James Baker is a dedicated keys player, a hard working and practicing musician, and passionate about sharing his skills with musicians of all ages and abilities.

James works with students to bring out their personal musicality, and to widen their musical horizons. Whilst he works with every student to develop a solid note reading literacy, there is a much heavier focus on musical principles – specifically the interaction of melody, harmony, and rhythm (the piano is one of the very few instruments that is capable of producing all three main elements of music simultaneously, and each need to be understood individually and collectively). In short, the focus is less on the “dots on the page”, and more on the “soul and feeling” of the music.

In addition to teaching piano, there is a heavy focus on composition and modern recording techniques. James’ studio is equipped with a permanently mic’d Yamaha U1 upright piano, Rode M1 for vocal/instrument recording, a Yamaha MOXF8 synthesizer, amongst an ever expanding range of strange and interesting keyboards, all running through the latest version of Logic Pro and Native Instruments Komplete 11.

Lessons, whilst limited, are available for beginner through to advanced players on a weekly basis throughout the school terms in his private studio, and on location at Mater Dei Catholic College and Kildare Catholic College
  • Chord theory and harmonic analysis
  • Modern improvisation and chord/scale relationships
  • Aural Skills – How to “play by ear”
  • Rhythmic Reading
  • Reading “beyond” written sheet music
  • Technique
  • Composition – Including arranging and recording on Logic Pro
  • Music Technology – DAW’s, VST’s, and Notation Programs including Garageband, Logic Pro X, Native Instruments Suite, iRealPro and Sibelius
  • Different approaches to modern keyboards:
    Piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Synth, Organ and Clavinet all require specific playing styles

As far as finger technique, mechanical skills, and scales go, nothing.

The difference is entirely in the mental approach, while classical musicians rely on written music, contemporary musicians rely on their own ear. What this means is, contemporary musicians can listen to a piece of music and work out the chord progression, rhythm, and melody in their mind, giving room to create music in the moment.

The key piece of the puzzle in contemporary music is chord theory, knowing exactly what a C, Gm, A7b9 is for example. The next step is “voicing” the chord, which notes of that chord are the most important, and in what order will they be played? How are you going to get to the next chord in the easiest way possible? Most music, both classical and contemporary, have particular “chord patterns” that are easy to pick apart once you begin to recognise the patterns.

Improvising also plays a huge part in contemporary music. I find most musicians that are scared of improvising seem to think that improvising is entirely based on “making things up on the fly”. The truth is, improvising is simply pulling together lots of different little ideas that have already been practiced, and piecing them together in the moment. In any improvised solo, only a small percentage will be “magic” that has happened for the first time in that very moment, every other piece of the puzzle is the result of practice, practice, practice.

In either approaching classical or contemporary music, two things remain the same, you must really listen to the music, and you must practice, practice, practice.

  • Certificate IV in Contemporary Music, NMIT
  • Working With Children Check
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Green Room Award for Musical Direction
  • Over 15 years experience in contemporary music as a live keyboardist, musical director, conductor, composer, and session musician

Studio Hours:

No current available slots, waiting lists apply

Monday: 4pm – 6pm
Tuesday: 4 – 8pm
Wednesday: 4 – 8pm
Thursday: 4 – 8pm
Friday: 4 – 6pm

School Hours:

Mater Dei Catholic College – Tuesday: By appointment
Kildare Catholic College – Wednesday: By appointment

Waiting List:

Please fill out the registration form below to register for the waiting list

Applicants will only be contacted if an available slot opens up

Lesson Rates:

30 min lesson: $35
60 min lesson: $65

Method Books: $12.99 (Charged when a new book is issued)
Adult Method Books: $29.95 (Charged when a new book is issued)
Practice Diary: $20 (Charged when a new book is issued)

Full term fees are required in advance, and can be made by Cash, Visa/Mastercard, Paypal, or bank deposit

Studio Policies:

The current studio polices on attendance, practice, and payment can be downloaded below



phone: 0408 318 653

email: james@jamesbakermusic.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/jamesbakermusic