From Berkeley Parents Network:


Feb 2011

Re: Music/Movement/Art/Outdoor Classes for Toddler?

There are so many fun things to do with a toddler. My son's absolute favorite class is his music class at Jon's School of Music. He's been going since he was 17 months old, he's now 22 months(Jon can certainly have younger kids) and he has loved it since the beginning. He looks forward to it every week. Jon holds classes in San Francisco and in Berkeley (which wouldn't be a stretch from San Leandro). I love the class myself. It's so fun to see how excited all the little one's get and the songs are really fun.

My kids love Jon's School of Music. My oldest went from the time he was 2 until he turned 5. The middle one started when he was about 14 months and is still in it. My youngest is only 5 months, and Jon is always great about letting her come along. The classes involve music, dancing, playing instruments, running around, story time, and stamps at the end of class. John has classes for all ages up to about 6 or 7. Each class incorporates elements of the younger kids class, and adds elements to keep the kids entertained, and learning about music. www.jsom.com (415)971-5435 Paul

Sept 2009

Re: Toddler Drumming Classes?

You must check out Jon's School of Music. It is the perfect music class for a toddler who wants to play real instruments, especially drums. Jon is a fantastic drummer, and there lots of opportunities in class to play all kinds of drums and multiple drum sets. My children were students of Jon's for years, and they had so, so much fun with him and learned so much about the basics of music, including drum and keyboard skills. You can find him on the web at www.jsom.com. He teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. Liz O.

Our now 3 year old has been going to ''Jon's School of Music'' for a little over a year, once a week. He loves drumming. The kids are introduced and use real instruments. I know that Jon also teaches private lessons but not until kids are old enough (maybe 4 or 5). This is not only for drumming, many other instruments as well. But, he works with rhythm and the kids and parents have so much fun. Our son comes home dancing and drumming and talking about different instruments. This is Jon's website: http://www.jsom.com/ Here is his e-mail: macks777@jsom.com e cohen

I would highly recommend Jon's Music Class (jsom.com) if you're looking for a toddler class with lots of instruments. My son who is now four has done Jon's classes for about two years and really loved it. We tried other music classes but mainly found the music kind of insipid and there was definitely a lack of instruments besides tambourines and shakers. Jon has a trombone, cello, trumpet, keyboard, full drum set and lots of other instruments. He's quirky and kind of a kid himself which I think is why my kid has loved the class so much. Leslie

Try Jon's School of Music (www.jsom.com) in Berkeley. Jon offers really creative music classes that draw kids in to the fun and give them hands-on experience with drums, keyboard, guitar, and more every week. My 2 year old loves it. Elizabeth

Our boys (ages 3 1/2 and 22 months) really enjoy the classes in Berkeley at Jon's School of Music and we've been doing the classes for over a year now. The kids get exposed to a variety of instruments as well as musical theory. Jon offers a class trial for new families so check it out! www.jsom.com Carla

I highly recommend Jon's School of Music to anyone who wants to give their child a real musical opportunity. Jon is funny, inventive and his method is very smart. There is a lot of drumming. Most special is when the class forms a band. They play real instruments and the drummer, who calls the tune, is on an authentic trap set. My granddaughter, who is almost four, loves it. You can see more about Jon's School of Music on his site: http://www.jsom.com/ Ahni

Jon's School of Music. Just finished a hilarious evening with my 4 yo daughter and 3 yo son who have been attending Jon's music classes. They were dancing around singing to his CD, playing the drums and guitar. Amazes me what bits of music theory they pick up from such a playful setting. Jon teaches from a house in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. In his silly class, children get to play different instruments in the group setting in a relaxed, fun manner...with teaching going on (somewhat subconsciously) constantly. Check it out at jsom.com. By the way, he has 2 drum sets that the kids just LOVE to play! Jennifer

Jon's School of Music in Berkeley is really spectacular and I highly recommend it. Rather than learning one instrument, children play lots of instruments and are exposed to the principles of music as well as group dynamics. Through Jon's playful approach, children learn rhythm, harmony, melody, dynamics, tempo, and more. In addition they have the opportunity to play real instruments and experience what it's like to play a cello, trombone, guitar, drums, keyboard, violin, shakers, etc. Children sing, dance and laugh throughout the class as Jon challenges them to grow musically. Jen

March 2009

Re: Music lessons for an almost 4 year old

Do check out Jon's School of Music if you haven't already. It could be just what you are looking for. He offers a free trial class, too. Our son started when he was 3 1/2 and has learned tons about music, beginning theory, basic piano instruction, and has had a blast the whole time. They get to try out all kinds of different instruments, too. A JSOM fan

July 2008

Re: Music classes for young toddler

Jon's School of Music is fabulous. He teaches kids age 1 to 6, and is especially good with toddlers. He is very lively/silly and uses very developmentally appropriate and creative methods for teaching the kids the basics of music, including ''playing'' (i.e., playing with) a large variety of instruments. My kids LOVE him, and I am amazed at what they have learned. Now, he is not as cheap as you may like ($18 per class), but classes last almost an hour, so it seems worth it to me. Jon teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. You can get more information at www.jsom.com. Liz O.

