"My nine year old son has been taking piano and guitar lessons from Jake for four years. Jake has done a wonderful job of keeping music interesting to him through a variety of approaches. Whether it's teaching him to read music, to learn to play it by ear or even to try composing it on his own, Jake has kept the pace fun and relaxed and at the same time educational. We are excited to see his interest in music continue and now spread to his younger sister who has also started to take piano lessons with Jake!"
Shelly Hatton, parent
"Jake's thoughtful approach to teaching music has been great for our daughter. She really looks forward to her lessons!"
Libby Dodderidge, parent
"It was cool to look back on the music I began playing with Jake, and to see how much I had improved in such a short amount of time. I love the way he can make learning new techniques on guitar exciting and sound extremely awesome."
Michael, 13-year-old guitar student
"Jake is an ideal music teacher for my children because he make it fun and interesting. He lets them pick the songs that they want to learn, so they never get bored. He even lets them make up songs to learn, so he really uses their imagination while teaching them the fundamentals of music. I also like that he lets them learn at their own pace. He doesn't make us buy a bunch of really expensive music books that we won't use. Finally, Jake hosts a really cool recital twice a year in an old building in Westport, that allows us to see what our children have learned. I also really enjoy seeing Jake's other students perform since some of his older students are very talented."
Diana Healy, parent
"Jake is a great teacher and really connects with my sons. He understands their learning styles and his approach has helped sustain and encourage their musical interests."
Barb Onyszchuk, parent
"Not only is Jake an inspirational teacher, his teaching method is incredibly flexible. He delivers custom tailored lessons and really knows what he's talking about. He's prompt and very accommodating."
Sophia, 15-year-old guitar, piano, and drumset student
"We were lucky enough to have Jake as a piano teacher for both of our kids when we lived in the US. He made it fun, worked with them on what they wanted to do, and before they knew it, they were learning the piano and music theory, without them even realising. He is a great teacher and the kids miss him now that we are back in Australia."
Gil Highnam, parent
"Jacob is amazing at teaching all different types of music while also adjusting his instruction style based on the student’s individual needs. He teaches all four of my children. At one recital, my Kindergarten daughter played 'Hail to the Queen' while my teenage son played 'Clocks' by Cold Play. My children have truly acquired a love for music and their instruments in working with Jacob and look forward to their lessons each week."
Beth Whalen, parent
“Jacob has a lot of spirit, he is always happy and doesn’t get mad. He doesn’t write notes down so you will probably memorize your first song. He doesn’t just teach piano, he teaches everything! He is the best teacher I’ve ever had of anything because he is never mad or grumpy and he never gives up on you. And if you forget how to play a song, you can just ask Jacob.”
John, 7-year-old piano student
"After nearly 40 years, I have discovered the real joy of playing the piano. I know that sounds sappy, but it's true. I've even discovered, through Jake's encouragement, that I have a creative side and can actually COMPOSE a song, which has been so much fun! I can't wait for my lesson each week to show Jake what I've been able to accomplish because of his patience and skillful mentoring! Also, after a few years of picking away at the guitar, my husband decided to take guitar lessons from Jake. What a difference Jake's tutoring has meant for him! It's been a real treat being able to learn and play together under Jake's guidance!"
Linda and Bill Smith, adult piano and guitar students
"My son, Sam, started taking guitar lessons from Jacob over three years ago. My daughter, Olivia, followed a year later with the piano and we recently added piano for our youngest, Cooper. My kids were more excited about learning to play an instrument because Jacob made it more relevant to them by letting them choose the music while challenging them to still learn the fundamentals — scales, reading music, chords, etc. We love to go to the recitals to see their progress and listen to the other students and the music they are learning. I’ve recommended Jacob to several friends who have used him or one of his other instructors and they have been very pleased as well. I’d be happy to recommend Jacob to anyone and trust that they will have a great experience!"
Amy Bible, parent
"My oldest child started guitar with Jake four years ago. Now three of my children take both guitar and/or piano with him. His ability to teach music while making it fun and appealing to each child's individual tastes is what makes him such a great instructor. They all have a real love of music because of him. Thanks Jake!"
Kirsten McGannon, parent
"Mr. Black is the best piano teacher in the whole wide wide world!"
Maggie, 10-year-old piano student
"Jake is an incredibly talented musician, which motivates our kids to push themselves to become better. He's very low-key but knows how to encourage them. Both of them have found real joy in learning to play their instruments, and we give credit for that to Jake."
Carol Porter, parent
"Jake's passion for music and talent as a piano teacher has been a true gift to our family. We have four children and he found a way to engage each child so they were challenged but had success in their piano efforts. If they had interest in playing a song that was too technically difficult for them he adapted it so they could manage it. Kids enjoy having a part in picking out a song and we all know you are more apt to practice something you enjoy!"
Karen Price, parent
"Jake is a great teacher! If you are looking for a music instructor for your child, or if you are an adult looking to learn a new instrument, Jake is the person to learn from. Jake really knows how to teach at all levels of instruction — beginner to advanced. He is encouraging and patient, yet knows when to gently push in order to get a student to achieve their personal best performance. Jake has a fun personality and is a person of achievement and compassion. Don't hesitate to learn from him — he is outstanding."
Donna Rasmussen, adult guitar student