Isaac Jaffe

Isaac J.

New York, NY

Lesson Details

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Isaac teaches



Isaac delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+

Teaching since:
June 2003

Cited by All About Jazz as a musician with "all the groovy elasticity necessary to encompass the melodic complexity of compositions," Isaac is a strong voice among a new generation of musicians. Discovering a love for the piano, guitar, and bass in his youth, Isaac began performing in coffee shops and jazz clubs at the age of 15, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after young musicians in Westchester County. While still in high school, Isaac had the opportunity to study with jazz legend John Patitucci. Isaac's selection for New York's prestigious All-State Festival came as no surprise.

Isaac graduated from New York University's undergraduate jazz program in 2009, where he studied with many seminal jazz musicians including Ari Hoenig, George Garzone, Kenny Werner, Jean-Michel Pilc, and Martin Wind. In the spring of that year, Isaac recorded and self-released his first CD, Of Pandas and People, featuring his original compositions and accompanied by a group of powerful improvisers.

Isaac has toured internationally with his own quartet and has written and recorded music for film and television. Most recently, Isaac completed work composing and recording the musical score for the documentary "Return to El Salvador," featuring narration by Martin Sheen.

In addition to his performance, composition, and recording work Isaac has taught privately and in music schools for 7 years. An accomplished piano, guitar, and bass teacher, Isaac has experience teaching kids as young as four years old how to play, read, and love music. Isaac is currently a member of the staff at the R & D Music School in Carmel, NY and has previously taught at George Jackson Academy.

*** Lesson Details ***
As a teacher, I am committed to helping my students achieve their goals whatever they may be. I find as much satisfaction out of teaching a guitarist how to play the latest Green Day song as I do preparing a student for performing a Beethoven piano sonata for concert or competition.

I have found that students tend to fall into two categories, though some share characteristics from each. The first kind of student comes to me with a specific goal in mind; to learn a song, a technique, or a musical style. For this student, I am goal oriented and let the student dictate where the lessons go. If the student doesn't have any interest in reading music, that's fine! I work for you, not the other way around.

The second kind of student doesn't know exactly where to begin, but has an enthusiasm for music, or perhaps their parents want to include music in their general education. For this student I take more initiative in designing curriculum to include the classical masters, reading proficiency, theoretical understanding of how music works, and practice techniques and strategies. I am always goal oriented and maintain practical, short term goals in addition to a long term road map.

Over the years I have had students of all ability, talent, and age levels. I believe that knowledge of and experience with music is valuable for everyone, and as a teacher I know my job is to find an efficient and engaging way to connect my students with the material. Some young students benefit from longer concentrated periods of time on the instrument, while others require a different approach. I have developed many physical games that provide a break from time on the instrument while constantly reinforcing the material we have worked on. This is invaluable with many young students, as attention spans vary from pupil to pupil. For instance, my younger students love to play musical twister, a variation on twister in which I set out different colored tape in five lines to reflect the treble or bass clef staff and work the student through a program of memorizing the letters for each line and space. For the youngest students unfamiliar with the alphabet I have pneumonic keys to facilitate reading notation before they can read words! The key is to keep every lesson full of information, and full of fun.

For young piano students, I use the Alfred's Basic Piano Library books, as they have fun illustrations and a balanced approach to reading notes and rhythms, theory, and technique. For older students, I use several method books but also focus on supplemental material of my own design.

Upright bass students will study out of Simandl, with a large body of supplemental material as well.

*** Studio Equipment ***
home studio---all the guitars and basses you can imagine, piano,
parents can sit in

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide music notation paper and an instructor instrument (Guitar/bass). For a initial lesson I will provide an instrument for the student, after which he or she must provide his or her own.

*** Specialties ***
When teaching children, I prefer Alfred's method books for their accessibility and simplicity. I have a very deep knowledge of jazz and jazz history from classic New Orleans to the most contemporary styles.

I also teach classical music on the upright bass and piano and have students playing Beethoven and Bach regularly. I have a thorough knowledge of Western classical music history and as a composer, am an expert theoretician.

I have taught rock and pop guitar for many years and have always found great satisfaction in helping students achieve their own goals-to play a favorite song, to form a band, to develop their songwriting.

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Professional Musician
Sep 2005 - Present
New York City

Have composed, performed, and recorded professionally in New York City, including performing jazz, pop, and rock music at top tier venues and composing and recording music for use on network television and film.

Piano Teacher
Jun 2009 - Jun 2013
Radovich and Dean Music School

Taught Piano, Bass, and Guitar at Radovich and Dean Music School.


Bachelors in Music - Jazz Performance - Upright Bass
Sep 2005 - Jun 2009
New York University


Fluent / Native Proficiency

Photos & Videos

Here's a video of my band playing one of my songs.  In the video I am playing bass.  If you're interested in learning to play or compose jazz, classical, or pop and rock music, please sign up for a lesson!
Photo by Isaac J.

Photo by Isaac J.

Photo by Isaac J.

Photo by Isaac J.

Photo by Isaac J.


8 Reviews

Write a Review
Jeffrey S. Jun 9, 2014
Bass Guitar · In home

Isaac is an incredible instructor. His lessons are easy to understand and educational. I look forward to practicing what I learned the previous week and Isaac's methods really make it fun.

Marisa R. Oct 24, 2012
Guitar ·

Isaac is awesome!

Isaac is the best teacher I've ever had and he is super fun to work with. I am learning all different kinds of cool music with him, from blues to classic rock to jazz. I feel like I am learning so much with him, from playing music to reading music to writing music.

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FleurV Jan 19, 2012

Isaac is awesome

Isaac is really able to connect with our 6 year old and engage her in a musical way. He is a very creative teacher. He is punctual and nice, our daughter always looks forward to him coming!Highly recommended

DavidM4 Dec 22, 2011

Great lessons. Learnibg a ton

StacyD Oct 7, 2011

Mom & Student

Isaac is terrific. He's been wonderful with my 4 year old son and very informative for me too.We are enjoying our lessons a lot!

JessicaF1 Jul 25, 2011

Real music lessons

I have gotten more out of a few lessons with Isaac than I have with any other music teacher. I know that I am getting well rounded instruction that will bring me to a real understanding of the bass.

SoniaB Jan 24, 2011


Isaac has been great. He is always perfectly on time. Mia is really enjoying her lessons and for the first time practices almost everyday without turning it into a big struggle

LisaG1 Nov 9, 2010

A highlight of my week is my guitar lesson with Isaac. He is a knowledgeable musician with a passion for teaching. Isaac is incredibly positive and patient, which makes learning the guitar easy and fun. I would absolutely recommend him as a teacher - I have already learned so much!

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