April 2008

Re: More music, less circle, for 4-y-o boy

I think Jon's School of Music may be just what you are looking for (although the location, North Berkeley, is not ideal for you). Jon teaches classes for kids up to age 6, and his emphasis is on basic ensemble skills using lots and lots of cool instruments. Among other things, my children have ''played'' cello, harp, trumpet, electric guitar, and have become really comfortable singing into a microphone. Jon uses very creative, play-based teaching strategies. They have SO much fun in his class and I am amazed at what they have learned musically. My just-four-year-old is playing real songs (e.g., Twinkle, Twinkle) on the piano, harmonizes when he sings, and can get great sound from a trombone. You can get more info at www.jsom.com. Liz O.

I highly recommend Jon's School of Music. My daughter who is almost four really enjoys it. Being a musician myself, I'm aware of the challenges of presenting musical concepts at this young age without it going over their heads. I think Jon does a great job of introducing musical language and ideas to the kids in a fun and entertaining way. He's got a lot of energy and can be quite goofy in a positive way. One other important point, they get a chance to play real instruments! Check out www.jsom.com Good luck! Gianna

I would like to give a strong recomendation to Jon's School of Music. (jsom.com)

I have a young son ( 3 years old) who has done both East Bay Music Together and Jon's School of music. The Music Together was great and fun but we outgrew it. It teaches that one 'plays' music but there is not much true musical knowledge being imparted.

Jon teaches basic music reading and note recognition. He uses different teaching methods to reach different children's learning methods. For example, he writes songs to teach where specific notes are on the piano keyboard. 'D the dog' and so on. We rotate through playing real instruments. We also dance and of course have fun.

I am a musician and enjoy his classes. I think Jon is an excellent teacher.

Please make sure you give his classes a chance. He teaches in both North Berkeley and San Francisco. Edie

Our almost 5 year old boy has been going to Jon's School of Music jsom.com in the Berkeley Hills for almost 9 months and LOVES it. He has learned a ton - theory, rhythm, and lots of really good skills for future musicians (ej watching and responding to the conductor and/or to the other musicians in your band, music symbols, notes on a keyboard). It is high energy and engaging. The kids get to use real instruments (cello, drum set, brass etc). In Berkeley on M and Th. In SF other days. Our 2 year old goes to the younger kids class and also loves ''Teacher Jon-Jon.'' Heather

Nov 2007

Re: Low-key music class for 4-year-old

I HIGHLY recommend Jon's School of Music, especially given that your daughter has enjoyed music classes in the past. My now almost-4-year-old has been going since he was 17 months (and my daughter went from age 4 to 6). Jon is very creative and fun and does an amazing job of teaching musical concepts and skills to toddlers, and most kids just love him. And unlike Music Together (which we tried too), kids ''play'' tons of instruments (e.g., trombone, cello, drums, keyboard, harp, accordian). Parents attend classes too, but in terms of physically participating you could certainly do as much or as little as you are able. He teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. You can get more info at: www.jsom.com. (415) 971-5435. Liz O.

Sept 2005

I just signed my 3-year old son up for classes with Jon's School of Music, and he LOVES it. It's fantastic, and still has some room (Mondays at 3:30 at the Luteran Church on Grizzly Peak;). Actually, this particular class needs more enrollment or is in risk of being cancelled.

It's a class for 2.5-4 year olds, and they get to play all kinds of instruments: drums/full drum kit, guitars, keyboards, cello, trombone, you name it. Jon has made up all kinds of silly, fun songs, stories, and dances that actually teach these little ones about music while they have a blast and all get hands on experience with the instruments.

It's a perfect after-school activity.

Check out his web site (it doesn't really do his program justice...) or call him directly: 415-971-5435.

