Kareem Kandi

Kareem K.

Tacoma, WA
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Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
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Kareem teaches



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

Teaching since:
August 1994

A native of the Pacific Northwest, saxophonist Kareem K is a performer, composer, and educator, who is in high demand for his talents both on and off the stage.

Growing up in the northwest with its vibrant music scene allowed Kareem the opportunity to study with, listen to and perform with world class jazz artists residing in the area. Artists such as Tracy Knoop, Jay Thomas, Don Lanphere, Bill Ramsay, Hadley Caliman, Julian Priester and many others had a large impact on Kareem early in his musical education. This direction and guidance continues to inspire and lead Kareem as he continues his lifelong passion undertaking a career as a professional musician.

Today, as a performing artist he spends most of his time leading his group for which he composes and arranges most of the music. The band is constantly on the move as a sought after performing group and spends most of its time performing in and around the Pacific Northwest. When not leading his own group Kareem can be seen and heard performing as a sideman with many other top notch musical acts and projects, most notably The Paperboys from Vancouver BC.

As an educator Kareem divides his time teaching jazz improvisation as an artist in residence at The Tacoma School of the Arts, directing the award winning student jazz ensemble at Pierce College, conducting masterclasses and workshops at schools around the Puget Sound area, and maintaining a full load of private students. Along with his teaching duties Kareem is the director or The Tacoma Jazz Association, serves on the Tacoma Arts Commission, and is a D'Addario Woodwinds performing artist.

Kareem holds a Bachelors Degree of Music from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle Washington which he attended after receiving a full scholarship.

Throughout his years of teaching Kareem has worked with students of all ages and abilities, from beginners just getting started, to advanced players who simply want new ideas and direction.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are relaxed and are focused on what you would like to learn.

I usually begin with assessing where students are in their abilities and then come up with a lesson plan based on what they already know and what they would like to accomplish.
They can be geared towards a 5 year old with no musical training whatsoever, or to an advanced musician who wants to further develop their skills.

Topics that I cover in lessons throughout a typical day of teaching include: Instrument technique, sight reading skills ( note and rhythm recognition ), memorization skills, music theory, ear training, improvising, and composing.

After 3 to 6 months of lessons and regular practice a beginning student should have a good command of their instrument and a strong foundation of sight reading. At this point we normally will also have started some music theory as well. For students wanting to focus on jazz we will have already begun improvising as well.

*** Studio Equipment ***
5x10 room w/ piano and seating for parents

*** Specialties ***
I focus on the basics of learning to read music and basic technique on the instruments that I teach. From there I proceed with theory, ear training, improvising, composition etc. It all depends on what the students want to learn. I am comfortable teaching classical music as well as jazz, rock, composition, and improvisation.

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Performing Artist
Aug 2016 - Present
D'Addario Woodwinds

I give performances and teach workshops on behalf of D'Addario woodwinds.

Aug 2015 - Present
The Tacoma Jazz Association

My duties as director include booking and promoting local and national artists for performing and educational workshops. I also teach the weekly jazz workshops with students of all ages and abilities.

Jazz Ensemble Director
Jan 2012 - Present
Ted Brown Music

I lead the jazz ensemble for Ted Brown Music's " Live It Out Loud " program.

The class focuses on jazz improvising and ensemble playing.

Artist in Residence
Jan 2002 - Present
Tacoma School of the Arts

My work at TSOTA involves teaching the jazz improvisation class.
We study jazz improvising concepts and apply them to performing in a small group setting.

Private Music Instructor
Jan 1996 - Present
Self Employed

I've been teaching private music lessons since 1996. Lessons involve teaching students technique, sight reading, music theory, improvisation, and composition.

Jazz Ensemble Director
Sep 2003 - Apr 2014
Pierce College

I directed the Pierce College jazz big band which involved leading rehearsals, taking the group on tour, planning performances, booking guest artists to perform with the group, purchasing sheet music, allotting scholarships, and recruiting and ausitioning new members.

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Bachelors Degree in Music
Sep 2000 - Jun 2002
Cornish College of the Arts
Associates Degree in Arts and Science
Sep 1998 - Jun 2000
Olympic College


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Limited Proficiency


Full Scholarship
Sep 2000
Cornish College of the Arts
Full Scholarship
Sep 1998
Olympic College

Photos & Videos

Live performance at The Taichung Jazz festival in Taiwan 2009
Live show with Vancouver BC's The Paperboys at Wintergrass in Tacoma WA.
Performance in Mt. Vernon WA with The Paperboys
The curtain comes up at 2:18 for our last song of the night. It was a great gig and a sold out show at one of our favorite venues to play in Seattle.
This is a brief clip of my college jazz band. Pierce College is a community college located in Puyallup Washington. The group is made up of high school students, college students, and community members. We perform regularly around the region and at Jazz festivals around the US. 

For more information on the group please visit: 

Performing at The Triple Door in Seattle WA
2013 Earshot Jazz Festival - Seattle Art Museum
Photo by Kareem K.

