Jazz Study

Anton is an exceptional player & inspirational teacher... and a lot of fun! He is organized & prepared, and so well versed in so many aspects of jazz performance and education... What more could a student want in a teacher?! — Susan Muscarella, Director, The California Jazz Conservatory

Anton Schwartz possess the perfect blend of musicianship; a top-flight saxophonist, an inspired composer, and a professional with a keen sense of the music industry and the jazz community-at-large. His teaching combines these gifts into…

…a unique presentation of sophistication, clarity, and personality; before you know it you've got the keys in your pocket! Joe Gilman, Musical Director, The Brubeck Institute

I've really enjoyed your approach in the weekly workout sessions. Your teaching style strikes me as a rare combination of clarity, curiosity, creativity, and practicality. Michael Gold, saxophonist

Anton is a superb teacher. He listens to my playing and singles out specific areas for me to focus on, which has improved my improvisation dramatically. He is engaging & enthusiastic... Terrigal Burn, pianist

Anton Schwartz, Jazz Educator

Anton is passionate about helping others overcome hurdles in their musical pursuits, both professional and recreational. He has taught extensively at the California Jazz Conservatory, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshop and the the Brubeck Institute. He has been Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University and the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony and has mentored advanced high school jazz musicians through the KPLU School of Jazz program and the Bellevue Jazz Festival Rising Stars program. He also teaches privately in Seattle and Oakland.

Anton brings the precision of a scientist—he has degrees in Mathematics from Harvard and Artificial Intelligence from Stanford—and the soul of an artist. He is a highly accomplished performer and recording artist; see his biography for more information.

To stay posted four times a year on Anton’s teaching activities, as well as pointers and thoughts about learning jazz, sign up for his jazz education email list.

Individual Lessons

75 minutes $90

Anton teaches lessons out of his studios in Bellevue, Washington and Oakland, California, as well as via Skype (see below). He works with intermediate and advanced students of diverse instruments who have an interest in some or all of the following:

  • Improvising fluidly over chord changes
  • Powerful expression through music
  • Internalizing advanced harmony
  • Fluency in the many idioms of jazz, plus funk & blues
  • Phrasing
  • Saxophone technique, including sound production, articulation, altissimo and inflections.
  • The physics of musical sound
  • Efficient practice methods for a busy lifestyle

Anton particularly loves working with musicians who have studied scales and chords but are frustrated in their efforts to use those devices to make great solos.

Skype Lessons

60 minutes $60

Like in-studio lessons (above) but via two-way video on Skype or FaceTime.

Combo Lessons

90 minutes $120

Anton works with jazz combos at his studio, on either a one-time or a periodic basis. He listens to their playing, points out areas of strength and weakness, coaches them to improve the weak areas during the lesson and suggests ways for them to further develop on their own. He has worked with beginning to advanced groups since 1995, at the Jazzschool, The Brubeck Institute and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and has taught entire courses and workshops on a great number of the components that go into successful ensemble playing.

Anton is an accomplished & effective clinician.

He gives workshops frequently at a variety of institutions.
Below are some of his upcoming teaching engagements.

Upcoming Events

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Mar 4 Saturday
California Jazz Conservatory - Berkeley, CA


“Improvising with Pentatonics”

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A theoretical and practical look at pentatonic (five-note) scales and their role in jazz, paying particular attention to the many ways we can use them to great effect in our solos. We lay out the theory behind them from the ground up, show how they may be used in myriad harmonic contexts, and discuss exactly how it is that such a simple harmonic tool (they are the basis of some of the simplest folk melodies around the world) can be used so powerfully in modern music to create so many so many colors and degrees of tension and dissonance.
Prerequisites: An understanding of chords and seven-note scales is required; familiarity with advanced harmony (altered, lydian, etc.) is recommended.

Apr 8 Saturday
California Jazz Conservatory - Berkeley, CA


“Altered Dominant & Dominant 13♭9 Chords: The How, When & Why of Using Them”

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11:00am-2:00pm. For all instruments.
These two chords provide rich colors that are essential to the palette of intermediate and advanced jazz players. This workshop takes a deep look at the chords and their accompanying scales, examining how each is constructed, *why* they are constructed that way, and how they may be used to maximal effect. Their sounds are contrasted within the context of jazz (e.g. when should one be used rather than the other?), listening to examples of their use. Additional topics include: different types of “outness”; and lydian dominant, the “sister” of the altered sound. This workshop is appropriate for students with little prior exposure to the subject, as well as students familiar with melodic minor and diminished harmony who wish to deepen their understanding. Prerequisite: an understanding of basic theory and the mixolydian & diminished scales.

Apr 8 Saturday
California Jazz Conservatory - Berkeley, CA


“Sus Chords: The How, When and Why of Using Them”

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3:00pm-5:00pm. For all instruments.
A deep look at suspended dominant chords. We discuss how they operate and listen to examples of their use. Topics include: traditional versus modern use, sus-flat-9, sus-add-3, relation to II-V-I progressions, techniques for improvisation.
Prerequisite: basic music theory.

Apr 9 Sunday
California Jazz Conservatory - Berkeley, CA


“Improvising on Jazz Standards”

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This new 5-part series of hands-on workshops directed by some of the Bay Area’s top jazz improvisers is designed to provide players with a range of techniques for improvising on jazz standards. Get some new tools for your improvisational toolkit, and gain a variety of perspectives on jazz improvisation from each of these wonderful musicians. Each session will be directed by a different instructor and focus on a particular jazz standard, including plenty of in-class playing time, and Q&A. These workshops are open to all.
Suggested prerequisites for those who will play during the session: facility on an instrument and knowledge of jazz theory.

Jul 31 Monday
Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshop - Lafayette, CA


July 31 – August 4

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You may also browse a list of workshops Anton has offered in the past.