Feel free to call me if you want any more info: patty 526-9036 -Having a ball at Jon's School of Music

Aug 2005

Re: Music class for 4 year old

A couple months ago I too was looking for music classes for my 3 year old boys. We had gone to music together for a couple years and felt ready to move on to something new. I really wanted them to be around and be able to experience a variety of instruments. After a search on BPN I found Jon's School of Music, visited his website, and went to check out a class. What a blast! Jon is full of energy and has a very unique way of exposing the kids to the language of music as well as instruments. My boys have already played keyboards, guitars, trumpets, cello, stand up base, accordian, full drum set and more! Please go to his website, http:/ www.jsom.com/, and take a look. New classes are starting soon. His classes in the east bay are taught at a Luthern church up on Grizzly Peak. Be sure to look at the videos to get the flavor of the class. Kyle

Hi there - The class you're looking for is Jon's School of Music. He is excellent and the classes involve real instruments and loads of fun. Check out his website for more information: www.jsom.com Cheers. EAnnis

My son took a music class this summer at ''Jon's School of Music'', which is up at Grizzly and Spruce and he got to play instruments, dance around, learn music theory, etc. It was a lot of fun! His favorite was playing the drum set but he also really enjoyed playing trumpet and string bass, among other things, and was learning more than he realized about reading music etc as well. There is a web site at http://www.jsom.com . I think this is the class you heard about, definitely check it out! Joanne

jon's school of music in berkeley (and sf) are perfect classes once the kindermusik-type classes become too young. awhile back, i wrote an unsolicitated review about jon's music classes as a great place for young children to get hands-on experience playing real instruments, learning about musical notes and theory, singing songs, and having a great time with ''silly jon man.'' my daughter and her friends attended for almost a year, and we ALL-- parents and babes, included--had a great time. also, he schedules early evening weekday classes, as well as weekend ones, too. check it out: www.jsom.com pamela

I would highly recommend Jon's School of Music (www.jsom.com). He is very entertaining but is also serious about teaching music basics (notes, rhythm). The kids get to play a variety of real instruments, including kid-sized guitars, cellos, xylophones, keyboards, drums. He teaches in Berkeley on Monday and Thursday and I do believe he has a 5:30 class one day. Liz O.

May 2005

Any input on Jon Merker and Jon's School of Music for a 2 1/2 yr old who's really into music?

My 4 year old son and his dad have been going to Jon's evening class for a year now. It's not the closest music class, but Jon's approach is substantially different. The kids use real instruments -- not your shakers and tamborines. My son's favorite is the kid-size drum set. He's come home talking about playing a base (really a kid-size chello (sp?)).

Jon puts a lot of energy into engaging the kids, which really helps keep my son focused. I find it a little over the top, prefering a move reserved approach, but I'm not a toddler. The more reserved kids tend to sit with their parent initially and play the individual instruments, but soon want to help with the magic scales and give Jon a good-bye thumb-to-thumb.

It's interesting to see him integrate musical theory into the class and introduce notes. I don't know how much the kids get but they like it.

I would suggest going to a class to get a feel for it. As with most music classes, you can go to one to check it out for free. For the summer, he's letting us pay only for the classes we go to, which is nice.

The other thing Jon does, which I appreciate, is a friendly discipline. Although the parents are there, Jon telling my son to sit down helps a lot. It's very friendly but firm and age appropriate.

If you have other questions, you're welcome to email me. ajanks

my now 3 1/2 year old daughter and i attended jon's music class for 7 months, and we both really enjoyed it. we only recently stopped because of a schedule conflict, but she still channels ''silly jon man'' and asks to listen to his cd frequently. it's a great class where children are introduced to authentic instruments and learn how to be part of a music band. for us, it was the only class where my slow-to-warm daughter was engaged from the very beginning; i attribute it to jon's very silly atmosphere. claire's mom

Jon's School of Music is an imaginative and educational trip through the world of sound. Jon tells stories of the 'wondrous land of keyboard' where all the notes have interacting animal friends: C-roadrunner, D the dog, etc, and the musical flubs taste like chocolate. The kids each play their own instrument--drums, guitar, violin, cello, harmonium, bazouki, bells, you name it, he's got it. My son loves leading the band, helping D the dog put out fires, and singing the magic numbers (major or minor scales) to help free up a mysteriously stuck stack of drums. I love that we're getting a terrific education in musical terms and theory, besides getting to play all those great instruments. My son is 4, but we have a 2yr old in our class, and he's right in there playing and dancing with the older kids. Jon drives the class with energy and extreme silliness, and the kids love it! Karen

