“Whenever I think of Jason, I smile and remember how much he taught me and how much joy for music he instilled in me.”
Rebekah Neff
Former student - Stay at home mom, Cottage Grove, MN

“I met Jason about 20 years ago, and for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been a dedicated music educator. When it comes to Jazz Theory, he is a fount of knowledge.”
Dr. Cedric Dent
Multi Grammy Award winning recording artist, multi Dove Award winner, founding member - Take 6

“I learned a ton studying with Jason back in the day. It's not just the information; it’s not just the chords, or the comps, or the songs. It’s his whole approach to learning. Breaking down each goal into manageable pieces, and making sure that you really ‘own’ the material before moving on. That approach stuck with me.”
Brian Eichenberger
Guitar player/Vocalist - The Beach Boys

"I take jazz piano lessons with Jason because I want to be a better teacher for my kids."
Heather Nail
Director of Vocal Jazz - Valley High School, West Des Moines, IA

"I first worked with Jason many moons ago, when we were both high schoolers in California. So began a mutual respect for one another's musicianship and ensuing musical careers. It must have been 6 or 7 years later that our professional paths first crossed, both of us nominated for a Grammy Award in the same category. Flash forward another decade or so and I'm in Seattle producing a Christmas album when one of the commissioned works I'm to produce lands on my desk. It's got Jason's name on it. Simply put, Jason is as serious as a heart attack about his art. I respect not only his musicianship, but also the harmonic-based music program in Iowa that he has been so instrumental in maintaining for the last 25 years. I highly recommend working with him if you get the chance."
Roger Treece
Composer/Arranger/Producer for Bobby McFerrin, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, Barry Manilow

“Jason is one of the brightest lights in the vocal jazz harmony universe!”
Deke Sharon
Music director for Pitch Perfect 1,2,3, and NBC’s The Sing-Off

“Jason is one of the most caring and committed educators I know! He doesn't settle for less than excellence, and at the same time he is sensitive to working with students in a caring way. Jason is a great mentor, in all the best aspects of that term.”
Michele Weir
Grammy nominated recording artist, Professor of Global Jazz Studies - UCLA

“I’ve been a huge fan of Jason’s work for over two decades. I still hold out hope that we’ll get to collaborate on something one of these days. As far as I’m concerned, Jason is one of the finest educators, arrangers, and overall musicians in the game.”
Keith Power
Hollywood Composer for CBS’s Hawaii Five-O, MacGyver, Magnum P.I.

“New York Voices has had the pleasure of watching Jason in action as a clinician, teacher and ensemble director. His enthusiasm, unique teaching methods, and thorough knowledge of the jazz and a cappella genres are very apparent. Students clearly respond to his musicianship and energy. Whether as a private teacher, a classroom teacher, an ensemble director, or music camp leader, Jason always brings the goods.”
Darmon Meader
Vocalist/Saxophonist and principal writer - New York Voices

“From the depth of knowledge shown by his former students alone, I’d recommend studying any jazz theory Jason Smith offers!”
Trist Curless
Bass singer, multi Grammy Award winning vocal jazz quartet - The Manhattan Transfer

“Jason’s jazz is the real deal! If you want to increase your jazz skills, take advantage of this opportunity!”
Dr. Kirby Shaw
Internationally renowned vocal jazz educator

“Interpretation is what keeps old music fresh and new music exciting. So many artists these days just rehash the old or get into the “cookie cutter mode” with the new. Not Jason Smith - he toys and dances with songs as if each were a character in a play, taking on new personalities and renewed perspectives, at the same time keeping the musicality and respect toward the works themselves.”
Bill Hare
Grammy Award winning producer

"Jason Smith, a truly talented artist and educator, has vast experience as a jazz vocalist, pianist and arranger. Jason, through his deep knowledge of harmony, phrasing and feel, as well as through his love of the American Songbook, has inspired vocalists at all levels of their musical journey. I highly recommend “Jason’s Jazz Studio” as an opportunity to learn from this consummate professional.”
Lolita Ritmanis
Emmy Award winning composer, and co-founder of the Alliance for Women Film Composers

"Jason was my instructor from fall of 1995 to the spring of 1998. He taught me everything from basic theory to arranging. Since those days, I have routinely been able to find work as a guitarist and guitar instructor in Iowa as well as various places around the U.S. Not a day goes by that I don't use the skills that I learned under his tutelage and there is no exaggeration in that statement. Whether you want to expand on your joy of making music or take that joy into the professional realm, Jason Smith is the person to help you get there.”
James Biehn
Founder of Central Iowa Music Lab, professional guitarist, Des Moines, IA

“Jason takes listeners on a playful and musically interesting journey. Every whisper, every swung phrase, every inflection has a meaning—this is the true definition of artistry.”
Loren Battley
Former student - Back up singer for Michael Bublé

“The time I spent studying with Jason has become a major foundational piece in my career as a professional musician. Fundamentals including theory, ear training, vocal arranging and piano are skills that have given me credibility in the music industry, resulting in a consistent, enjoyable, and well paying gig. Jason made learning fun, and understood how to pull the great out of the good students. I’m grateful for the time I spent with him and the knowledge I gained through his leadership.”
Tim Rosenau
Guitarist/Vocalist for multi Grammy Winning Christian artist - TobyMac

