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. 

As far as music instructors go, Ben Lee is hands down at the top of the list. . . we've seen my son's technical abilities and music theory grow at an astonishing rate. Ben is a total professional... you could not be in finer hands. ”

Johnny Jones, Parent

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...”

David Byrd, Oakland High School Music Director

 Private Lessons. 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. 
  • 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 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

  • 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 Member, OPC

  • It is with great excitement, humility, and joy that Ben has joined the teaching staff of the incredible Oakland Public Conservatory. If you are unfamiliar with the hugely impactful work that this organization does under the leadership of Angela Wellman, you should absolutely learn more hereAlongside a who's who list of Oakland educators and musicians led by Marco Diaz, Mr. Lee teaches sectionals for aspiring bass players in their after school jazz program hosted at Oakland High School. 


Bass Sectionals

  • Many things can be gained from learning in a group of bassists. That is why Ben is proud to teach group lessons on site at several schools in the Bay area. Focusing on the core principles above, as well as incorporating a larger emphasis on listening and playing as one, young players get the opportunity to work through problems together. Students also benefit from the opportunity to interact with, and ask questions of, a working musician in a much smaller setting than is typically available in big music classes. This leads to more immediate, and personalized help with playing difficulties, as well the opportunity to introduce principles and routines specifically geared toward young bassists.