Janice Bastien

Jazz Studies Program
MTAC Teacher

I've been taking lessons from Rob since about March of last year. I'm a church keyboard/piano/synth musician as well (I don't do vocals kudos to you!). My husband leads our worship team, and I plan the musical part of the worship service (picking worship songs, putting the order of service together, etc.). I'm also classically trained and belong to the Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC) where I'm very active. Rob came to one of our meetings and demonstrated out of one of his books for getting kids started in jazz. He had an opening for a student, and my husband strongly encouraged me to start lessons. I've dabbled just a bit in jazz (jazz band in high school and college. No one ever showed me about chord voicings, so I mostly just guessed in that area. I knew the chords but not how to make them sound great). I'm always trying to better what I do at church, and jazz is one area where I am really lame, so this seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime!

As a teacher, Rob is very professional but very "down to earth." His method of teaching is tailored to meet each student's needs. Just having the chord voicing book is not enough (it's like trying to teach yourself piano). Rob knows how to present the material in a way you can easily understand. He not only teaches the voicings, but also shows you how to be creative rhythmically and how to integrate the voicings in the jazz standards. He's very patient, and his knowledge of jazz is endless (I've never met anyone of his caliber who could actually explain in a systematic manner how to improvise in jazz). He also has given me some of his own jazz etudes--they're awesome!

My husband has played lead alto sax in the Orange Coast College jazz band since 1984. He has known of Rob's work with his favorite sax artists, i.e. Eric Marienthal and others, and he thinks Rob is not only a great soloist but also is at the top of his game in the "comping" area!

I drive from Garden Grove (41 miles each way) once a week to my lessons, and, no matter what the traffic is like, the lessons are well worth the drive! I look forward to them each week. His lesson rate is extremely reasonable. My former classical teacher told me that when he was studying in Paris, about 15 years ago, he had to pay $400 per lesson. Can you believe that?

I hope you're able to have lessons with Rob. I think you'll be really happy if you do. I know I am!

Janice Bastien
MTAC Orange County West



Audio Sample:


Message from Rob:

Janice Bastien and I met at the Yamaha Music School in Fountain Valley when I was giving a workshop about jazz music to MTAC classical piano teachers. She purchased several of my books at that workshop-"Let's Play Jazz" for her students, and "Jazz Piano Voicings" for herself.

She started coming in for weekly lessons to learn how to play jazz piano since that is something she had always wanted to do but had not found a teacher or material that worked effectively for her. As a student, she grew rapidly using the material, and soon was playing the Blues well using the play along band tracks and other resources for jazz melody in "Blues Step by Step", She started tackling my "Jazz Piano Etudes" a few months ago, and has also begun learning how to play solo and duo piano as well. She could easily go play a jazz gig with a group now, and her study of jazz has made doing the modern church music at her church much easier. I have been happy to help her and her students gain insight into playing jazz correctly.