“Jason’s knowledge and teaching of Music Theory is impeccable. His personal integrity is wonderful!”
Phil Mattson
Grammy nominated arranger and recording artist, founder of The School for Music Vocations at Southwestern Community College in Creston, IA

“Jason is a rare breed of music educator. In his 35 years of teaching, he has seen it all, and crafted his methods accordingly. In doing so, he is one of the best at knowing exactly the next step for each individual he teaches. He is one of the finest - if not the finest - jazz piano/harmony teachers I have ever studied with.”
Dr. Jeremy Fox
Grammy nominated arranger, Director of Jazz Studies - The School for Music Vocations, Creston, IA

“I’m a big fan of Jason’s work. I’ve sung his arrangements and enjoyed them immensely!”
Dr. Kate Reid
Program Director of Jazz Vocal Performance - Frost School of Music, University of Miami

“Jason changed my life. When I started lessons with him I couldn't read music or play piano, yet within a month I was playing jazz piano! He took me from being merely a singer to being a musician. If you want to go to the next level in your music career, Jason’s your man!”
Kelsea Cire
Jazz singer/song writer, private instructor, Los Angeles, CA

“Taking all he has experienced and mastered over the years - from his early stages being one of Phil Mattson's PM Singers (an album that most certainly inspired me as a young, enthusiastic ‘vocal jazzer’) to his many years as a mover and shaker at SWCC, to his own solid and varied vocal arranging, Jason Smith is now offering his many musical and educational strengths to a few lucky people for private instruction. To that I say, check it out people!"
Peter Eldridge
Professional singer/song writer, Grammy nominated recording artist and founding member - New York Voices

“Jason Smith is a master teacher. The nuts and bolts of harmony and jazz piano that were so elusive to me became clear as day. Work with Jason, put in your time, and you will get there!”
David Scott
Associate Professor of Voice - Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA

“I have long been impressed with Jason Alex Smith and his tremendous work with music students. Jason has invited me several times over the past ten years to give masterclasses for his students. In working with these students, it is clearly evident to me that Jason regularly engages them in activities that successfully develops their comprehensive or total musicianship. His pedagogy emphasizes the importance of singing, piano playing, music theory, as well as jazz improvisation on keyboard and voice. It is clear through working with his students that Jason Alex Smith is a successful, engaging and inspiring teacher of young people.”
Dr. Nicholas Roth
Concert Pianist, Professor of Piano - Drake University, Des Moines, IA

“Jason Smith is the consummate music educator. His ‘boot camp’ approach to instruction will guide you in becoming a better consumer and performer of the musical arts. Enjoy!”
James Yarbrough
Chicago Symphony Chorus

“Jason Smith spent 25 years recruiting and developing musical talent at Southwestern’s School for Music Vocations. He is a masterful, musical tactician who exhibits unmatched ability to cultivate brilliant musicians. His dynamic teaching techniques combined with extreme attention to detail allow him to excel at developing novice musicians into talented artists.”
Bill Taylor
Vice President of Instruction, Southwestern Community College, Creston, IA

"The clarity and depth of Jason’s musical knowledge is effortless and always given in such a memorably humorous way. He’s truly one of the most generous educators I’ve had the pleasure of learning from, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance."
Tommy Boynton
Lead singer - The Four Freshmen

“I started my studies not even knowing where middle C was on the piano, and left playing and singing with a trio and doing solos on the piano. Jason gave me new perspectives on being a professional, but also having fun with music at the same time.”
Drew Rauch
Bass player/vocalist/writer and founding member of the band Druids, Des Moines, IA

“Over the decades I have seen Jason Smith in his role as a vocal music mentor. His toolbox is full with useful methods that span from vocal training, ensemble development to arranging and composing. He is full of positive energy that will inspire anyone who wants to explore music.”
Anders Edenroth
Principal writer and founding member of the Swedish a cappella vocal jazz quintet - The Real Group

“I found my time studying with Jason to be the some of the most valuable of my career. With a master’s degree already under my belt, he met me where I was and took me on a direct path to new levels of accomplishment as a pianist and arranger. I appreciated his straightforward, practical approach to teaching and use much of his advice in my own teaching every day.”
Mike Molloy
Choral Director - St. Charles North High School, St. Charles, IL

“Anyone would be lucky to study with the multi-talented, JAS. Not only a talented arranger but a top of the heap performer as well. I can recommend him without reservation for anyone who wants to improve their arranging chops.”
Roger Emerson
Principal choral arranger/composer - Hal Leonard

“From the beginning, Jason Smith has been a go-to part of my 20-year career as a professional touring and recording artist in vocal jazz and a cappella. Of the many hundreds of educators I’ve worked with, Jason’s clear passion for helping students and fellow teachers succeed make him among the best I’ve known. This guy is gold. I can’t recommend him enough.”
Marco Cassone
Founding member of the professional a cappella vocal jazz sextet - m-pact

“Jason is one of the most knowledgeable, straightforward, and pragmatic vocal jazz educators I’ve ever worked with. He manages to exude an incredibly infectious joy for what he’s doing and teaching!”
Greg Whipple
Film/television session singer, Los Angeles, CA

“The best part about working with Jason is his ability to connect with each individual student. He uses humor, his own experiences, and a great foundation of knowledge to draw from when teaching.”
Dr. Sheryl Monkelien
Professor of Music Education, Director of Vocal Jazz - Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA

