Meet John Varn

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Genres: All Genres
Instrument: Piano
Specialties: Jazz, Pop, Songwriting
Available Days: Mondays in San Rafael

When booking a lesson with John, choose the San Rafael Location, then Piano Lessons, then choose the options for the lesson length you would like. Then choose "Pick a Staff Member first". 

Lesson Rates

30 min : $45
45 min : $65
60 min : $80

New Student Promo
John is offering a New Student Promo! After choosing your lesson day and time, proceed to checkout and choose the 4-pack of 30 minute lessons and use coupon code GET1FREE to receive 1 free lesson! Applicable to new students only and package must be paid in advance.

Meet John Varn

How did you get started in music?

I got started playing music at a pretty young age. I had a very musical family and there were always musical instruments around the house, guitars, pianos, brass... so when I started playing in elementary school band I had already messed around enough to have a basic idea of melody, notes, rhythms etc. I continued to play trumpet and piano in jazz band all the way through middle and high school, learning to read music as well as composition and technique.

What artist inspired you when you were first learning to play?

There have been many different artists that have had huge influential impacts on me throughout the years starting with Swing era jazz musicians like Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington, and then in High School it shifted to more rock and fusion artists like Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin ...things like that. Most recently I've been getting really into romantic era classical composers like Chopin and Liszt.

How long have you been playing?

I've been playing music in some capacity (school band etc.) for at least 18 years but have been studying seriously as pianist/keyboardist for about the last 10 years.

What is your favorite song to play right now?

My favorite tune to play right now would probably be 'Blue Rondo A la Turk' by Dave Brubeck, it has a really strange time signature and thick dense harmony but still retains a ton of swing and feel.

What is your favorite genre to play and why?

“I don't think I could ever pick just one genre! There are so many different styles and textures out there to experiment with.

What made you decide to start teaching?

I come form a family of teachers and educators (who happen to me musicians as well) so the jump to teaching came naturally. I've always really enjoyed communicating the ideas and concepts that inspire me to play music, sharing that feeling of discovery is a great experience for me.

What projects or bands are you involved in currently?

I play in a lot of bands! Here are some links:

Neal Schon Band, Take a Ride:

Vinyl Spectrum, Plush Interior:

Soul Pie, Butterflies:

Endoxi, Tightrope:

Crooked, Hardtimes:

What is the best advice you can give to a beginning player who is just starting?

The best advice I could give to a beginner would be to practice consistently. Cutting corners will always come back to get you, try to practice in smaller amounts BUT more frequently, like every other day for an hour rather than 5 hours once a week...improvement happens much quicker when practice becomes part of your routine.

What is the best advice you would give to an established player?

The best advice I would give to an experienced player is almost the same as it would be for a beginner! Whatever new concepts you're working with or even trying to make the things you already do even better, work on it consistently, build it as part of what you do on a daily basis and very quickly it will become a strong suit of yours...if you're only coming back to a new concept every so often it's much harder for it to sink in and become a comfortable part of your playing.

What is your “gigging” instrument and equipment and why?

I use a bunch of different keyboards and other equipment depending on which group or situation I'm playing in. My Nord Electro 4D is a great keyboard for anything “vintage keys” so piano, Rhodes, especially hammond organ sounds. I also love the Moog LP for analog synth, leads, bass etc. I also use lots of soft synths through an Apple program called MainStage which organizes all my 3rd party soft synths for live playing. And of course the go-to workstation, the Yamaha Motif which is perfect for doing almost anything in quick, easy-to-use format.

Need help booking a lesson? Email or call us at (415) 457-7600 x 104

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