passing it along

Whether it is the vitally important skills of creative problem solving and improvisation, the self-discipline and organization that is necessary for growth, or the pure joy that is felt when we collaborate with our peers - music is a vehicle through which we can become better people, not just players.  With a foundation of history, honesty, and humility, Benjamin hopes to empower his students with the broadest set of tools possible, so they can speak back to the world in their own way, with their own voice. 

What Folks think

"...[Ben is] patient, deeply knowledgeable about the bass and its history, and connected on an emotional level with me while infusing our lessons with great faith in my ability to improve, in spite of my lack of experience. 5 stars isn't enough!" (full testimonial
-- Christina Mitra 
Private Bass Student

"As for as music instructors go, Ben Lee is hands down at the top of the list. He has been instructing our son for 5 years now on upright bass and we've seen my sons technical abilities and music theory grow at an astonishing rate..." (full testimonial)

-- Johnny Jones
Student Parent

"...he's a wonderful person with a lot of empathy... an outstanding musician who deeply loves and understands his craft... [and is} a great TEACHER [who] curates the curriculum for my goals and gives me killer feedback... I feel seriously blessed to have found Ben and to be one of his students."  (full testimonial
-- Carol Tyger
Private Bass Student

"My efforts have been made much easier with the help and support of Benjamin Lee ... O-High's student jazz musicians are talented, hungry for knowledge,  and have directly benefitted from the excellent training [they] have received..." (full testimonial)
-- David Byrd, Oakland High School Music Director


 Private Lessons (2015-Present) 
Whether you are just starting out or trying to get to the next level in your gigging life, I am ready to develop a routine just for you.  I understand that learning styles vary, and engaging students within their preferred method is crucial to long term success.  

  • Ear trainingTo play well, one must listen well. Starting with music that is familiar and fun (before introducing new music from all over the world), I can teach you how to actively listen to and learn your favorite tunes.  Then I can help you take those skills to the bandstand by showing you simple ways to be a better bass player for any group. 
  • Honesty. It can a long time to learn how to sound like yourself.  Starting with practices designed to facilitate self discovery, mindfulness, and trust, I can help you to embrace your inner creative self and learn how to channel that energy through your instrument. 
  • TechniqueProper hand and finger technique for both hands is imperative for success. Using a diverse set of material and exercises, I can help you develop precision, tone, and dexterity for all your grooves. 
  • Theory. Key, scale, harmony, Dø7, marcato, chord, the ii, major, C9, simple meter, super locrian, A+7, the I, voice leading, dominant, lydian, diminished, ritardando, Eb13, tri-tone sub, syncopation, contrary motion, Gb-7(b13), the IV, guide tone, F#o7, augmented, notation, intervals, mixolydian, BΔ7#11, arpeggio, staccato, ta-va-ki-di-da-ma, the V, dorian, compound meter, FΔ/A, melodic minor, altered, minor, legato, E7#5#9, rubato, improvisation, and so much more. . .  Ever wanted to really dig into the language of notated music, and learn how all the concepts fit together in the real world? Want to know how you can use each of them to help write your own grooves? I can demystify the relationships between theory and reality, helping you to understand all the incredible tools that are at your fingertips. 
  • ReadingWhether you are learning new charts for your band, sight reading orchestral pieces, or composing your own music, I can show you tips and tricks to speed up comprehension of rhythm, time, chords, and melody. 
  • Musicianship. Want to be remembered by fellow musicians and the audience? I can teach you about client relations, stage presence, how to be useful to the sound engineer, how to work with other musicians, and how to increase your presence as a player or songwriter. 


The TOaG Jazz Clinics at Oakland High School (2018-Present)

  • Ben is honored to have partnered with Music Dept. Head David Byrd to establish a 8-part supplementary jazz clinic series that began in the Fall of 2018. To learn more about mission of this program, and learn how you can help us do our work, visit the TOaG Jazz Clinic page.

Faculty, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (2023-Present)

  • Mr. Lee is thrilled to join the star studded roster of faculty at this landmark cultural institution based in Richmond, CA.  As the newest member of the Bass Faculty, and currently leading 3 class sections of middle school and high school musicians, you can learn more here about the incredible offerings of EBCPA!