“Jason’s arranging, teaching and performing have put him at the core of our beloved sub-genre of vocal jazz ensemble music for decades, and his contributions have both elevated and broadened the scope of the art form. I remain highly interested in hearing what he does next!”
Kerry Marsh
Vocal arranger for Ben Folds, Vocal Jazz arranger - Alfred Publishing

"Jason is a great musician with a unique style and delivery, as well as a prolific composer and arranger. He has a wealth of musical knowledge that will benefit all that have the privilege of studying with him.”
Joey Blake
Associate Professor, Voice Dept. - Berklee College of Music

"Jason's musicality allows him to do many things: sing, play, arrange, teach, etc. I appreciate his respect of the styles and eras. It's an approach that shows off not just the performer or performance, but the music itself.”
Steve Bowman
Drummer, founding member - Counting Crows

“I began my studies with Jason after I had my Bachelor's in piano performance. I discovered so much more I could still learn from Jason in theory, arranging, and groove. And even better --I discovered a joy of learning and music that was deeper than I thought possible.”
John Knutson
Director of Choral Activities - Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

"As one of the most creative and talented musicians I know, Jason is a passionate educator who brings out the best qualities in each student. Jason was one of my favorite music teachers because of the fun he brought to lessons along with his crazy sense of humor. He had the innate ability to convey complex music theory and make it simple! As a singer, Jason can improvise like no one else and make the simplest phrase unforgettable. In all my years in the music business, Jason is a rare treasure."
Vicki Plaster Kueppers
Miss America contestant (Miss Minnesota), professional singer/voice over artist

“Jason Smith is an amazing teacher. I’ve sent many students to Iowa to study with him, and have seen incredible growth in their piano and harmony skills. He takes an honest interest in the continued growth of his students, and continues to be a resource to them years after they leave active study with him. I personally have benefitted from Jason’s teaching greatly as well. Even though I have a jazz background, Jason’s approaches to jazz keys changed my musicianship and my own teaching for the better in immeasurable ways. Studying with him was one of the best decisions I and my students have made!”
Cynthia Peyson Wahl
Department head of Visual and Performing Arts - Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute, Winnipeg, MB, CA

“Jason is a music industry veteran. His practical approach to studying and performing music connects well with all types of musicians. Jason can assist any artist to refine his/her own distinctive voice in writing, arranging, and performing.”
Adam Kimont
Former keyboardist for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, current Assistant Musical Director,「水舞間」The House of Dancing Water, Taipa, Ilhas, Macau, China

“Jason’s approach combines the perfect mix of precise knowledge, creativity, challenge, and humor. He inspires students of all ages and levels of development to feel engaged, expressive, and confident in their abilities.”
Deanna Newton-Gestrin
Band and Choir Director - Burnaby Mountain Secondary School, Burnaby, B.C. CA

“Jason is a methodical and practical teacher and works with a mindset that anyone can learn this material. If you follow his lessons and do the work, you will unlock the door to truly understanding music theory AND get some piano chops while you’re at it. Play, write, comprehend, utilize. That’s what I learned while studying with him. He also has a great sense of humor and philosophy within all that strong methodology. Highly recommended!”
Dr. Kathleen Hollingsworth
Choral Director - Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, OR

"I took jazz piano lessons with Jason, and the skills I’ve learned will stick with me for a lifetime. I’ve gone on to gig with professional musicians and have become a teacher myself. It would not have been possible without the technique and theory provided by him! I am very flexible when it comes to my future now. As long as there's music involved, I know I'll be content. It was an absolute pleasure to be in Jason's class!"
Alexis Tyler
Tyler Piano Studio, Chicago, IL

"Jason is a first rate performer. In addition to singing with flawless intonation and amazingly clear tone, his skills on the piano exhibit a hip swinging style and sophisticated harmonic awareness.”
Dr. Art LaPierre
Director of Vocal Jazz - American River College, Sacramento, CA

“Jason knows all about singing and arranging in the realms of popular and jazz music. He walks his students, with humour and clarity, through all the necessary steps toward preparing for success.”
Ryan Billington
Director of Vocal Jazz - St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, CA

“Jason Smith has the very rare combination of being a fantastic singer, an excellent pianist, an incredible arranger, and a brilliant teacher. He can do it all! If you have passion and a strong work ethic then Jason is the teacher for you.”
Dr. Wyant Morton
Director of Choral Activities - California Lutheran University

"Jason is an absolutely terrific pianist, singer and arranger……..always stylish and tasteful.”
Dr. David von Kampen
Director of Vocal Jazz - University of Nebraska

“Jason is a passionate music educator that loves imparting his experience and knowledge to those who want to learn with intensity and a wicked sense of humor! Jason taught me valuable lessons in not only the fundamentals of music and group singing but also in the areas of the recording industry and the business of music.”
Sarah McQueen-Cunningham
Director of Choirs - Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

“Jason Smith’s vocal, piano, theory, and improvisational skills reflect an extensive understanding of the jazz genre.  His performances demonstrate his knowledge of the theoretical framework of song construction, as well as providing creative possibilities for expressing the melody, lyrics, rhythm, and harmony of the material.  Jason is an excellent musician and teacher. Anyone desiring to learn in-depth jazz skills will surely embark on a thorough musical journey.”
Dr. Gloria Cooper
Professional jazz vocalist and educator