My 3 yr old son has been attending Jon's classes for two seasons now and we are VERY happy with the classes. He gets great exposure to different kinds of instruments and is actually learning music in a really fun way. We learned of this class from an unsolicited positive review on this newsletter and are so glad we followed through on the recommendation. As with the parent who wrote the review, we are just not the twirling in the air, scarf throwing type of people and the Music Together / Kindermusik classes were just not going to work for us (we tried). Jon is exceptional and we go out of our way to make it to his classes. Try a free class and see for yourself. Edna

Jan 2005

This is an unsolicited recommendation of a great children's music class my 3-year old daughter and her three friends have been attending. It's called ''Jon's School of Music.'' Classes are offered for ages 1 - 6, and children are grouped with similarly-aged peers. Unlike other music classes we've participated in (and we've tried them all!), Jon's classes emphasize the actual playing of authentic instruments, including keyboard, guitar, drums, brass instruments, xylophone, and string instruments. No egg shakers or rhythm sticks here! Our kids are learning pitch, rhythm theory, musical notes, respect for instruments, performing as an ensemble (as well as duets and solos), in ways that are completely age-appropriate and very fun. (And actually, the grown-ups have learned quite a bit, too!) Most importantly, Jon has a natural affinity with little people and really understands how to connect with them developmentally, making each class a very silly, yet musical experience. Also, the kids love having a former rock band musician as their teacher.

Our winter session has just begun, but I know that he still has openings. Preview classes are free, so come join us. His East Bay classes are Mondays and Thursdays. For more information, check out his website and/or give him a call. Jocelyn

Re: Music class for 4.5 year old (Nov 2004)

I would like to recommend Jon's Superhero Music Class for your son. Jon Merker is an energetic teacher with an irresistible program that incorporates play and learning in a perfect mix for my 4yo son. Alex has ''played'' a variety of instruments including drums, keyboard, trumpet, violin, xylophone, electric and acoustic guitar, bells, and I can't wait to see what comes next. The students play at following rhythm, are learning tempo, musical terms, and use pitch to ''magically'' move stuck objects. Jon also has a veritable zoo of imaginary animal friends to show us where the notes ''live'' on the keyboard. He does an amazing job of keeping our class of 2 two-ish and 3 four-ish kids on track and learning.

Jon has classes in Berkeley and SF, and can be contacted at (415) 971-5435 or through jsom.com (Jon's School of Music.) Tell him D the Dog sent you! Superhero Mom

Sept. 2004

I want to heartily recommend Jon's School of Music (formerly Music Time) for music classes for young children ages 1 - 5. My 7 year old son took Jon's classes from 18 months thru age 5 and is now in private piano lessons with Jon. My 14 month old twins just started music classes with Jon and they already love it. Jon is great with little kids because he loves them and he teaches music in a fun and educational way. All my kids are huge fans of his. Call him at (415) 971-5435. classes in Berkeley. Susan G

From GoCityKids.com:


It's a treat to attend Jon's classes. He makes the sessions enjoyable for the kids from 9 months to 4 years old. The kids love the classes because Jon provides a variety of instruments for the kids to play and is highly interactive with the group. 2 thumbs up from this family on Jon's School of Music.


Jon is a great teacher. My 3 1/2 year old LOVES going to class with "silly Jon Jon". It is amazing how he keeps the kids active, engaged and learning. This is a great interactive class- kids get to play all kinds of insturments. It is a good next step after the little ones go to a music together type class. Each child gets several opportunities to play drums, cello, keyboard, guitar, trombone, etc and be a leader of the superfriends band during the class. Jon gives free demo classes so you should check it out and see if it is a good fit for your family. He also has CD's so you can play the music at home and in the car! My 7 year old loves to go back to class with Jon with his little sister when he is off from school too!


My 3 year old son loves this class. When he wakes up each morning and after each nap, he asks hopefully if he is going to Jon's School of music. He has never had such enthusiasm for another class of any kind. I hear him singing Jon's songs as he goes about his day. I am amazed at how much Jon can teach while keeping the children completely entertained. Not having a musical background, I have learned a lot myself.


Jon is a talented music teacher for kids of all ages. We've been taking our son to his class for two years now. We are now taking our 17 month old daughter. My husband and I are both teachers ourselves and are impressed by Jon's ability to keep the children focused, engaged and learning. His activities are always age-appropriate and fun. Our son has learned so much from these classes!


Jon is gifted as a teacher. He is able to translate basic musical ideas in age-appropriate ways - kinesthetic learning, nemonics, toys, dances, silly associations and above all his riveting series of engaging personalities that keep the children engaged and absorbed. My girl has learned basic drum skills, sings in key and seems to love the violin since taking turns on these instruments during the "Superfriends" basement band sessions! I wish I had this kind of class when I was learning music.


