Biography and Musical 'Pedigree'

I was born in Los Angeles and lived there and in New York City before moving to London in 1996. I played various instruments in my childhood and adolescence (piano the longest), but in early adolescence decided on drums. As a drummer in my early twenties, I met (through my tenor sax-player brother Teo) and began many years of study with the renowned jazz tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, who during the 1940s' bebop era (lead by Charlie Parker) was a student, and soon also performing colleague, of the famously innovative (and blind) jazz pianist and music teacher Lennie Tristano.  (Lennie is probably the first teacher of jazz to progress his students' (and his own) musicianship with methods based solely in jazz and the requirements of virtuoso improvising, i.e. devoid of all but the most fundamental of western classical music pedagogical traditions.)  I stopped playing drums around 1980 and committed to the piano a few years later, continuing with Marsh until his death in December 1987, after which I am self-taught.


Lennie's, and especially Warne's, teaching vision, philosophy, methods and practical exercises form the basis of my own one–to–one teaching.  However, details of the curricula and practical exercises I set for students are my own design – and their variety is expanding, thanks to the growing mix and differentiation of students I've been fortunate to teach.  In addition, these elements of my practice have been enriched by the teacher training I've undertaken (see my qualifications), which of course is on-going.


Since 2000, along with teaching music and other subjects in a variety of contexts that includes colleges, primary and secondary schools and private teaching, I perform in London as a jazz pianist.  In addition to performing, composing and teaching, I have created many resources for teaching and learning in music, and these include extensive practical guidelines for self-led musical development (as yet unpublished).


To support myself prior to 2000, I had a mix of professional careers.  First, I trained and then worked for about ten years as a computer systems analyst, programmer and consultant in both Los Angeles and London.  A few years before moving to London, I achieved the USA's highest piano tuner–technician certification (RPT) and then managed my own such business for about five years, first in LA and then in London.  After this, I trained and committed to teaching and performing.


I hope this has been helpful and encouraging.  If you have any questions or wish to enquire about lessons,

I'd be very pleased to hear from you (020 8530-0710 / 07985 763-072),

Claude Alexander


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Copyright 2017 Claude Alexander – All rights reserved.