Jan Jurchak – Piano Teacher


Jan Jurchak


B.A Music and Modern Studies, Bard College

Classical, Jazz

Jan Jurchak is a jazz composer, hip hop producer, and piano teacher based in Philadelphia. Beginning with classical piano training in her home area of upstate New York, Jan worked as a theatrical sound designer before earning her BA in Music and Modern Studies from Bard College and beginning a teaching career that now spans seven years. Jan’s recent work as a composer has been heard in The Queen of Fenway Court at Gloucester Stage Company and the animated film The Final Exit of the Disciples of Ascencia by Jonni Phillips. Her current work includes collaborations with visionary New Jersey rapper Fatboi Sharif as well as new music for the Winton Street Group jazz ensemble, for whom she is cofounder, principal composer and pianist.

When did you begin playing Piano, and why?

I’ve been playing music my entire life. When I was a kid I started piano lessons to develop a natural gravitation I always had towards music and sounds. Both my parents are artists in their own right so there were always instruments and inspiration in the house.

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

I play tenor sax and make beats in addition to being a pianist and composer. Electronic music production, audio engineering and sound design have all been fields of mine for over ten years.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

Compose, produce and play as much dope original music as possible!

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

One moment I’ll never forget is being in a really great counterpoint class in college that really changed the way I practice music. This was the only time I’ve ever had really clear audiation, the ability to look at written music and hear it in your head.

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

My first 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! That’s where a good teacher can make a huge difference.

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 pieces for jazz quartet from the past year, having scored a full length animated film, and being a full-time artist.

Favorite thing about teaching?

I appreciate when students find ways to make an idea their own, and when they get curious enough to chase down a specific musical question they’ve never thought about before.

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

“we’re all funky” – Bootsy Collins

Personal music projects:

Winton Street Group jazz ensemble


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