Jonathan Saraga

Jonathan S.

New York, NY
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Are you looking to get started with trumpet lessons for yourself or a loved one? Not making the progress you want, or, don't really know how to make progress? Look no further—study with a Doctor of Musical Arts with over 15 years professional playing experience and who has taught nearly 400 people.

Whether you want to learn how to build endurance, increase your range, craft a beautiful tone, learn to improvise, interpret classical works, or play any genre of music on the trumpet, you've come to the right place. I will cater what we work on to YOUR individual curiosities, interests, and personal goals, while making sure you develop great technical habits and musical instinct.

I will help you to discover your own voice on the trumpet, and you will learn to control what you play, when you play and how you play it! It is my goal to instill a love and appreciation for both efficiency and enjoyment of process in my lessons with you, so that you eventually won't need me anymore!

Topics include tone/sound concept, ear training, breath work, proper physical approaches, music notation, fingerings/scales, composition/transcription, jazz, improvisation, tonguing, range, dynamic control, air control, music theory, and much more...

About Jonathan S.

I'm a professional musician and educator from New York City, which is where I've spent roughly 2/3 of my life, and where I currently reside. My 30,000+ hours of experience within music is expressed through my 9 years of conservatory training, which includes Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Music degrees, and my work as a trumpeter, composer, arranger, producer, and studio musician over the course of 20 years. I've recorded on 30 albums, including 2 under my own name for multiple record labels, and have written over 300 pages of scholarly work encompassing a wide variety of theoretical, musicological and pedagogical topics. I've also taught nearly 400 students over the past 7 years, including 3 years at the collegiate level.

I have been internationally recognized for excellence in music performance, composition, arranging and/or education through 20 awards, commissions and/or grants presented by the International Trumpet Guild (2X), The International Songwriting Competition (3X), The Herb Alpert Foundation, the Banff Center (2x), Chamber Music America, the School for Improvisational Music, the International Society for Improvised Music, the Association for Popular Music Education, the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the Juilliard School, the Actors Fund/Local 802 Musicians Union, the Jazz Foundation of America, the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance, the Recording Academy/MusiCares, and the University of Colorado Boulder Music Advisory Board.

As an educator, I have taught multi-level in-person and virtual music playing/appreciation courses for greater-New York-area based organizations such as the Afro-Latin Jazz Academy, the Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, New York Ensemble Classes, the Lyceum Kennedy International School, Jubilee Enrichment Programs, Jazz Empowers and the New York Jazz Academy. I have also completed 6 semesters of service as a Graduate Part-Time Instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I taught multiple playing ensembles as well as 3 semesters of a 100+ student History of Jazz lecture class for non-majors.

While I specialize in the following broad areas of musical study, my specialties are not limited to: General Music, Composition, Arranging, Ear Training, Music History (includes classical, jazz, and world musics), Music Theory, Sight Singing, and Songwriting. I also specialize in the following instruments: Trumpet, flugelhorn, and Piano/Keyboards. My home studio is complete with weighted 88-key digital piano, Bose high quality speakers, audio and video recording equipment (Beyerdynamic M-160 microphone, Audient iD4 interface, Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X), as well as a vast music library, musical media, and tablature spanning many musical genres, cultures and time periods.

After working as a public after-school teacher, as well as in the field of child-care and mentorship since 2004, through my experience, I have found that serving as a role model has become an incredibly effective teaching method. Any child or any human being for that matter is receptive and responsive to a teacher who is sure of themselves, and their preaching; a teacher who is articulate and direct with their words and actions; and a teacher who can be trusted and who makes their student feel comfortable in their presence. These three basic characteristics I've found, win over a students faith in a teacher, and greatly increase the rate of comprehension, application, and acquisition of knowledge.

I develop my curriculum around student interests, which fosters motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. One way to steer learning in a direction relevant to student interest, is to invite student dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, students generate their own ideas and add to the pre-existing ones that have fostered my own imagination, and impact how I develop my lessons. When students share ownership in the curriculum, they feel a strong sense of purpose, are motivated to work hard, to set and accomplish their own goals, and to perform well.

Having studied and worked with musicians of world class ability for the past 8 years, I have adapted effective teaching techniques, and fused them with my own skills and knowledge to create a flexible approach that can mold itself to the abilities, individual needs and goals of a student or a program as a whole. Through my continued studies in music, and many other fields, my ability to relate to all people, including students continues to grow. I am able to quickly assess what kind of approach is appropriate for a group or an individual, and I have experience implementing practices that directly improve learning ability, interest in and comprehension of material. I understand the importance of time management, creative thinking, attention to detail and the ability to make something difficult seem fun and worthwhile.