We've been taking our child to JSOM for about a year. Jon's inspired a love of music in our child. He's perhaps the best teacher our child has had so far in any field -- not just music. He has a great ability to keep a group of otherwise unruly two year olds in check in a way that keeps them engaged and learning.


I am very impressed with Jon's skills as an early childhood educator. He is teaching basic music concepts to tots, and creating an environment that is fun for kids and adults alike. My grandchildren, 2 1/2 year old twins, love his class, and sing and play instruments a lot more at home now.

grandma susan

I am a professional musician and a music educator (k-8) and I love bringing my kids to J.S.O.M. This is a far cry from "circle time". From day one, the children are learning musical concepts, vocabulary, and skills. Can you imagine your 1 year old sitting at a drum kit ? Extra fun for parents because they get to jam along as well. I have never seen anything even similar to Jon's teaching, his classes are my families favorite 45 minutes each week.


Jon is awesome with the kids! They love the music and they love him. He is silly and fun and really knows his stuff! He gets and A+++ from my daughter!

Masey's Mom

My two year old loves this class. We tried other music classes before finding Jon's, however his personal style, silliness and serious musical talent are the perfect mix. We laugh and learn each week. I highly recommend it!


Jon makes music fun each week. My kids love trying the various different instruments each week. Jon has a way with kids; he introduces music concepts in a fun and easy to learn way. The kids love his silly tricks too. The best is that Jon incorporates themes, songs, etc. that the kids are interested in at the moment. We are having a U2 Vertigo phase at our house right now and Jon has been gracious about including Vertigo in his lessons. My son goes wild when Jon starts signing.


After trying several music classes around the Bay Area, I was thrilled to find Jon's School of Music. As a kindergarten teacher, I especially appreciate the balance of a structured learning environment with fun activities that sucessfully captures even the youngest students' attention and prepares them for school. Jon's high expectations of students and parents allow the students to learn and participate to their highest potential. He uses real music terminology including "forte," "piano," and "crescendo" and has created songs and characters to teach the students rhythm, names of music notes, and more! My 2 year old son often marches around our house singing the train rythm song "Eigth, eigth, eigth, chord, chord!" and obediently follows cues for "forte" (loud) and piano (soft). His favorite phrase is "More Jon!" and the CD is a daily request! I highly recommend the class!

Lauren in SF

My daughter and I have been attending Jon's classes for almost two years. Its an immersive class with a good balance of variety and repitition. The kids (and adults) get to try out different instruments at every class as we learn the basics of harmony, scales, tempo, etc, plus the all-important dymanics of participating in a group/band. Great lifeskills here beyond music, and a good music 101 refresher for me.

David Fox

Jon has been a real find for us. He is energetic, enthusiastic, creative, and just plain great with kids. The kids get exposed to a variety of instruments, including cello, violin, trumpet, drums and guitar. They learn to read music and have fun at the same time. Jon also has a unique and creative system for learning the keyboard that uses fun stories to help physicalize the piano for children (and adults). This music class is also a great opportunity for developing discipline and for socialization if you are homeschooling.

Sharon Sagan

Our daughter is 3.5, has been taking classes with Jon since 12 mos. Through repetition of songs and play, she learns and understands some key concepts in music. She can demonstrate "forte" and "pianissimo", she is familiar with names for notes, she has been exposed to a variety of instruments. In addition, she loves the instructor, has fun, and has made a lot of friends in the class. Music is important for brain development and creativity and Jon's class has been an important part of our daughter's early childhood experience and beyond.


Jon's a great teacher and has devised fun ways to teach toddlers and young children the musical building blocks they need, including reading music and recognizing keys. Kids even get to "play" instruments.


Jon's School of Music is one of the most fun and worthwhile activities for the "under 5 crowd" I have participated in (and I have attended many other music classes and young child activities with my 1- and 4-year-olds.) Jon does an excpetionally good job understanding and connecting with each child, and he has very creative ways of teaching music basics. My kids are really learning something about music and we are all having fun.

Liz O.

What a fun class! kids get to try out many different kinds of instruments while letting their musical creativity run free. Jon makes music fun and is skilled at teaching music fundamentals at the same time. parents play music together with their kids (no previous music knowledge required) and its a great way to bond and have a fun shared experience with your children. highly recommended.


From Yelp:


  • Review from Ash B.