“From the tears that flow from his face while conducting on choir tour, to receiving some explicitly humbling and often humorous theory lessons from the guy, I realize that the most special thing about studying with him is his ability to make the whole music thing feel more human.“
Nick Frampton
Composer/Producer/Performer - Field Division, Denton, TX

“Jason Alex Smith was my jazz teacher in the mid 80’s. He was always a creative, caring and talented individual. I have utilized things he taught me throughout my career as a professional singer/musician. Not only does he know his stuff, he knows how to get through to students and make learning fun!”
Hilary Harris
Freelance musician/vocalist, Richmond, CA

“I was Jason’s student after I earned undergrad degree in Music Education. While I had excellent undergrad training, Jason helped me greatly expand my knowledge and understanding of music. His unique approach to music theory was especially enlightening and I teach my own students many of the concepts that I learned from him.”
Brandon Bitner
Choral Director, Central Dauphin High School, Harrisburg, PA

“Jason A. Smith is a phenomenal instructor with an amazing ability to teach theory, arranging, jazz keyboard, recording production, improv, and solo singing to students at any level. The methods he introduced to me as his student over 20 years ago are still applied in my approach to musicianship today.”
Tanya Fitzgerald
Contemporary gospel singer/song writer/recording artist, San Jose, CA

“Dang, I miss being Jason's student. His method, kindness, and humour made being in his classes one of the best memories I have from university. He broke down arranging into bite-size chunks so it wasn't overwhelming, and even made topics like figured bass fun. After studying with him I became a theory fanatic and I think it's because of his love of the fundamentals inspired me to dig deeper into harmony, arranging and composition.”
Tobi Crawford
Fine Arts Dept. Head/Choral Director at Sino-Canada High School, Langly B.C. CA

“Jason is a highly knowledgeable musician and mentor who is affable and inspiring. He encouraged and guided me through a musical journey at an unexpected time in my life that has helped shape who I am as a musician and instructor. I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to work with him.”
Dustin Baird
Guitar/bass/drums instructor - Central Iowa Music Lab, Des Moines, IA

"I have been a student of Jason’s, both as an undergrad and post-grad. He was my guide through the very basics of music and then beyond, when I needed refined skills to teach and perform professionally. Everyone learns at different paces. Yet, at both levels, Jason was able to meet me right where I was at. He always had a strategy to get me past any barriers I would experience. His patience and commitment to me as his student was unwavering. He would be there til I got it! Not to mention his level of personal talent, which gave me something to aspire to!" 
Kimberly Ross
Producer/Performer - iDiOM Theater, Bellingham, WA

“It is hard to put into words how much of an influence Jason Smith has had on my life as a musician. His dedication and talent as an educator was one of the main reasons I decided to devote my studies to music at SWCC. His practical teaching techniques have brought my musicianship to a whole different level. To this day, almost a decade later, I still use the skills he has taught me through my songwriting, my piano proficiency, and even in the way I listen to and analyze music. If anyone has the opportunity to work with Jason they will truly be given a gift of musicianship that will change the way they approach and apply music for a lifetime.”
Katie Liban
Private music instructor, Milwaukee, WI

"Jason Smith is a teacher who really understands the mind of a student. He knows how to effectively communicate his passion for music through a multitude of teaching methods. He's one of the best teachers I've ever had.”
Nick Roberto
Director - Gold Standard Chorus, Santa Cruz, CA

“Coming from a classical piano background I found jazz keys and the method behind it to be very overwhelming. It wasn’t structured like classical music is. Jason took time with me one-on-one and literally changed my approach to how I think about all music now. I wouldn’t have the career and passion that I have for music if it wasn’t for him.”
Heather Lynn
Jazz pianist/jazz vocalist, educator, Brandon, MB, CA

“Never have I had a teacher be so hands on and willing to run with me as fast as I wanted to go. Jason has a genuine approach to sharing his knowledge of music, with a very professional, and also productive witticism to back it up. I’m only one of his many students, and I’m confident in saying that we’re all indebted to his passion for teaching, the discipline he exhibits while doing so, and the praise he passes along for all of our accomplishments. Forever grateful.”
Travis Latour
Freelance musician/jazz singer, Denver, CO

“Jason is a very talented educator as well as a fantastic musician. He values his students and works hard to make them successful. I like how he breaks down concepts into manageable parts so even beginning students can get it.
Leesa Kuhlmann
Music Director - Sweetwater County School District #1, Rock Springs, WY 

“Jason is one of the most accomplished and complete teachers I've known. Not only does he know his stuff but his performing experience brings a fresh look on what today's singers and musicians alike need to know.”
Denis Allaire
Director of Liturgical - Music, Church of St. Joseph, Minneapolis, MN

“I had the good fortune of studying with Jason Smith back in the 80’s. I quickly learned to trust his judgment and follow his lead. His advice was always spot on and his suggestions were always the best path. Jason is a true musical professional. With years of experience teaching, performing and recording, he gives students to better understanding of performance and theory regardless of their level. I highly recommend Jason if you’re trying to improve any aspect of your musical knowledge or performance. Simply put, he rocks!”
Joe Heavey
Musician/Producer, San Francisco, CA

