Can I visit the
studio and observe a class?
Sometimes I will allow someone I’ve accepted into
the program who hasn’t yet begun classes to observe,
but generally I don’t permit observation. If I did,
there would be spectators at most classes and I believe
it would be a distraction for my students. Also, I’m
not comfortable using my current students as recruitment
tools for prospective students.
How long does this
The professional certificate takes two years to complete
and the artist diploma takes an additional year.
Would I still be
able to continue afterwards if I so desired?
Sure. I had only five years of study with my most valued
teacher and I would have studied five more if I had the
chance. With that said, I don’t want to prepare you
to be a career student. I want to see my students become
professional players or at least be able to play on par
with professionals, should they decide to choose another
How old do I have
The youngest person ever accepted into the studio was Lee
Dynes at 13 years old, but that was unusual. Typically,
high school age is acceptable. Most of our students range
in age from 18 to 27, with a few in their 30s and above.
How advanced are
We run the gamut of advancement. Level one begins simply,
probably analogous to a high school theory course, except
that there is a heavy concentration on jazz theory, history,
style and interpretation. (See the Admissions
page) Levels two through four (maybe five, depending on
the school) are comparable to an undergraduate jazz degree’s
level of advancement. Level five and certainly level six
are comparable to a graduate level jazz degree’s level
of advancement. The real challenge lies in the pace at which
we progress. You don’t have to begin with much knowledge,
but you do have to keep up, as it really is an accelerated
program. It’s certainly doable, but not without your
best efforts. Also, assistants are available at an additional
cost to offer tutoring for those who feel they would benefit
from some additional as-needed help.
When do classes
We begin a class when there are enough interested students
to warrant it. Generally, the number of students required
is between seven and twelve, depending on the instrumentation
represented. It doesn’t take more than a couple of
months for a new class to begin.
Can I enter an ongoing
Possibly, depending on your skill level. Generally, though,
I would temporarily require that either we meet for private
lessons, or that you meet with an assistant, to ensure there
are no parts missing in your education.
much practicing will be expected of me?
It depends on your goals. If you’re looking to play
professionally, expect to practice a lot. Of course, as
you advance, your practice time needs to increase accordingly.
If you’re in high school, college or are employed
full time, at least two hours daily is expected, with occasional
exceptions. If you’re in your post high school years
and this is your primary focus, three to six hours daily.
Clearly, any serious profession requires an investment of
time. It’s not likely you’ll become an engineer,
an architect, a lawyer, a doctor, an investor, etc., without
investing at least the amount time mentioned above to learn
your profession. Music is a difficult and competitive profession.
You’ll work hard.
Because of the level
of expectation, can the atmosphere be too harsh or critical?
This isn’t easy to answer. Of course, I wouldn’t
say the atmosphere is too harsh or critical and certainly
my students agree, otherwise they wouldn’t be here,
but here’s the caveat: I can offer a similar critique
in an identical tone to two students and each may receive
it very differently. Some students don’t like being
told what’s wrong and how to correct it. Some do.
I always did. It’s how you improve.
I guess I’ve never
understood why some students want to hear how wonderful
or special they are. It’s my view that genuine self
confidence is the result of accomplishment, not its cause.
That doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge that success
begets success. Certainly a positive cycle of accomplishment,
confidence, accomplishment, confidence, etc. should exist.
But confidence without accomplishment (i.e. overconfidence)
can be dangerously self-crippling. Pride can be the enemy
I can be demanding, but
my students know where my heart lies. They know it’s
never my intent to be disrespectful or unkind, but rather
to help them advance and grow. After all, that’s why
they come. When they do well, I tell them. Then it means
something. For more insight, read my students’ testimonials.
Will all my instruction
be with Eric Zadan?
I either teach or supervise all classes and combos. Occasionally,
a qualified assistant
who has advanced in my program will teach an individual
class or a combo. In these instances, I always prepare the
assistant with a plan and follow up with a discussion afterwards
the studio basically Eric Zadan?
In the same way Berklee was once Lawrence Berk, then Lee
Berk, yes. So now is an excellent time to study here, before
tuition multiplies by a factor of 13, which is how Berklee’s
tuition for 2008 compares with the Jazz Arts Studio’s
tuition for 2008.
“Berklee, a nonprofit
institution, was founded by pianist/arranger and MIT- trained
engineer Lawrence Berk in 1945 as Schillinger House of Music.
Berk changed the name to Berklee School of Music in 1954,
and the school granted its first bachelor's degrees in 1966.
In 1973, Berklee obtained its accreditation, and the school's
name was changed to Berklee College of Music.”
More importantly, my philosophy
of music and of developing musicians pervades every aspect
of the Jazz Arts Studio. On those occasions when an assistant
presents material, you can be sure he has invested heavily
in his own musicianship guided by my instruction.
you offer placement tests?
I will have an opportunity to evaluate your level of advancement
at our first meeting. There are still many classes in Level
One that I would like all of my students to attend,
but we can take a closer look at it on a case-by-case basis.
Is the Jazz Arts
Not currently, but I’m exploring it. The process is
lengthy and I’m still weighing its value. Currently
both a Professional Certificate and an Artist Diploma are
available from the Jazz Arts Studio, but no accredited degrees
are offered. There’s more on that topic on the
Will I have performance
Plenty. There are several “in-house” performance
opportunities and, depending on your level of advancement,
there may be several opportunities to perform in public
as well. I can’t guarantee that you will be provided
with gigs, but historically the advanced students in the
studio tend to gig a lot.