        • We went to our first class last weekend and were totally impressed! My 18 month old was at Music Together and bored and non interested, even after many sessions. With Jon's class, he was into it from the get go. Jon holds the kids attention and makes learning music captivating, cool and empowering. The kids get to be rockstars, playing lots of different instruments and setting the pace of their class. He keeps it fast moving (almost frenetic, but the kids seem to LOVE that) and really fun. There is a particular magical chaos to the way he teaches, but we learned and had a great time.

        • With the scheduling and website stuff that other reviewers commented on, we had a couple glitches, but honestly, the guy is a musician running his own music school. He's not a school administrator or web master. I was a little patient and forgiving on the stuff that he doesn't claim to be an expert at (i.e. administration) because really, at the end of the day, I just want him to be a great music teacher for kids, and he is.

    • 7/12/2011

Review from mrsdubyah w.


Hands down the best Music School in San Francisco. If you are enrolled elsewhere, ask for a refund and call Jon. I was looking for music class for my 1 year old and discovered

Jon's School of Music on Yelp. Unfortunately, all the 1 year old classes conflicted with naptime. I called Jon and asked if I could form my own class (at a later time) with some fellow moms. He was so flexible and said, "Absolutely. Let me know when you want to start." At first, I was a little apprehensive, as I went to a few of those "overly saccharine sweet"

classes at other schools, and both my son and I couldn't wait to leave. I was so pleasantly surprised with JSOM for the following reasons

- Classes are small, and by the second one Jon will know your and your child's name

- Jon has so many tricks up his sleeve. He introduces new instruments every week - xylophones, bells, full drum kits, stand up pianos (even a baby baby grand), keyboards, etc.; he combines music, books, dancing and magic; and no class is ever the same. There's always new songs and new tricks.

- Jon's flexible with makeup classes

- Jon lets the kids dictate the pace of the class. If they're not into a song or instrument, he moves on. He rarely keeps the children on the same instrument for more than 2 minutes, which is key with 1 year olds

- He actually teaches. The children are learning "forte" (loud), crescendos, where D is on the keyboard, and singing in different keys. I've actually learned a lot from him.

- His prices are the most reasonable around

- Jon is so laid back, genuinely fun and flexible. One class, a Grandma mentioned Oingo Boingo, and we sang a few songs while beating on the African Drums.

I can't recommend Jon or his classes more. If you want to take your child to a music class that you'll actually enjoy, check out Jon's School of Music.

          • Review from Hinge D.

        • 9/19/2008

        • We actually had a grand class just this morning. Guitar, drums, running/jumping while singing and then a drum kit and xylophone round robin.

        • I began taking my Daughter to JSOM for a music related activity, plain and simple, we have received so much more. We have been regular attendants for about a year and a half.

        • My Daughter was extremely shy, even around friends and family.

        • Over time and recently, she has come out of her shell and truly enjoys Music Class, and since the class is pretty much, well, . . . Jon, she has come to really enjoy interacting with him.

        • Always energetic, never at a loss for a song and during every class he incorporates some music theory, vocabulary and instruction. Jon makes a point to involve every child in each class, and has [what I consider to be] an uncanny knack for remembering everyone's names

        • My Daughter adds -

        • "I like it because Jon gives really big hugs"

        • I would agree with KE M. in saying that these classes are best suited for a parent child team that's looking to participate with Jon in his "SuperFriends" band once a week

          • Review from Seth K.

        • 11/3/2008

        • I've got a 5 year old & a nearly 2 year old. The first one did a lot of JSOM with me and I loved it as much as he did. Also I've learned a lot about music from the classes and sincerely appreciate the stuff I listen to out of personal preference more than I used to, hearing the different instruments better, comprehending tempo, noticing techniques such as crescendo etc.

        • Our older one hasn't gone to JSOM for a little while -- we talk about getting him back in to reinforce the concepts, which interests him too. I think I've been missing it as much as him, and now I'm going again with the younger one. I'm glad to be back as a student myself, and she's loving it too.

  • Review from Jill H.

        • 12/31/2010

        • We love Jon! I took my kids to Music Together classes when they were babies and young toddlers and by the time they were 2, they were bored with the sit in a circle and shake the eggs while you sing format. Jon's School of Music is the perfect next step At JSOM the kids get to play real instruments, learn musical concepts and just plain have fun. My son is a bit shy, and Jon is great with dealing with him where he is and making him feel comfortable over time. My older girls also had a blast in Jon's classes and I'd still be bringing them there if there wasn't already string lessons in their school. They're jealous on the days my youngest goes to see Jon. I highly recommend Jon's School of Music. You'll have a good time, too.

    • Review from julie r.