“Jason takes musicians and turns them into marketable artists. With years of experience as a performer and educator, Jason provides top-tier training spanning a wide spectrum of musical skills needed for professional growth and success.”
E.J. Hinojosa
Music Director - Community United Church of Christ, Fresno CA

“Jason was the hardest, funniest, most out of this world teacher I’ve ever had. He was one of the first teachers to tell me a harsh truth about myself and that was that I would have to work extra hard to become half the musician that others already naturally are. It was hard to hear but it was something I needed and still need to remind myself of everyday. And although Jason was tough on me, he never gave up on me and with a couple of failures and a lot (and I mean a lot) of hours in a practice room I got to where I needed to be and more. He never failed to talk me through his lessons even when he had to change the wording countless times in order for me to understand everything. When I was discouraged and literally having a melt down, he always knew how to make me smile again by letting me know that at the end of the day music should be fun and beautiful and that I would get to my goals eventually. He played a big part in making me persevere and continue to be in the music industry and I am proud to be one of his former students. So if you’re ready to be taken apart and put back together again, to be humbled and laugh the entire way through, Jason is your guy!”
Amber Azurduy
Associate of Applied Arts - The School for Music Vocations, Office Manager - Chalice Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA

“I was a student of Jason's while attending the School for Music Vocations in Creston, IA. He took time out of his schedule on multiple occasions to help me with assignments and to better my skillset. He is a hard-working person with a way of taking a student at any level and providing them with the skills to become a strong and life-long musician. I found him to be patient, while also encouraging and supportive through the learning process. Jason is someone I respect and hold in high regard as a musician, teacher, and friend.”
Mary Pohlmann
7-12 Vocal Music teacher - Clarke community schools, Osceola, IA

“I studied music with one of the most genuine, reassuring hearts in the music industry. I’m glad to have a mentor and friend like Jason Smith in my life.”
Janos Csonka Jr.
Bachelor of Arts, Jazz Voice Performance - Western Michigan University

“Jason was a huge part of my development as a successful musician. I am now a performer and teacher myself, and I am forever grateful to him for sharing his patience, perseverance, and depth of knowledge with me.”
Alex Rohlwing
Piano teacher - British International School of Chicago - Lincoln Park, IL

"I had the honour of graduating from the School for Music Vocations, and having Jason as my instructor. When I arrived, I saw jazz as this incredibly complex, interesting, and almost untouchable genre that was reserved for the select few to play. Jason helped me find the patterns and demystify it. He broke it down into attainable goals that made me feel successful. Jason is a talented musician and a gifted instructor.”
Madeleine Bray
Elementary teacher - Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools District, Dance instructor - Sara Raymond Dance Academy, Vancouver Island, BC, CA

“Jason is a positive, compassionate teacher and voice coach. He has an infinite pool of knowledge for the students to draw from which helps us to feel comfortable but also challenges us to learn and improve our skills as a musicians.”
Diana Ford
Registered Nurse and Soprano - Enchanted Mesa Show Chorus, Albuquerque, NM 

“Jason Smith is a music educator who teaches with an encouraging heart. He puts a strong emphasis on the tried and true building blocks of music, making sure that each student develops a secure body of knowledge regarding melody, rhythm, and chord progressions. When his students go out to work in a group or a solo situation, they are capable of delivering a performance that will connect with their audience. To top it all off, he is a teacher that will help you make music fun.”
Justin Appel
Professional jazz/blues pianist, Des Moines, IA

“As a youngster I studied under Jason in several classes and in his vocal jazz group. Jason was the right guy for me at that point in my life-he was serious about his craft, and expected quality of performance always, yet he also maintained his unique sense of humor throughout that makes me laugh to this day. I would highly encourage serious musicians to study with Jason - and be ready for the not so serious moments as well.”
Pete Paisley
President - Ultratest Services, Lakeside, CA

“Where most teachers in my past often didn’t know what to do for me, Jason was always able to read me like a book. I still don’t think I’ve ever had a teacher who understood the emotional weight that you have to undertake to learn something to a professional level like Jason does. Jason pushed me to better myself while always being supportive and understanding along the way. Whatever you plan on learning with Jason he’ll be able to help you reach a truly professional level of music making.” 
Isaac Rohr
Bachelor of Music in Composition - Brandon University, currently pursuing MFA in Composition and Experimental Sound Practices - Cal Institute of the Arts, Santa Clarita, CA

“Jason Smith has a vast and well rounded understanding of music. The immense trajectory and accumulation of experience he brings to his classes makes his teaching disciplined, organized, creative and fun. He guides his students into deepening their skills  and concept of music in a simple and accessible way.”
Clay Burns
Singer/Songwriter - Colibri music, Madrid, Spain

“I honestly don’t know how to express the gratitude that I have for Jason Smith. He is a truly unique and caring instructor who always strives to connect with his students. When I started studying with him, I could read only one staff of music, but he saw a potential in me that nobody else ever had. Suddenly, I was understanding complex musical concepts, and I could play a full song on the piano- harmonies and all. Jason pushed me when I wanted to give up and supported me when life was difficult. He knew when I could do better and helped me to overcome my own personal barriers. Hopefully, he can impact your musical journey in the incomparable way that he has impacted mine.” 
Brooke Granahan
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theory and Composition - University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

