Dan Rusic (Piano)

AboutQuestions and Answers

DANRUSIC1A highly energetic teacher who loves teaching!! Dan is also our in-house Jazz, Blues and Improvisation piano teacher.

Instruments: Piano

Area of specialty: Young Beginner’s to Highly Advanced students. Beginners & Advanced Jazz, Blues & Improv

At the age of 4, Dan Rusic was mesmerized by the manic playing and vocal styles of Jerry Lee Lewis.  When his mother came to the living room to chastise him for sitting too close to the T.V., he pointed to the screen and said “Mommy, I wanna do that!”


At the age of 6, Dan began his studies of pop organ. From the ages of 7 to 18, Dan entered many different music festivals including the Technics Organ Festival, Kiwanis Festival, and the Canadian Keyboard Competition (CKC) Festival always placing first, second, or third.  At 14, he began studying classical piano and theory in conjunction with his organ studies under the guidance of Beverly Jamieson who encouraged his improvisational practice in addition to his core studies.  “I remember her saying how Bach was one of the first jazz musicians due to his improvisations.”  This had stuck with me ever since.  At approximately the same time, he started playing with Canadian Youth Synthesizer Orchestra (CYSO) which fueled his education on various styles of musics from around the world. Some of which include Avant Garde (John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen), Colombian (where he had the honour and privilege of playing with amazing percussionist Memo Acevedo), Jazz, Funk, and Fusion artists such as Spyro Gyra, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Cal Tjader.

Dan graduated from York University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours (B.F.A) specializing in jazz but also studied piano improvisation, electronic music, and world musics including South Indian Rhythm extensively.  During his period at York, Dan studied privately with both jazz pianist extraordinaire Mr. Frank Falco and with Hammond Organ genius Mr. Rodger Niznik.  Through his studies, Dan cites many musical influences including Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino,Otis Spann, Jimmy Smith, Parliament/Funkadelic, Sly and Family Stone, Dr. John and the Meters, Depeche Mode, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Professor Longhair, Pink Floyd, Ravi Shankar, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, and many others.


Over the course of his life, Dan has played with over 60 bands and recorded several CDs with a few of these groups.  He has learned to play not only the various styles of music that he learned with said groups, but  incorporates all of the styles into his own style including Balkan rock, Gypsy influenced jazz, rock, and “Evergreen” European musics, Funk, Classic R&B, Jazz, Blues, Soul, Electronica, and good ol’ fashioned rock.  Dan has worked on cruise ships traveling to many parts around the world befriending new musicians learning from them.  One of his most memorable moments was playing with Jeff Tamelier of Tower of Power fame while traveling through Mexico. “It was such a true honour playing with Mr. Tamelier.”


Dan started teaching young beginners at the age of 15 doing so throughout his high school career.  He resumed teaching upon completion of his degree pausing only to have taken the opportunity to work on cruise ships which which he feels he has more to offer his students with his experiences teaching Jazz, Funk, Classic Rock, Blues, Classic R&B, Pop, and Classical both as group and private lessons.

Check out a few of Dan’s videos below:

    Top ten albums
    Best live music experience
    Favourite Restaurant / Food
    Favourite scale
    List all the instruments you can play
    First musical experience
    Most influential artist
    I like to teach because…
    Favourite movie
    Why is music important to you?