, the cool 'comping' style of the '50's and thereafter, Big Band techniques, are all essential to the understanding of the complete jazz pianist. The most sophisticated harmonic languages are easily acquired by the diligent student, and the goal is to have a working knowledge of several different styles.


Rock 'n' Roll piano is easily learned from the beginning of piano lessons. The influences taught in the class are from Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, various blues artists, Billy Joel, Elton John, etc. A Rock method is incorporated into the general lessons.


To play pop music well requires some very desirable skills, including a great ear. Students bring in the music they want to play, and we lift the music straight from the recording. The student learns to hear bass lines, melody, guitar riffs, etc, and imitate them exactly in order to recreate the "sound" of the tune. Anything goes, and music from the Beatles to David Bowie to Coldplay all serve the students well in this method.


The Jazz Seminar is recommended for middle school, high school and college students. It is often comprised of students who are already in the high school or college jazz bands, and many of them play piano, or a second instument but also have some piano skills. Piano, double bass and drums are already in the studio. Students learn the basics of jazz harmony, quick solutions for piano chords and improvisation, some basic swing and Latin drum skills, and basic upright bass playing skills if desired. The course includes instruction in music of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis for a hard look at Bebop and the "Cool" jazz of the late 1950's. For those in high school Jazz Bands, this class is a "must" for learning quick solutions to the Big Band piano charts. This class is a lot of fun and an excellent intro to ensemble performance. (go to Bluetunes for downloadable jazz piano scores and mp3's.)

Monday nights
7:00 p.m.
10 classes in total
Fee: $150 per student for the winter session
Location: The Studio in Falls Church, VA
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