"Any time I didn’t understand something, Jason would patiently answer my questions until it all made sense. I’ve been studying music in some form or other for over 30 years now. I can say without reservation that the theory and technical knowledge I received from him created the foundation for how I approach music now and his enthusiasm and humour was infectious. To this day, he is still my favourite teacher."
Dionne Sellinger
Mezzo Soprano - Vancouver Opera, Vancouver, BC, CA

“I took a year off from teaching to fulfill a dream I had of working with Jason and the crew at SWCC. Jason has a wonderful way of upholding the highest standards for his students while simultaneously embodying grace and humor. He truly cares for the development of each and every student, regardless of natural ability. I earned my Masters of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Ohio State University due in part to the confidence I gained from working with Jason. To this day, I apply what I learned from him as Worship Director for my church.”
Aaron McCullough
Worship and Adult Ministry Director - St. Luke Lutheran Church, Westerville, OH

“Jason was able to simplify and break down jazz piano into chewable pieces. Bit by bit - piece by piece, the course was so intelligently constructed. Jason makes learning so accessible. I had barely any piano chops coming into his studio and was playing with a jazz trio by the school year’s end.”
Michelle Mailhot
Jazz Studies instructor - Valencia College, Orlando, FL

“Jason Smith's approach to teaching music is very clear and concise, and appeals to all learning types. It's easy to see he really is a professional at all that he does. I’ve studied at other schools and with other professors, and I don't believe I would have gotten such high level skills or the knowledge I received from Jason anywhere else. These skills will last a lifetime!”
Hannah Fearn, Winnipeg MB
Jazz Voice instructor - The School for Music Vocations, Creston, IA

“Simply, my current career as a musician and educator would not exist without Jason Smith. My high school did not have a music theory program and I didn’t play piano, read much music, or have any fundamental knowledge of harmony. Jason changed the trajectory of my career by absolutely kicking my butt (in a musical sense) for the first two years of college. He displays a mastery and overall command of harmony that, in practice, is designed to be highly functional in all styles of music. Pedagogically, he communicates the utmost importance of studying and performing music at the highest levels we are personally capable of, while constantly wrapping each topic in his endless sense of humor. He never allowed me to get away with a moment of laziness as a musician, a life skill that is remembered and upheld daily. Without Jason’s instruction I would have spent tens of thousands of dollars and many additional years trying to catch up to my peers. He gave me the necessary tools, skillsets, and work habits that, with continued study, lead to a successful career in music. If you have the opportunity to work with him, do not hesitate. It is 100% worth your time.”
Ian Brekke
Director of Choral and Vocal Studies and Music Technology Coordinator - Los Positas College, Livermore, CA

“My success, both as a professional musician and as an educator, can be traced directly back to my time working with Jason Smith at the School for Music Vocations.  His method of teaching every aspect of the music skill set to all students will allow you to become the best musician you can be. I wholeheartedly recommend Jason Smith as an educator, musician and mentor to anyone who is fortunate enough to work with him.”
Ellen Winters-Reynolds
Jazz vocalist and teacher, Milwaukee, WI

"Jason taught me practical harmony, keyboard, and arranging skills that I still use today in my writing and performance. They're tools I wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn in a traditional University setting. Through his instruction I found myself capable of things I never thought possible. He encouraged me to believe in myself, and kept me laughing along the way.”
Matthew Wright
Private piano instructor, keyboardist/vocalist - Euforquestra, Fort Collins, CO

“Jason Smith is one of the most influential music teachers of my life. He has dedicated his life to teaching and has a way of connecting musically with a student to bring out beyond their best. As an educator and professional musician myself now, I am using the lessons he taught daily. Jason teaches not just about playing music but also going beyond the page in terms of creating connections using music.”  
Kris Werner
Director of Music - Sardis Secondary School, Chilliwack, B.C. CA

“Jason Smith’s method of teaching music theory was the perfect synthesis of the abstract and the practical. It helped instill within me a deep intuition about melody and harmony that was crucial in my development as a musician.”
Andrew Hohne
Photonics Engineer, AdvR Inc. Keyboardist for the bands Skavocado and Solidarity Service, Bozeman, MT

“If you’re working with Jason, expect to learn a lot about the fundamentals of music and have a lot of fun doing it! Jason helps make music accessible to everyone while still challenging you to become the best musician you can be!”
Alison Kennedy
Associate of Applied Arts - The School for Music Vocations, Lawyer for the government of Canada, residing in Ottawa, ON, CA

“After completing a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from a highly regarded conservatory, I received a graduate position within Jason’s program at SWCC in 2008-2009. Although my grades and participation in courses in my undergrad were high, studying with Jason help me to reinforce my musical foundation in terms of music theory, arranging, rehearsal techniques/conducting, and ear training abilities. After an intensive year with Jason and the faculty, I had the skills to perform and stay employed! Jason brings humor, intensity, incredible knowledge and musical depth to the lesson. The students of his program while I was there have an impressive professional resume over the last ten years! Unique to each student, we all came out with a strong foundation to pursue opportunities that arose, in addition to opportunities we created.”
Carmen Pekarek
Vocalist - U.S. Air Force ’09 -’18, current member of Richmond Symphony Chorus, Richmond, VA