I'm a drummer. How
are things different for me?
It depends on your musical and theoretical experience. Drummers
are always encouraged to learn as much as any other instrumentalist.
The more complete you are as a musician, the more you bring
to every musical setting. Starting with Level Two, nearly
every class is a combination of a classroom setting followed
by a combo. Drummers are required to attend all combos in
addition to a minimum of 9 (of 23) weeks of all classes
in Level One, 9 (of 23) weeks of classes which precede combos
in Level Two, 15 (of 23) weeks of preceding classes in Level
Four and all preceding classes in Level Six. During Level
One, participation in at least one of the studio’s
combos is required as soon as permission is given to do
so. It is not unusual, at first, for a drummer to receive
private instruction from a recommended teacher or other
preparatory methods for a few weeks so as to prepare for
successful combo participation.
Will I need to bring
an amp, a keyboard or a drum kit? What’s provided?
A grand piano, amps, a drum kit and a quality P.A. system
are provided on site. You will need instrument cables.
Is there a cliquish
atmosphere due to the disparity of skill levels?
There are no social strata here decided by musical skills.
Students here have historically been very eager to help
each other throughout all levels of advancement. That’s
a kinship I foster and encourage. Even if a student were
prone to cliquish or condescending behavior, I would never
allow it as I don’t want “star mentalities,”
just excellent musicians.
Can you guarantee
that I will have a career in music?
No, of course not. Nobody can guarantee that. However, I
can assure you that you will either have “what it
takes” and that you will develop the skills necessary
for a music career OR you won’t be permitted to continue,
wasting time and money in the process. However, know that
beyond your control or mine lay many variables, such as
market conditions, which will play a role in your career.
What do you look
for in determining whether I am prepared to enter the studio?
There are several things. First, you must meet the prerequisites
for level one as detailed on the admissions page. Along
with those are your attitude, goals and your history of
organization and achievement. I also look for someone who
is willing to be a positive addition to his peer group.
Finally, remember the old
adage, “The more you know, the more you realize you
don’t know,” or, if you prefer, “The greater
the sphere of your knowledge, the greater the perimeter
of the unknown” – take your pick. You’re
not coming here to prove anything. You’re coming here
to learn. To quote Jack Nicholson’s character in The
Departed, “Act accordingly.”
What if I don’t
know anything about Jazz, but have played other styles of
Many of us, including myself, started out in the same boat.
You’re welcome here.
What will I be
asked to play during the meeting and how should I prepare?
I’ll ask you to play anything you know and are comfortable
with. It doesn’t have to be in the jazz idiom. You’re
not trying to impress me. You’re giving me a chance
to learn about your playing. Usually, I don’t ask
to hear more than a relatively short example. I’m
interested in talking with you as much as I am listening
to you play. You shouldn’t be nervous. My goal is
to help you in whatever way I can. Other than being “in
practice,” there’s nothing special you can do
to prepare. The most important thing to remember is not
to put it off until you think you are ready. The time you
spend preparing for an audition may be much better spent
How much time is
devoted to the initial meeting?
It can vary wildly, depending on the skill and experience
of each prospective student. Initial meetings have been
as brief as 20 minutes and as lengthy as more than 2 hours.
To be safe, please allow 1 hour. Should it be necessary
for us to talk more than our time allows, we can explore
scheduling additional time.
Location & Access
How easy is it
to get to the studio?
As we’re located in downtown Dayton, we’re just
a couple of minutes from all area highways such as I-75,
Rt. 35, Rt. 4, etc.
What's parking like?
Since all classes and combos are held in the evening, parking
isn’t a problem. The metered parking spaces on S.
Saint Clair St. are free after 6 p.m. and there is a parking
lot across the street which is also available for free in
the evening hours.
Is downtown safe?
Safer than many perceive, but as with any area where people
congregate, caution is always advised. I’ve been located
downtown since 1996 and my students have encountered very
few difficulties while attending the studio, none serious.
Is the Building
that houses the Jazz Arts Studio Safe?
Very. It’s a secure building which requires a pass
code to gain entrance. Every student is provided with a
studio like inside?
I’m a little compulsive, so the studio always looks
very nice. It’s spacious, clean and very, very organized.
Also, the configuration of the space lends itself perfectly
to our needs as it was remodeled to my specifications in
2004. For pictures of the studio, visit the Facility
What is the
history of the Jazz Arts Studio? How long has it been around?
On February 1, 1995, after more than 15 years of playing
professionally and teaching jazz improvisation, I opened
the Zadan Piano & Jazz Improvisation Studio in the Executive
Building on West Dorothy Lane in Kettering. On April 1st
of 1996 I relocated the studio to a more spacious site on
the 9th floor of the Fidelity Plaza Building in downtown
Dayton and it was soon after renamed the Jazz Arts Studio.
On April 1, 2004, I relocated the studio again to a much
larger space at its current location, 17 S. Saint Clair
Q & A with Eric
Do you play in
public anymore? Where can I hear you?
I do occasionally play gigs. However, I find every bit as
fun and fulfilling to play in the studio, either by myself,
with the more advanced students or with other invited guests.
I began gigging in the late 70s and I’ve played thousands
of them. Now I tend to choose which ones I think I will
enjoy. I do like to bring a group into Gilly’s now
and then and I still play private engagements, mostly corporate
events. If I’m planning to play publicly, you’ll
see mention of it on the Events/Media