"There is no art without intention."

                                 - Duke Ellington


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 take?
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 profession.

How old do I have to be?
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 the classes?
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 begin?
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 level?
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.

How 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 of growth.

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 as well.

So, isn’t 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.

Do 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 Studio accredited?
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 Philosophy page.

Will I have performance opportunities?
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 music?
Many of us, including myself, started out in the same boat. You’re welcome here.

Initial Meeting

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 with guidance.

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 pass code.

What’s the 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 Tour page.

Studio History

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 Street.

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 page.