I believe and live by the idea that creativity is an energy that flows through us, and one's creative abilities can be improved and expanded, through the emotional body, which is influenced by one's perceptions. Throughout my training in music, the arts, as well as my physical, mental and spiritual pursuits, I have realized that discipline, creative flow, and love for what one is and what one does can come together and yield great fulfillment and sense of purpose.

I look forward to being a part of your journey!


Write a Review
6 Reviews
Les S.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I would highly recommend Jonathan as a music teacher. Jonathan is absolutely passionate about music, which is evident by his enthusiastic and energetic teaching techniques. He is very patient with my five year old and encourages her to get her very best effort. Jonathan customizes the music and lessons for my daughter’s skill level while at the same time provides challenges to keep the learning process interesting. In a short period of time, my daughter's keyboard playing abilities have dramatically increased. I am very grateful to Jonathan for making learning fun for my daughter, who always looks forward to her lessons!

Posted May 25, 2016
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Jonathan has made a great impression with my son. He displays a great combination of patience and encouragement with Nick. I have seen an improvement in his trumpet skills as well as his confidence.

Posted May 13, 2016
Sonia R.
Profile-location-home Student's Home



Posted Feb 25, 2016
Killian D.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have been taking lessons from Jonathan for 6 months and it has been a tremendously enjoyable experience. Jonathan has an excellent methodology to teaching music which is a mixture of technical exercises and application of the theory to learning how to make music. The dual approach allows me to not only understand and appreciate the theoretical and technical aspects of learning the instrument, but also gives me the sense of fun and satisfaction that comes with applying what I learn and seeing the output in a piece of music. Jonathan is extremely knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the instrument and can break this knowledge down for easy elucidation. Overall it has been great learning experience.

Posted Jan 8, 2016
Glenn D.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Jonathan teaches trumpet as simply an extension of breathing. First he emphasizes good breathing and posture, and then he aligns you naturally with the instrument. By the end of the first lesson I could relax and achieve a real trumpet tone. Amazing.

Posted Jun 9, 2015
Lizzie M.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Jonathan is a really good instructor as well as an accomplished musician. This is my 8 year old son's first experience with music lessons and they're a good match. He looks forward to the piano lesson and is pretty happy to do the little bits of homework after. It's been a great experience for us.

