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   The goal of empowering students to constant, focused improvement by means of a self-directed form of musical study and enlightenment is what distinguishes Carmen Spada as a unique, innovative, and motivated educator in the
world of jazz and contemporary music.

     By rooting his pedagogy in the assimilation of the organization, construction and vocabulary of jazz music, Carmen has enjoyed a long history of teaching various concepts throughout numerous styles of music, due to the extensiveness of his jazz education. His methods foster creativity and self-expression, and have shaped the musical voices of hundreds of students. He is committed to directing his students towards listening, performing, and creating on an organized, focused level, where the music itself  becomes the educator, thus fostering a holistic, self-directed, and lifelong form of study, as well as a personal relationship with the art form.

     Carmen boasts a successful online private teaching studio, which currently features students from Canada, USA, Europe and Asia. He teaches live through multiple cameras, ensuring optimal views, and is available for private instruction, group lectures, clinics and masterclasses. Students have access to an online classroom where they can reference JPEG, PDF, and MP3 resources, as well as recordings of previous lessons and classes.

     Areas of study include:

  • Piano (jazz, all contemporary styles)

      -left-hand voicings, chord construction,

       block chords, walking bass lines,

       stride piano, comping, solo piano


  • Accordion (world and folk music)

      -piano accordion, Stradella bass only

  • Theory

      -all major, minor scales, key

       signatures, triads, 7th chords,

       intervals, cadences, note values,

       rests, simple time, compound time

  • Harmony (classical, jazz, all contemporary styles)

      -Bach chorale style featuring all

       diatonic, secondary dominant

       diminished 7th, augmented 6th, and

       flat supertonic chords

      -Great American Songbook analysis

       featuring II-V based progressions

       and variations, secondary dominants,

       tritone substitute dominants,

       octatonic scale, augmented scale,

       synthetic scales, diminished chord

       reharmonization, major, harmonic 

       and melodic minor modes, tonic

       systems, modal interchange, hybrid

       chords, polychords, harmony/melody


  • Ear Training

      -movable "Doh', interval recognition,

       intervallic singing, harmonic/melodic

       transcription, harmonic/melodic


  • Improvisation (jazz, all contemporary styles)

      -chord tone soloing, scale tone soloing,

       chromatic approach devices, motivic

       development, ensemble playing, free

       playing, repertoire assimilation

  • Composition (jazz, all contemporary styles)

      -AABA forms and variations, Blues

       forms and variations, through

       composed and variations, free form

       and variations, metric and mixed 

       meter variations

  • Arranging (jazz, all contemporary styles)

      -instrument range and modulation,

       drop voicings, spread voicings, 

       cluster voicings, quartal voicings,

       pandiatonicism, constant structure,

       reharmonization techniques, line

       writing, arranging techniques for

       big band, jazz orchestra and various

       jazz ensembles, music copying,

       Sibelius and Finale layout

  • Songwriting/Lyric Writing

      -verse, chorus, bridge analysis and 

       construction, form analysis,

       rhyming schemes and variations,

       co-writing techniques, studio

       recording techniques, Logic Pro X

       production and editing

  • Audition Preparation

      -preparing students in all requirements

       for secondary, post-secondary and

       professional auditions.

     Carmen is currently a featured educator at, and has been recognized in the "Best of Thumbtack" music education category in both 2015 & 2016. His students have furthered their studies at institutions such as Berklee College of Music, University of Toronto, York University, and Humber College.

     Additionally, in 2014, Carmen was appointed an Alumni Ambassador for Berklee. He represents Berklee at college fairs and active recruitment opportunities, as well as mentoring and teaching the Berklee core curriculum of Harmony and Ear Training to inquiring and potential students. Annually, Carmen is the featured adjudicator in the pop and jazz sections at the Davenport Festival of Music in Toronto, and previously resided as a Sessional Lecturer in jazz piano instruction at the University of Guelph.

     For inquiries about studying with Carmen Spada or about his approach to pedagogy, please click HERE to submit your inquiry.

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