“I've known Jason since the summer of 2007, and have worked with him in classroom settings as well as one-on-one settings for Theory, Jazz Keyboard, Arranging, Conducting, Vocal Jazz Groups, and Mass Choirs. His hands-on approach to learning helped me a lot over the years! He made learning music fun and easy to remember, while pushing me to do better, and ultimately promoting growth in my musical abilities. He always believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. He never gave up on me when I was frustrated, or upset that I "couldn't" do it. If I wasn't so far away, I'd ask for private lessons again! Jason is an amazing teacher and coach, and I highly recommend him.”
Olivia Olmsted
Associate of Applied Arts - The School for Music Vocations, Consumer Experience Manager for Hansel Honda, Petaluma, CA

“Jason cared more than most teachers I've known. Although I had struggles with self-discipline and keeping myself motivated, he did his best to never let me fall behind and to remind me of my talent and potential when I had forgotten. The things I learned in his jazz keys and rehearsal techniques classes are all things I carry with me as I write and perform my own music today, and lead the bands that play with me. I'm grateful to have had him as a teacher, and as a mentor.”
Priscilla Perry
Jazz/R&B singer/songwriter, Los Angeles, CA

“After my undergrad I had the opportunity to study with Jason Smith and I can honestly say that I learned more in that year than in the previous four. Jason's approach to teaching is both thorough and succinct and above all emphasizes becoming a well-rounded musician. Studying with Jason greatly improved my ability to hear music and understand what it is I am hearing, as well as how to create it and produce music, whether on the page or on an instrument. He also has a way of instilling in his students the importance of developing a strong work ethic, while maintaining a lighthearted approach to studying, so that they may have the necessary tools to ultimately share their deep love for music with the world.”
Dan Thatcher
Jazz bassist/free lance musician, Chicago, IL

“Jason’s humor and enthusiasm are appealing to students of any age. He truly knows how to motivate and make those who have hearts for music even BIGGER hearts for music. I have personally witnessed and experienced these things for myself under his instruction of music courses such as theory, jazz piano, and chamber choir, and have seen his impact on just about anyone he comes in contact with.”
Lance Bird
Singer/Songwriter, Winterset, IA

"Jason makes learning music not just fun, but also fulfilling. He takes you from simply enjoying music to embracing it. During my time learning from him, he taught me how to sing, write music, play jazz keys, and so much more. My personal goal was to learn to conduct the choir. When it came time to learn it, he taught all of us how to express our emotions through our movements. The choir would then emulate those same emotions as they sang. The passion that Jason has for music and his students' willingness to succeed is unparalleled.”
Lukes Stogsdill
Associate of Applied Arts - The School for Music Vocations, Supervisor - Allied Universal Security Services, Overland Park, KS

“At age 40 I went back to college at SWCC in Creston, IA, where Jason was the program administrator. Despite having sung, played multiple instruments, and written music for over 20 years, Jason helped me discover how much of the music world I was still unfamiliar with. While “slaving over a hot piano,” I quickly absorbed invaluable music theory that led to an increased ability to write and perform at a more professional level. In Jason’s choir I learned what intense self-discipline and time management means, which I now apply with my choir members. I would highly recommend taking individual or small group lessons from Jason. He not only understands the scope of music backwards and forwards, from classical training to jazz training, but also has an innate ability to assess a student’s specific needs and effectively tailor teaching and experiences to suit that person’s goals. Due to Jason’s instruction, I was able to jumpstart a new career in teaching, bringing up bands, and writing music instructional books for kids through adults. I would not be here without it. (P.S. It’s worth taking the time to learn about Jason’s career in music.)”
Todd Dicks
Founder, vocalist/instrumentalist for the band Overflow, Lenox, IA

"Jason possesses many qualities which make him a superb music instructor. His knack for deconstructing, analyzing, and recreating complex musical figures, his comfort with theoretical frameworks of multiple genres and styles, and his extensive repertoire build a solid foundation for a comprehensive learning experience. However, it is his eccentric and personable nature, his passion for music, and his ability to motivate, inspire, and connect with students which makes Jason a truly excellent teacher.”
Naomi Swanson
Music Therapy intern at Fairview Hospital, Minneapolis, MN

I was only in Jason’s group for one academic year (’88/’89), but I remember it fondly. He took over for a director on sabbatical and had basically no carryover from the prior year; he had to start from scratch and he did. He wrote us a bunch of brilliant arrangements; found us an awesome band to accompany us; and quickly turned us into a group that brought welcoming smiles from the audiences everywhere he took us. You would be hard-pressed to find a guy who is more devoted to the music, to developing the craftsmanship required to do it well, or to his students’ success. And what’s equally important is he knew how to take us from where we were to where he knew we could go. It was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” 
Rich Berlin
Bachelor of Arts in Voice - Stanford University, currently residing in Campbell, CA

“Working with Jason Smith both in a private lesson setting and in the classroom equipped me with the skills needed to pursue my goals as a musician.  From analyzing Bach Chorales to re-harmonizing vocal jazz charts; from playing classical piano to jazz piano and improvising, Jason was able to guide me and provide me with the knowledge I needed to continue on to get my Bachelors, and Masters in Jazz Studies and Commercial music. Since then, I have 2 original albums and a Christmas album out, and sing in a jobbing band in Chicago.”
Andrea Amos
Piano/voice/violin instructor, freelance musician, Chicago, IL

