Jonathan Saraga

Jonathan S.

New York, NY
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I've been drawing my whole time practically, and it's something that I always want to be doing more. Whether it's looking outside at the still landscape, or recreating a moving scene, drawing has always been a passion of mine.

I can help you with putting what you see in your mind onto paper more genuinely. We'll work on perspective, scale, color gradients, shading, detailing, and much more.

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Jonathan teaches



Jonathan delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 1+ and special needs

Teaching since:
June 2009

Hi! I'm Dr. Jonathan Saraga; professional musician and educator living in New York City. I have been working as a trumpeter, composer, arranger, and studio musician for almost 2 decades and have been teaching full-time for the past 7, which includes nearly 3 at the University level. I have nearly 10 years of conservatory training, a Bachelor, Master and Doctorate degree, as well as over 20 years experience performing, recording, and competing on an international level.

I’ve been recognized internationally, by way of several organizations for excellence as a trumpeter and composer: 2007-Winner of International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition; 2009-Finalist in Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition; 2011- Selected Participant in School for Improvisational Music Intensive Program; 2014-Callback for the Juilliard Artist Diploma program auditions; 2015-Selected Participant in Banff International Summer Intensive Program in Jazz and Creative Music ; 2016-Semi Finalist in International Songwriting Competition; 2016-Recipient of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award; 2017-Honorable Mention and Finalist in International Songwriting Competition; 2016-19-Full Scholarship w/ Paid Assistantship/Instructorship for Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder; 2019-Selected Participant in Banff Early Fall Musicians in Residence program; 2019-Finalist in Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant Competition.

I perform and record as a featured musician with Festival of New Trumpet Music, having participated in two world premieres, and in ensembles led by highly acclaimed and/or Grammy-nominated/winning artists such as Steve Coleman, Henry Cole, Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, Orrin Evans, Josh Evans, Jimmy Greene, Tyshawn Sorey, Eric Bergen and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. I've performed at arenas, clubs, and concert halls alike, such as Carnegie Hall, The Putra World Tower, Symphony Space, the Barclay's Center, Dizzy's Club Coco-Cola, and Rockefeller Center to name only a few venues. As a leader, I've been performing original music all over NYC at known creative and jazz venues like Seeds, Cornelia St. Café, The Bar Next Door, Jazz at the Kitano, Shapeshifter Lab and Smalls Jazz Club, which Down Beat magazine considers to be two of the best jazz clubs in the world.

Besides professing a passion and skill-set for music within the ‘jazz’ idiom, my interest in and usage of sound draws from and many other forms of art. I've composed and arranged music for lyricists, improvised music for poetry readings at the Firehouse Space, and have provided musical accompaniment for dance classes, workshops, and performances presented by the Martha Graham Dance Academy and the Jeoffrey Ballet School. I've even co-choreographed short plays and have played for Marc Jacobs fashion runway shows.

My music also extends into the health and wellness community. I've served as a regular performer at the New Life Expo, and as a musical aid for art exhibitions (including a Syrian-post war realist art exhibition), Yoga classes at Jivamukti Jersey City, and meditation classes for WeWork, St. Peter's Church at the Citicorp Center, The Tibet House, Triskelion Arts the Firehouse Space, the Jewish Community Center, the New York Insight Meditation Center, and the NYU Skirball Theater.

As an educator, I have taught all-level/all-age group music playing and appreciation courses for several New York-based organizations: 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 three semesters of a 100+ student History of Jazz lecture class for non-majors.

I teach out of a my home apartment studio on the upper east side, complete with weighted 88-key digital piano, Bose high quality speakers, recording equipment, as well as musical media, and tablature spanning many musical genres, cultures and time periods. I also am equipped with a spacious floor space for Yoga, Pilates, Weight Lifting, Meditation, and more.

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.

Last but not least, while I have invested over 30,000 hours into my musical training, my interests, practices, and skill sets extend beyond sound and visual art, and into the realm of philosophy, science, physics and spirituality. I have been practicing various forms of fitness, meditation and Yoga for the past 5 years, and my studies span the gamut of psychology, philosophy, calisthenics, Astral Projection, Reiki, Vipassana Meditation, Visualization, and much more.

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!

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Cumulative Experience
Jun 2009 - Present
Jonathan Saraga Music

2016-19: Full Scholarship w/ Paid Assistantship/Instructorship for D.M.A. at 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

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

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

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

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

“Journey to a New World”-Fresh Sound Records LLC (2017) “First Vision”-Blue Truffle Music LLC (2013)

“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)

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

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)

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)

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

2019: Trumpeter w/ Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra - The Jazz Standard (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)

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

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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: 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

Photos & Videos

Jonathan Saraga - "Journey to a New World" - Kickstarter Video
Teaching a Master Class at PS 126/MAT in New York City

Teaching a private student in their parents' residence

Press photo 1

Press photo 2

Photo by Jonathan S.
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6 Reviews

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Les S. May 25, 2016
Piano · In 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!

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Joanie May 13, 2016
Trumpet · In 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.

Sonia R. Feb 25, 2016
Piano · In home



Killian D. Jan 8, 2016
Trumpet · In 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.

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Glenn D. Jun 9, 2015
Trumpet · In 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.

Lizzie M. Feb 27, 2015
Piano · In 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.

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