          • 4/24/2008

          • My son, Jupiter, and I couldn't have more fun at JSOM! We were looking for something that was entertaining, free spirited and thoughtful and we found it. Jupiter talks about John all week and when we finally get to see him it's as if John was a true rock star and Jupiter is in awe. He's also learned so much practical music theory. When he wants the radio louder he says, "Forte!" and we sing together at different tempos (at his request) because he understands the creativity of music already! He knows how to pluck and strum a guitar and he just turned 2. I plan on being a "groupie" for many years to come.

    • Review from Nicole M.

          • 4/18/2009

          • My daughter was 18 months when she began her JSOM experience and I don't think she was ready for it. Other kids her age were totally involved and having a blast. However, my daughter just wanted to roll around the carpet and give hugs.

          • That being said-Jon was amazingly accommodating and my daughter did learn a lot. He has a gift with the little ones and really enjoys what he is doing. We will definitely return to JSOM when my daughter's attention span increases!

  • Review from Alonn I.

        • 9/19/2008

        • I signed up with Yelp just to write a review of Jon's School of Music. I've been taking my son to Jon for 2 years, and he absolutely loves it. The classes are fun and engaging. Jon has developed amazingly creative ways to introduce children to the basics of music. My son spends the week in between classes practicing things to show Jon on the drum set, and thinking up wild flavors for "flubs". I highly recommend Jon!

From Yelp "Filtered Reviews":


29 Filtered Reviews for Jon's School of Music

- Review from Karen H.


My son has been going to JSOM since 2009 when he was two. Our experience in his group class and now in private lessons has been overwhelmingly positive. The group class gave my son the opportunity to try all different types of instruments from every section of the orchestra. Over time we could see the instruments that my son naturally gravitated toward so that we knew exactly what to focus on in his private lessons.

Jon's style is so much fun for my son without it being a complete free for all. While my son learns new things each time we go, Jon never pushes him into things that he is not ready for or that puts too much pressure on him. He has learned so much not only from our sessions together, but also from the music on the cd's that Jon provides - which teach different types of notes, how to blow into a brass instrument and exercises on various instruments.

My son has always loved music. Thanks to Jon, he is learning more and more while having the most fun possible!

- Review from Nina L.


We LOVE Jon! My son (20 months) is always so excited when he sees we're on our way into Jon's music class. As soon as Jon is in his sights, he smiles, giggles, and waits for Jon's fun and silly greeting. I've been taking my son to Jon for the last 3 months and not only has my son learned a lot (like when to throw his arms up at a certain beat and how to pluck a guitar string), but I have too! I know where to find the D note on a keyboard and what accelerando and decrescendo mean. Jon's energy, great creativity, and enthusiasm for music and teaching little one's is unsurpassed. As an educator myself (I've taught art to children of all ages and in many different settings), I know that a teacher like Jon is one in a million.

- Review from Paul O.


My older son LOVED John's School of Music. Then we brought my younger son, and he liked it even more. It is a full-energy, full-body, full-participation, musical experience. If you want a class where kids can be kids and have a great time while learning about music, then this is the place for you and your little one.

He has classes in Berkeley and SF, just an fyi

- Review from Alejandra R.


Ditto on all the comments from previous reviewers! I have a 14 month old daughter and we play a lot of music at home so she's used to that. She LOVED and the class and was shaking her body from one side to the other (even though she was tired from missing nap).

I have gone to a lot of different places (at least half a dozen other places) and nothing compares with this one. The other are pretty similarly structured but don't have someone playing instruments, much less allowing the kids (and adults) to play with them.

If you truly want to expose your child to music (and do it for a more reasonable price that other places around the city), this is the place to go.

- Review from KD Credible


Another satisfied parent of JSOM. We'd done a number of music classes since my child was an infant but by the time he was 18 months, he was over sitting in a circle and tossing scarves into the air. I found JSOM through BPN and we loved it! Jon is professional and makes the class fun for the children. He is also pretty good at adapting-- if the kids seem overly energetic, he may shift into dancing time or plane flying time. By the time we left the class (our schedule shifted), my son was 2.5, and able to "lead the band" in drumming. I love that the class was hands on. Jon throws in some light theory here and there (my son understands "forte" is to play with force and understands the concept of building up to a crescendo). He has a little more control when playing drums and instruments now. He doesn't bang piano keys, he recognizes that each key makes it's own sound. My son is also a huge fan of Jon's CDs- "B" bus being one of his favorite songs! In all, we were very satisfied with our experience and will likely go back for lessons when my son is ready to learn an instrument.

- Review from Russell B.


