Award-winning pianist, composer, and educator Jason Yeager creates music that is deeply expressive and multifaceted, defying convention while reveling in the traditions of jazz, blues, 20th-century classical music, and Latin American folk rhythms. He has released five albums of original music to wide acclaim, most recently New Songs of Resistance (2019) and All at Onceness (2018). Yeager's album, United (2017), co-produced with String Department faculty member Jason Anick and recorded on a Faculty Development Grant at Berklee, was named a Best Album of 2017 by DownBeat magazine. He was a finalist in the 2019 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition and the 2017 International Songwriting Competition, and won the 2014 Hot House Jazz Fans Decision Awards for best pianist.
As both a bandleader and sideman, Yeager has performed at such venues as Birdland, the Blue Note, and Smalls Jazz Club in New York City; and the Regattabar in Boston. He has performed abroad at festivals, clubs, and concert halls in Panama, the Dominican Republic, China, and Costa Rica. As an educator, he endeavors to teach to each individual student's needs and interests, balancing the learning of fundamental musical skills with creative approaches to developing one's personal style. A member of the Berklee faculty since 2012, he graduated with honors from the Tufts University and New England Conservatory's double degree program and holds a Master of Music from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
"My approach to teaching is both flexible and disciplined. I like to find out what students are into musically, what their backgrounds are, and what they would like to achieve. It’s important to master fundamentals like good rhythm, groove, strong ears, and a good understanding of harmony, melody, and form, regardless of style or genre. But I want to connect these skills with each student’s individual interests and inclinations."
"I give my students very specific things to work on, exercises and methods to help them develop certain skills. But these almost always involve improvisation and creativity. It’s not just rote playing or memorization of patterns. I want to maintain that sense of creative discovery and the process of finding one’s own voice—as a player, improviser, and composer. The main question I want to help my students explore is, 'How do you take these tools and use them to express your feelings, your thoughts, and your place in the world in a musical way?'"
"The best teachers I had opened my ears and my mind to new possibilities, and I want to do this for my students. I want them to feel inspired and excited about practicing. Not that it’s a chore, but that it is part of furthering their creative goals. If I can do that, they will be much more excited to practice, and the lessons will be more relevant."
"It is important for students to really listen to their sound. It’s easy to think, 'I just press a note, and if it is a good piano, it will sound good.' But it’s much more than that. I coach students on their physical approach—the posture and positioning of their hands, arms, legs, where they sit, and so on. I want students to develop a good, personal sound on the piano, staying true to their musical personalities, while avoiding injury and strain."
"I am primarily a jazz pianist, but I’ve studied and continue to play classical music, and I’ve played in rock groups. I don’t feel the need to segregate genres. The Piano Department is incredibly varied, with working professionals from all fields of music. I’m really excited by that, and I hope my students are, too."