The Kareem Kandi Band performing at KPLU's Jazz Under The Stars. July 2012
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12 Reviews

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Jacqueline Dec 6, 2017
Piano · In home

My granddaughter is 6 years old and this is her first professional piano teacher. Kareem is ensuring that she has the basics down before she continues. She enjoys the lessons, and is excited when lesson day comes.

Aarti M. Jun 2, 2017
Piano ·

My daughter absolutely loves Mr. K!! He is very patient and takes his time to always answer ANY questions she has. She loves taking piano due to him being so awesome!! If you are looking for a great teacher for your little one there is no need to look any further!!

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Adam A. Jan 1, 2015
Saxophone ·

Kareem has been teaching me since I was in the fourth grade. I am currently in 8th grade, and man what can I say, he's as good as it gets! After two years I was in my middle school jazz band, which is not easy for a person who has only been playing for two years. You, yourself will be able to see extreme progress within just a few lessons! You must know Kareem teaches at Pierce College, a class at the Tacoma School of the Arts (which I hopefully will be attending and taking his class), teaches numerous private students every week, and lastly he performs with a stellar jazz band of his own! He is extremely dedicated to the musical field. If I were anybody reading this review and wanted to start playing any of the variety of instruments he plays, I would call Kareem K.!

-Adam Allegro

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Robin J. Dec 7, 2014
Saxophone · In studio

Kareem is a dedicated and diligent musician and teacher. He is able to share his love of music with students of all ages. Not only is he extremely capable of teaching students the technical aspects of music, but his lessons incorporate a wider perspective as well, such as, listening to different genres of music and asking his students to discuss what they hear. He is always positive and encourages students to do their best. He has style and class and it is a privilege that two of my children can study under his tutelage.

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Ryan T. Dec 6, 2014
Music Performance · In studio

Kareem is the man. I first met him while playing in the Pierce College Big Band--which he directs and is a perennial first place at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. I studied with him for 6 months formally but over the past 2 years through his weekly jam session and mutual gigs he's become a tremendous influence in my life. Whether your a beginner on your axe or an aspiring jazz student of any level he is the instructor for you.
As an improvisor his main influences are Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, and Joshua Redman. For any jazz musician on any instrument he is a master instructor of bebop. His overall playing versatility is solid but his forte is bebop. He is simply a beast of bebop and can aptly guide you along the path of musical enlightenment. Also, like most great jazz musicians his piano chops are excellent.

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Alfred L. Dec 6, 2014

Kareem is a powerful instructor who brings total clarity to playing sax, from the mouthpiece to the fingering to the study of musical theory and scales to the integrity and definition of jazz itself. I studied with him for just a few months and learned more about music theory and different approaches to the tenor sax than I could have imagined possible. I had played years before and he not only got me back into it but put me way ahead of where I had ever been before. He is my tenor guru.

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Bill M. Dec 5, 2014
Saxophone · In studio

I took sax lessons with Kareem and he is a great teacher, especially if you want to learn about jazz. He made it fun and exciting. One of my favorite things about Kareem is watching his band play shows. He's not just a really good teacher; he's also an amazing player. Every time I go watch him play, I am always inspired to go home and practice.

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sean B. Dec 5, 2014
Saxophone · In studio

I've been taking lessons from Kareem for about a year now and it has been very helpful in music theory and getting a grasp on improvising. I like Kareem's approach at keeping it simple and focusing on my learning needs I have and would recommend Kareem to anyone interested in private lessons.

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Deborah D. Dec 5, 2014
Flute · In studio

Kareem is an excellent flute teacher! He is friendly, focused, knowledgeable and very patient. I especially appreciate his practice tips!

nikkiJ Jul 16, 2012

Kareem does very well with Lauren who is difficult to work with because she is very shy and does not provide a lot of feedback to him. We are considering continuing the lessons into the fall as I believe her can really help her improve.

JusticeB Jul 10, 2012

I highly recommend Kareem as a piano teacher for both kids and adults. I took lessons with him as an adult and found him to be very knowledgeable about music and very capable of explaining concepts to me in a way that I could comprehend. I wanted a teacher who could take me beyond just reading notes off a page and Kareem did just that. He taught me a very good foundation of basic musical principles and introduced me to the world of composing music, which is something I never thought I could do. Kareem was patient and very focused during each lesson. He developed lesson plans that were specific to my desires and needs and made sure to check in with me often as far as if I felt good about the direction we were going and the content of each lesson. He is able to fit a lot into each lesson slot so it is definitely worth the money. Lastly, I appreciated that he always offered that I could email him if I have any questions about our lesson plan or if I needed clarification about anything we covered. I highly recommend Kareem as a piano teacher.

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DebbieS1 Mar 16, 2012

Karim is an excellent teacher. He has this way of letting our child go at her own pace while she is showing great progress. I reccommend Kareem highly.

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