Posted Feb 27, 2015

Photos & Videos

7 Photos & Videos


Cumulative Experience
Jun 2009 - Present

Jonathan Saraga Music

AWARDS 2020: Selected Participant in BMI Jazz Composers Workshop 2020: Selected Presenter at the Association for Popular Music Education (APME) conference (Edinburgh Napier University-Edinburgh, Scotland) 2020: Selected Presenter at the International Society for Improvised Music conference (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music-Melbourne, Australia) 2020: Finalist in auditions for GRAMMY-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra 4th Trumpet Chair 2016-19: Full Scholarship w/ Paid Assistantship/Instructorship for D.M.A. (University of Colorado, Boulder) 2019: Finalist in Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant Competition 2019: Selected Participant in Banff Early Fall Musicians in Residence program 2017: Honorable Mention and Finalist in International Songwriting Competition 2016: Recipient of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award 2016: Semi Finalist in International Songwriting Competition 2015: Selected Participant in Banff International Summer Intensive Program in Jazz and Creative Music 2014: Callback for the Juilliard Artist Diploma program auditions 2011: Selected Participant in School for Improvisational Music Intensive Program 2009: Finalist in Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition 2007: Winner of International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition DEGREES 2019: Doctor of Music Arts degree in Jazz Studies/Trumpet Performance, University of Colorado Boulder 2011: Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies/Trumpet Performance, SUNY Purchase 2009: Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies/Trumpet Performance, SUNY Purchase TEACHERS Brad Goode, Jon Faddis, Laurie Frink, Ray Vega, Scott Wendholt, Jim Rotondi, Jeremy Pelt, Tony Kadleck, Mike Rodriguez, Joe Magnarelli, Wynton Marsalis, Walter White, Bill Dunn, John Lambert, Conrad Herwig, Ralph Bowen, Pete Malinverni, Charles Blenzig, Jimmy Greene, Todd Coolman, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon, Hal Galper ADDITIONAL EDUCATION 2015: Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music - The Banff Center, Alberta CA 2011: School for Improvisational Music Selective Summer Intensive Program, New York, NY 2010: Master of Music Degree - Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 2007: Vermont Jazz Center Summer Jazz Camp, Burlington, VT 2006: Queens College Summer Jazz Program – Queens College, New York, NY ARTISTIC ASSCOCIATIONS Ravi Coltrane, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Greene, Tony Kadleck, Josh Evans, Greg Gisbert, Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, Johnathan Blake, Matt Brewer, Jonathan Pinson, Jonathan Barber, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Eric Alexander, Ambrose Akinmusirie, Jon Gordon, Steve Wilson, Jon Faddis, Scott Lee, Jeff Hirshfield, Ralph Bowen, Jim Rotondi, Brad Goode, Harish Ravhagan, Tyshawn Sorey, Renee Rosnes, Arturo O'Farrill, Walter White, Randy Brecker, Henry Cole, Miguel Zenon, Ray Vega, Conrad Herwig, Ambrose Akinmusire RECORDINGS AS A LEADER “Journey to a New World”-Fresh Sound Records LLC (2017) “First Vision”-Blue Truffle Music LLC (2013) RECORDINGS AS A SIDEMAN “Looking Out”-Alex Heffron (2019); “Business Actual”-Noah Barker (2017); “Spanish Island”-Eric Block (2016); “Rebel Spirits”-Eco-Music Big Band (2016); “Instant Oats”-The Oatmeal Jazz Combo (2016); “Colors of Resistance”- Eco-Music Big Band (2016); “Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)”-Afro Peruvian New Trends Orquestra (2016); “Gelmissin”-Ece Moisson (2015); “With Friends from Here and There”-Wynn Walent (2014); “Steel Cut Oats”- Oatmeal Jazz Combo (2013); “The Gears Below”-Math of Trees (2012); “Stations”-Western Sky Music (2012); “New York Time”-Do La Mizik (2012); “Se Nou'k Kon'n Fe'l”-System Band (2012); “Shake Daddy Jupiter”-Mr. Breakdown (2011); “7th Step”-Shedly Abraham (2011); “The First Step”-The New York Korean Jazz Orchestra (2012); “Helix”- Helix Kweentet-Avishai Darash (2010); “Jwet La Bel Nan Min'w”-Rafrechi (2010); “Charlie Phillips”-Charlie Philips (2009); “Everybody's Business”-Captain Coconut (2009); “The Roads They've Taken: Winners of the ITG Conference Student Jazz Improvisation Competition, 1979-2008”-International Trumpet Guild (2008); “Surviving the City”-Doug Ratner (2006) PEFRORMANCE VENUES AS LEADER Cornelia St. Café, The Douglas St. Music Collective, Seeds, The Bar Next Door, The Shapeshifter Lab, iBeam, Festival of New Trumpet Music, Dazzle, Smalls Jazz Club, Jazz at the Kitano PERFORMANCE VENUES AS SIDEMAN Blue Note Jazz Festival, The Barclays Center, St. Peter’s Church, The Knitting Factory, Perks Restaurant, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, National Arts Club, Symphony Space, Trumpets, the Cutting Room, Alice Tully Hall, Roulette, The Falcon, Rose Hall, Putra Indoor Stadium (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), The Blue Note (NYC), The Jazz Standard, Birdland, Jazz at the Kitano, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Fat Cat, Zinc Bar, Joe’s Pub, The Hotel New Yorker, the Apollo Theater, Smalls Jazz Club, The ShapeShifter Lab, Cafe' Vivaldi, Smoke Jazz Club, Chris' Jazz Club (MA), The Painted Bride (MA) JAZZ FESTIVALS Caribbean International Jazz Festival (Haiti), The Blue Note Jazz Festival (NY),Cadence Jazz Festival (NY),Peekskill Jazz Festival (NY),Rochester Jazz Festival (NY),Albany Jazz Festival (NY),Anugerah Industri Muzik Awards (Malaysia),Kompa Music Festival (FL/Paris), Festival of New Trumpet Music (NY) OFF-BROADWAY SHOWS Damn Yankees (National Tour w/ Way-Off Broadway Productions), Les Misérables, Drowsy Chaperone, Guys and Dolls, Sweet Charity, A Chorus Line, The Wild Party, Anything Goes ARTISTIC HIGHLIGHTS 2020: Selected Presenter at the Association for Popular Music Education (APME) conference (Edinburgh Napier University-Edinburgh, Scotland) 2020: Selected Presenter at the International Society for Improvised Music conference (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music-Melbourne, Australia) 2020: Commission from the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers 2020: Finalist in auditions for GRAMMY-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra 4th Trumpet Chair 2019: Finalist in Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant Competition 2019-20: Trumpeter w/ Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows Orchestra – The Jazz Gallery (NYC), Roulette (NYC) 2019-20: Trumpeter w/ Jihye Lee Jazz Orchestra– Shapeshifter Lab (NYC), Birdland (NYC) 2019-20: Trumpeter w/ Manuel Valera Big Band - Django (NYC), Terraza 7 (NYC) 2019-20: Trumpeter w/ Jason Marshall Big Band - Minton's Playhouse (NYC) 2018-20: Trumpeter w/ Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society 2019: Trumpeter w/ Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra - The Jazz Standard (NYC) 2019: Trumpeter w/ The Mingus Big Band - The Jazz Standard (NYC) 2019: Trumpeter w/ the Birdland Big Band – Birdland (NYC) 2019: Trumpeter w/ Migiwa Miyajima Jazz Orchestra– Shapeshifter Lab (NYC) 2018: Headlining artist for the 1st ever Caribbean International Jazz Festival – Gelee Beach (Les Cayes, Haiti) 2017: Trumpeter w/ Tyshawn Sorey Group - The Met Brewer, The Stone (NYC) 2017: Release of 2nd album as leader, Journey to a New World (Fresh Sound New Talent) 2016: Soloist in world premiere of Grammy-nominated Jimmy Greene Big Band - Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (NYC) 2015: Lead Trumpeter w/ ASCAP award-winning Eco-Music Big Band - Carnegie Hall (NYC) 2015: Trumpeter w/ Grammy-nominated artist Eric Bergen - Birdland (NYC) 2015: Trumpeter w/ renowned Haitian kompa band, Djakout-Mizik – The Barclay’s Center (NYC) 2015: Trumpeter w/ Henry Cole group feat. John Ellis 2015: Trumpeter w/ Steve Coleman large ensemble feat. Marcus Gilmore 2014: Trumpeter in world premiere of 71 trumpet piece “Trumpet City” by Craig Sheppard (NYC) 2014: Lead Trumpeter in U.S. National off-Broadway production of Damn Yankees (North America) 2013: Trumpeter w/ Grammy-winning artist Arturo O'Farrill - Birdland (NYC) 2013: Lead/Solo Trumpeter on Island Princess for Princess Cruises (Panama Canal) 2013: Festival of New Trumpet Music world premiere of Henry Brant’s “Flight Over a Global Map” - Roulette (NYC) 2012: Release of debut album as a leader First Vision (Blue Truffle Music LLC) 2011: Trumpeter at the Blue Note Jazz Festival w/ J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band – The Highline Ballroom (NYC) 2010: Trumpeter at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) awards - Putra World Tower (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) TEACHING & SCHOLASTIC EMPLOYMENT 2016-2019: Graduate Part-Time Instructor/Teaching Assistant, University of Colorado, Boulder 2019-present: Music Teacher - Jazz Empowers, New York, NY 2017-present: Music Teacher - New York Jazz Academy, New York, NY 2016-present: Music Teacher - New York Ensemble Classes, New York, NY 2013-present: Music Teacher - Afro-Latin Jazz Academy of Music, New York, NY 2010-present: Music Teacher - Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, New York, NY 2017: Piano, Singing and Drama Teacher-Jubilee Summer Enrichment Program, New York NY 2015: Piano, Trumpet, General Music Teacher - Lyceum Kennedy International School, New York, NY 2010-2011: Departmental Assistant - SUNY Purchase, New York, NY 2009-2010: Departmental Assistant - Mason-Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey


DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)
Aug 2016 - Present

University of Colorado, Boulder

Jazz and Creative Music
May 2015 - Present

The Banff Center

Master of Music
Sep 2010 - Jun 2011

SUNY Purchase

Improvisational Music
Jun 2010 - Jun 2010

School for Improvisational Music

Master of Music
Aug 2009 - May 2010

Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts)

Bachelor of Music
Sep 2005 - Jun 2009

SUNY Purchase

Jul 2006 - Jul 2006

Vermont Jazz Center

Jul 2003 - Jul 2003

Queens College



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Professional Proficiency


Selected Participant in BMI Jazz Composers Workshop
Sep 2020


Commission: ISJAC Covid-19 Commission Grant
May 2020

International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers

Selected Participant: Early Fall Musicians in Residence Program
Jun 2019

The Banff Center

Honorable Mention/Finalist: International Songwriting Competition
Apr 2018

International Songwriting Competition

Semi-Finalist: International Songwriting Competition
Feb 2017

International Songwriting Competition

Winner: Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award
Feb 2016

The ASCAP Foundation

Selected Participant: Summer Intensive Program in Jazz and Creative Music
May 2015

The Banff Center

Selected Participant: Summer Intensive Program
Jun 2011

School for Improvisational Music

Finalist: Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Competition
May 2009

International Trumpet Guild

1st Place/Winner: International Trumpet Guild Jazz Solo Competition
Jul 2007

International Trumpet Guild

Recipient: Fred Mazart Memorial Music Award
Sep 2005

Fred Mazart Foundation

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