Jan Jurchak – Piano Teacher

Jan Jurchak

Jan Jurchak


B.A Music and Modern Studies, Bard College

Classical, Jazz

I teach piano, specializing in technique, jazz theory, and composition. I bring over five years of teaching experience and a lifetime of musical study into every lesson, and with this foundation I am able to tailor lesson plans to suit the individual needs and inclinations of any student. I began my career in the arts as a sound designer at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY, and after spending ages 11-16 working in the theater, I went on to receive my BA in Music and Modern Studies from Bard college at age 20. After graduating, I lived in Los Angeles for three years, teaching piano and composing film scores. In 2020 I relocated back to the east coast, and have been based in South Philly ever since.

When did you begin playing Piano, and why?

I began playing piano at age 4 when I started lessons. My parents are artists, my dad a musician, so when they saw I had an inclination to make music they signed me up!

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?

The only other traditional instrument I play is tenor saxophone, but in addition to acoustic music I’m also well versed in electronic music, beat production and sound design. I’ve created surround-sound scores for experimental animation pieces, produced too many beat tapes to count, and I continue to work with electronics in my own work.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

My personal goal as a musician is to cultivate the listening abilities of those around me by providing opportunities to listen better. My hope is that if we all can listen better, we will be more sensitive to one another, and perhaps learn more about how to coexist. 

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?

I’ll never forget studying renaissance counterpoint in college and, after a few weeks of working through difficult and abstract exercises, hearing a chamber piece by Brahms. It was as if I’d never heard these twelve notes before! I felt like I could see each line of music, and knew what notes would come next. Counterpoint became one of the most important musical topics I’d ever study.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?

My mentor used to say “practice makes permanent,” in contrast to practice makes perfect. He is right, practice will solidify anything you’re repeating, even if it’s the wrong thing!

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument

It is very challenging to be in a place where your theory outpaces your technique. It is frustrating to know intellectually what you want to do, but not have the technical ability to execute just yet. The only thing to do is stay humble and keep practicing!

What is your biggest musical achievement?

My biggest musical achievement is certainly still to come, but for the moment my book of original jazz compositions is something I’m very proud of.

Favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is going “under the hood” of a piece of music- that is, asking “how?” How does this piece achieve the effect it has? How do each of the small elements combine to create something much greater? Putting music theory to use to figure out how music is able to make us feel things fascinates me.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?

A piece of advice- listening is the most important thing. Being present with the sound and being focused are far more valuable than any element of technique or theory.

Personal music projects:

Philly Music Lessons specializes in connecting students of all ages and skill levels with great teachers in the Philadelphia and Main Line areas.