“Jason's skill and years of performance really work together to create a fantastic and unique learning experience. He worked with me on all aspects of Jazz piano by breaking down chords to understand the sound as a whole. He includes real life examples of how and when things you learn are applicable in writing, singing, or playing, shaping you into a well rounded musician.”
Rachel McElwain
Accounts Manager - Brokerage Solutions at Nationwide, Des Moines, IA

“Many years ago, I studied with Jason Smith, while attending the School for Music vocations in Creston, IA. While I have had many music teachers over the years, the time I spent learning with Jason has been among the most valuable experiences of my life. Whether you are looking to improve your understanding of jazz theory, expand your abilities as a music arranger, learn jazz keyboarding skills, want assistance in directing a vocal ensemble, or just want to become a better overall musician, Jason’s experience in the music industry and with music education will be an incredible asset to your growth. He has a way of making complex subjects seem easy and will help you step out of your comfort level. The lessons I learned under his tutelage I have carried with me for the last twenty years and I would not trade them for anything. If you are considering studying with Jason, I cannot recommend him more highly.
John Cecil
Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition - Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL., member of Des Moines Choral Society, Des Moines, IA

”Jason Smith is a major reason I took a hard right into music instead of acting. He's able to tackle complex musical problems in a creative way and convey that to his students with an easily-accessible structured plan. He has a long history of professional performance, giving him insight into what it takes to realize a successful musical career.
Jeff Bratz
Los Angeles based musician, lead singer - RaDIUM, founder of theThe Main Street Caroling Company

“Jason Smith is an outstanding singer, musician, and vocal coach! If you have the chance to study and spend time with him, you are one lucky singer!!!”
Mike Campbell
Professional Jazz Vocalist and Educator, Los Angeles, CA

“After receiving my Bachelor of Music degree in voice, I went on to hone my skills further at SWCC with Jason Smith. I can honestly say that I learned more about music in my two years there than at any other time in my musical life. The practical skills I gained have been invaluable to my professional life. Jason was a major part of that.”
Mary Mowers
Ensembles Library Assistant - Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY

“Jason Smith brings years of experience as a teacher & performer to his approach to teaching which is direct & no nonsense.  When I was his student everything he taught had a clear line to improving my understanding & skills to prepare me for a life in music.“
Tim Bulkley
Professional drummer, San Francisco Bay Area

“I took a jazz keyboard class with Jason Smith. When we started, I did not know where middle C was located on the piano. By the end of the semester, I had the fastest progressions in the class! Jason saw my potential and coached me to success. His patience, guidance and good humor enabled me to develop my fundamental piano skills far beyond my expectations.”
Ethan Snedigar
Professional drummer, Daphne Alabama

“I’ve known Jason Smith for approximately 20 years. Our first meeting was at a Phil Mattson Jazz Workshop where I was lucky enough to have him as a vocal coach. I later studied at The School for Music Vocations in Creston, Iowa where Jason was a well respected and beloved faculty member. Jason has the rare and unique quality of being able to work with a person and help them enhance a deeper sense of meaning in their life through music. He was the first teacher in my life who actually made music theory fun. He has so much to offer to any student who is ready to learn. If you are that student then the teacher for you is Jason.” 
Paige Peter
Visual Artist/Painter, Toluca Lake, CA

“I had an undergraduate degree when I met Jason and yet I gained a mountain of knowledge and skill. I found his spirit and drive to be an inspiration to me, even when I was not having the best of days. A wonderful mentor and teacher.”
Rob Glass
Bachelor of Arts in Music Education - Wartburg College, currently residing in Minneapolis, MN

“I can’t recommend Jason Smith highly enough. He is a tough teacher because he refuses to lower the bar. He inspires you to rise up to the challenge. His humor and genuine concern for his students’ learning make those challenges less of a struggle. The countless hours of learning and practicing was invaluable. I learned so much from him about music, and myself. As an alum of the SWCC music dept., I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be his student. He’s had a huge impact on my life!”
Vivian Cleveland-Severn
Bachelor of Arts in Music Education - Eastern Michigan University

“Jason has an infectious creative energy that makes learning seem natural and a teaching style that pushes you to believe you're always capable of more. He's a brilliant character  who  gets Joy from people finding and enhancing their own creative expression. I highly recommend him to the highest bidder.”
Annelise Marrone
Choral Director - Holy Family Catholic High School, Victoria, MN

“Everything I have learned about music theory, playing jazz piano, singing and arranging vocal jazz has come from Jason Smith. His concepts on how to study and apply music has stayed with me throughout the years!”
Jeff Hawk
Drummer/singer for the band Urban Legend, Worship leader at First Baptist, Grundy Center, IA

“Jason takes a hands on approach when teaching jazz piano and will settle for nothing but your best. As director he pushed my musicianship to the next level and refused to allow for any shortcuts. Jason will call you out if you’re not prepared and show praise when you go above and beyond. Without Jason’s mentorship I wouldn’t be where I am in the music industry today.”
Chassion Rice
Singer/song writer, founding member of the band - Digital Cassette, Chicago, IL

“Jason really, truly cares about music and the people close to him who make it. His wisdom and his attitude have shaped my musicianship more than any book, course, or class could have come close to.” 
Nicholas Rohr
Associate of Applied Arts - The School for Music Vocations, Quotation Specialist - Electronics, residing in Portland, OR