• I have had the pleasure of studying with Kevin Bales for a year and a half. Over time, he has shown that he clearly possesses a well rounded knowledge of jazz music, it’s rhythms, harmonies, and traditions. He possesses a formidable technique, an encyclopedic knowledge of composers, styles, songs, periods, schools of thought, and an appreciation of jazz players from every era. As a teacher he offers a fresh, effective approach to comprehending harmonic theory, comping, and solo building. He makes clear and digestible a way of seeing into improvisation and analysis that has forever changed my ability to improve and go deeper into the music.  Things that had alluded me for years have become open and self-evident.  I have gained freedom as I play on gigs and in practice sessions. I’ve begun to see the answers to “why” and “how” as opposed to
    blindly following inscrutable maxims of some others.Kevin ‘s perspective has made harmonic and scalar issues more accessible, and frankly, more reasonable when I compare them to other modes of coaching them.  Some teach harmony in a way that confuses. Kevin teaches harmony in a straight-forward way. Not only can one come to understand the dry rules and conventions, but one can fully visualize that underlying natural acoustical laws on which underpin all music, not just swing, be-bop, modal types, etc.Not limited to the jazz genre;  Kevin plays and understands the classical repertoire and can therefore relate to students both classically trained and not. His teaching manner is relaxed and affable; he knows how to gear his approach to the student and where they are at the time musically. He is both supportive and frank about progress. And the lessons are fun, and well spent time. He makes the work both challenging and enjoyable.

    If one is pursuing radical improvement in one’s playing, whether piano or otherwise, jazz or beyond, my recommendation is to contact Kevin Bales.

    -Robert Strickland

  • “If you’re looking for a jazz piano teacher then I recommend that you study with Kevin Bales. Kevin has the most in-depth knowledge of the jazz language I have ever seen, and his teaching approach is practical, goal oriented, and fun. I have been studying jazz for around 40 years now, and I have learned more in the last 3 years from Kevin than in all those past decades combined. He has improved all aspects of my playing, from technique to improvisation, from harmonic analysis and substitutions to comping, from straight ahead bebop to free jazz. It is rare to find someone that has amassed so much knowledge about a subject who can also impart that knowledge to others such that they can assimilate it and immediately put it to use. Kevin is that rare individual – if you study with him, the results will speak for themselves.”

    -Scott Ulmer

  • Kevin Bales is master pianist and a master in teaching.  Whether for you piano is a hobby, you are a student or a professional, you will benefit from Kevin’s instruction.Since I have been taking lessons from Kevin, I have improved significantly my abilities:  my tempo, my timing, my hearing, my tone, my reading.  We have focused on timeless classical music like Bach, Beethoven, or Debussy to improve my techniques.  We also venture into contemporary music and jazz applying multiple voicings and harmony.I cannot say enough on the positive influence Kevin has on his students.  All who take from him enjoys him and values his mastery.  I recommend him as an excellent instructor.

    -Mary Huff

  • Kevin is a master teacher.  He shares his love and enthusiasm for music in an encouraging, supportive manner.  Kevin has the skill of being able to successfully teach at all levels – from professional musicians to individuals playing recreationally.  He has the gift of making even a novice player such as myself feel accomplished and successful.  One of the best aspects of his methodology is teaching students the fundamentals of jazz while learning to play songs and types of music of interest to the student, as opposed to being dictated by him.

    Kevin makes learning jazz accessible, possible, and fun!

    -Melanie W. Burns, D.M.D, M.P.H

  • What a privilege to have Kevin as my teacher.  In three years I have made more progress than I ever thought possible.  He patiently identifies obstacles that will impede my progress and corrects bad habits before they become entrenched.  Even when I lack confidence in my abilities, he never makes me feel as if I am wasting his time or mine.  Thanks Kevin for all your hard work as a fabulous musician and effective teacher.

    -Julie Villanueva

  • I’ve been taking jazz piano with Kevin for more than three years, and he still manages to blow me away at every lesson. He has the exceptional ability to make his students feel at ease, a pleasantly surprising attribute considering his outstanding talent and professional accomplishments. He inspires without intimidating and challenges without pressuring — combinations that are often difficult to find in an instructor. Taking piano from Kevin has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my adult life, as I have not only learned a great deal, but I’ve had fun in the process.-Holly Brochmann
  • One of my favorite things about Kevin is his honesty. I think that’s one of the most important things a teacher can have, and he always let me know which areas I had made progress as well as those I needed to improve upon. Even after 12 years I am still learning from Kevin, and I truly believe that because of his ever-growing knowledge and experience coupled with his ability to find functional solutions for some of the toughest musical issues, that I will continue to learn from him for quite some time.
    -David Potter
  • Kevin Bales is not only a master player of music; he is a master teacher of music! I am a career business person who works many hours and sometimes I can’t devote as much time to practicing as I’d like. Nevertheless, since studying with Kevin, my musical understanding and playing ability have increased to levels I have never attained before!     Kevin takes the time to really understand each student’s musical goals and unique life situation—then he draws on his 25 year-plus music-teaching career to present material in a way that makes sense—to each student. Needless to say, Kevin is a great communicator and his approach to teaching music has helped me advance as a musician AND most importantly, has allowed me to get the most joy out of my musical journey!Kevin Bales is without doubt the best musical instructor I have ever had the privilege of studying with!

    -Jim Hampton (Bass Guitar)

  • Kevin Bales is a skilled performer, but I know him best as a teacher—a teacher who connects with his students where they are. Teaching is not just a second thing he does.  He gets into it as much as he does his playing, and as a retired professor as well as one of his students I notice that and greatly appreciate it.
    -John Patton, Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
  • “Kevin Bales is the teacher’s teacher.  His wealth of information and superior ability could be intimidating to the best learner.  However, Bales caters the lesson to the student where illustrations, examples, and concepts are easier to digest. The enigma is that his gentle demeanor still motivates you to be passionate and fiery about the music and lessons learned.”

    -Tyrone  Jackson

  • “Kevin teaches jazz piano fundamentals in an highly effective, responsive way.  He always tailors his teaching to what I need at just that moment.  He is thoroughly well grounded in music theory, but he also brings a practical, working musician’s perspective to his teaching.  It is a rare combination of a professional performer who is also an experienced, highly skilled teacher.  Anyone who wants to learn the craft of jazz improvisation would be hard pressed to find a better, more qualified, or more congenial teacher than Kevin Bales.”

    -Warren Ott

  • Whether we are talking about chord voicings, diminished harmony, or incorporating poly-rhythmic lines into my playing, Kevin always returns my focus to the overarching importance of swing.  Since I began studying with him, my knowledge of jazz history, rhythm, and harmony has grown immensely.  At the foundation of his teaching and playing is always a deep sense of swing coupled with a contagious passion for music.

    -Rand Lines

  • I have had the pleasure of teaching alongside Kevin Bales at Georgia State University since 2005.  During that time, I have been repeatedly impressed by the passion and breadth of knowledge he imparts to students. His teachings are born out of years performing with world-class musicians and an extensive study of improvisation through personal study and intensive listening.  The most impressive factor in Kevin’s teaching is that it is organic.  He teaches to each student’s strengths and weaknesses, realizing their learning process must be unique. It is my opinion that Kevin Bales is at the forefront of Jazz education and improvisation today.

    -Mace Hibbard