Meet Scott Dailey — Jazz Musician, Teacher, Composer/Arranger

Meet Scott Dailey — Jazz Musician, Teacher, Composer/Arranger

Trained in classical and jazz piano and classical clarinet, Scott Dailey is an accomplished instrumentalist, composer and arranger.  He holds BA and BM (Bachelor of Music) degrees in music composition and music education, respectively, from San Jose State University, and a BA in English from Stanford University.  In addition to teaching piano, clarinet and beginning saxophone, Mr. Dailey also offers instruction in composition and music theory.

Mr. Dailey has taught music at the elementary, high-school and collegiate levels, is the winner of a special citation for outstanding musicianship from the National Association of Jazz Educators, and has composed and arranged for stage shows, film, corporate video and advertising.  He is also a published jazz scholar.  For five years, he played jazz piano weekly at La Tosca in San Carlos, and his ensemble, the Scott Dailey Trio, has performed widely on the Peninsula.  Mr. Dailey’s playing on the trio’s first album, “Fast and Loose,” earned praise from critics at and the Jazz Society of Oregon.




Hear Mr. Dailey’s playing at

Tips on Choosing a Teacher

Tips on Choosing a Teacher

Selecting the right instructor is essential to your success or your child’s success in music. Beyond professional qualifications, which you should expect from every teacher, here are a few important considerations:.

  • How does the teacher strike you as a person?  Does he have a friendly demeanor, and a patient and encouraging outlook?  Is she someone you’re going to be comfortable with when you don’t “get it” the first time?  Does he or she exhibit high standards without being intimidating or unreasonable?
  • Does the teacher treat you or your child with respect?  Does the teacher ask about your musical experience and your goals?  Is the teacher happy to take a student who wants to play just for fun, in addition to students who want to become serious musicians?  If you or your child want to learn rock instead of (or in addition to) the classics, can the teacher do that?
  • What do others say about the teacher?  Every prospective teacher should be able to give you references from other students or parents.  How quickly are students learning?  Are they having fun?  Is the teacher on time and constantly engaged during lessons?  Are students learning to play expressively?  Are they learning music theory in addition to technical skills?
  • What are the teacher’s own musical interests?  When it comes to music, do you both “speak the same language”?
  • Does the teacher seem like a true professional – organized, responsive, able to answer your questions clearly and in detail?
  • It may sound silly, but – can the teacher actually play?  Don’t be afraid to ask to hear the teacher on the instrument you want to study!  (And…can the teacher play the music you want to learn – jazz, rock, classical?  With jazz and rock, does the teacher sound up-to-date?)
Take Lessons

Take Lessons

Love Music? Want to play?

Learning an instrument is one of the most rewarding activities you can offer yourself or your child. Once you can play, you’ll experience the joy of expressing yourself in a whole new way. And you or your child will also gain a unique sense of accomplishment from mastering a challenging endeavor.

It’s not clear if “music makes you smart” or simply if smart people often pursue music. What IS clear is that when you play or sing, your brain is on fire – rapidly decoding complex instructions and sending them to your fingers, larynx or lips. It’s tremendous mental exercise – an enjoyable way to keep your mind constantly sharp.

How hard is it to learn music? Like anything worthwhile, it takes some effort. But lessons go gradually, and at your own pace. If you’re putting in the work – around 30 minutes of practice each day – you’ll probably surprise yourself with how quickly you progress.

When should you start lessons? Any point after about age eight or nine is a good time. If a younger child shows huge interest and aptitude, then you might consider lessons at an earlier age. But most children need a little more maturity and attention span – and for piano and wind instruments, their hands have to be big enough!

Should you force your child to take lessons? Absolutely not. Children have many talents, and music may not be among them. If your child is attracted to sports or art or robots, then nurture that interest. There are lots of ways to foster achievement and self-esteem, and music is only one of them.

What about adults – how old is too old? There really isn’t an upper age after which you can’t start lessons. Many people start learning music in their thirties and forties, or in retirement. As long as you’re willing to put in the practice time, you’re never too old to learn music.

Have more questions? Call Scott Dailey at 650-714-9578 or email at