I took my son to JSOM for many seasons while he was two and three years old. Both group classes and private lessons. Teacher Jon has a special way with children that I see in only the most gift of instructors. Both my son and I learned a lot. It was always one of the high points of our weeks.

I recommend JSOM in the highest possible terms.


We've attended Jon's classes for a couple years - our kids love his classes. They are very entertaining - Jon should get his classes televised, as it's much better than the Wiggles! I think my kids think of him as a rock star. It's a lot of fun for the kids and the parents. In addition to the classes being fun, they are also great for teaching the kids. My kids have learned a lot.

Erin L.


Jon's school of music is great! He put a class together for our mom's group- our 1+ years olds have a great time. I was a refugee from another baby music program in SF. Even though I have to drive to this class- it's worth it. So much better than the other classes which are the equivalent of baby talk- way too dumbed down and frankly, no fun. The babies and moms love this class. Jon is very flexibly, both in putting classes together and in allowing make up classes and the such. Highly recommend it- your baby will thank you!


Here's a great way to support a small local business/musician. Great music class overall! Kids get to play on real instruments such as xylophones and drum sets. It's a very hands on experience in a more laid back and less pretentious atmosphere as compared to those other classes in laurel village. My shy 1.5 year old likes it and repeats certain parts of music class at home. Jon is flexible with classes and enthusiastic about teaching.


JSOM is great. Both of my children love it every time. Jon engages them both in the sibling class that we're doing now. And he's been able to inspire them at each developmental stage for the last four years.

Tons of instruments to play, awesome techniques to introduce kids to music and theory, and often hilarity ensues, especially with flub flavors and the alternative responses to "hey"!

Also of note, Jon has always been very flexible with make-up classes. Vacation and sickness alike. I highly recommend these classes.

Updated - 11/20/2008

Just an update to say that now I bring both of my kids a sibling class at JSOM. He teaches to the older kids, but still gets the young ones involved. My kids will always get in the car if I tell them we're going to music class!


My son went to Jon's class for three years and it rocked! This is the best, most age appropriate music class for preschoolers. Jon has a great program that's perfectly paced. Fun for kids and fun for adults, and lots of great learning about music.



Our son loves Jon's classes. He started classes when he was 19 months old and he would not sit for any activity for more than 10 minutes at a time. Jon keeps changing instruments and activities to keep the kids engaged. My son looks forward to music class each week.

The classes are small in size and the kids get to play instruments which is so much more enjoyable than just singing in a circle. Jon has a good understanding of how to teach children and is good at involving the parents to enable their child to learn as well. He sets boundaries and the children seem to respect them (i.e. not touching instruments they shouldn't), while still allowing them the freedom to be little kids who may not always do what you want them to do. Jon has been great about letting us do make-up classes too. I would highly recommend his classes.


For the last thirty yearsI have been either a pre-school teacher, a mom or a nanny. I have taken four children to Jon's class and I love it!

How is it that Jon gets 2 year olds to focus music for an entire hour? Jon adores children and they adore him. He helps them stretch with humor and novelty within a happy empowering routine.

The two year old I took to his class today ran into my arms and said, "I learned a scale!" He pointed out a sharp on a poster we saw walking down the street and said, "That's a sharp." He sings "D is in the doghouse and plays the d note on his piano. Moreover he loves music and wants to hear it and play it everyday. What a great gift!

Jon has confidence in the children and they grow more confidant each class. Slow to warm up kids are respected and nurtured and all of the participants are pleased when these kids jump into the hubbub. If you a child like that....watch and learn from Jon and you will see how it is done.


I'm a professional musician, and I wholeheartedly recommend Jon's School of Music to anyone who likes music! Our daughter was 4 when we found out about Jon's classes and signed her up. Over the past year has had a ton of fun in his classes and learned a lot from him about music. She's 5 now and still loves it.

She is easily overwhelmed in new situations, and it took her a while to overcome her shyness. (She spent the whole first class peeking out from behind me, too intimidated to participate.) Jon repeatedly invited her to join in, but didn't pressure her. Eventually she just couldn't resist all the fun they were having and had to jump in!!

Jon is very good at what he does, teaching the kids to read music, identify notes and rhythms, etc. He also teaches technique on a variety of instruments: guitar, keyboards, drums, cello, violin, trumpet, trombone, etc. Before attending his classes, I wouldn't have thought all this possible for kids at such a young age. He is very energetic and animated, and has lots of strategies for keeping the kids engaged, focused, and having fun. They rotate around the room on various instruments, playing together as a "band" (The Superfriends) during class, and take turns singing into the microphone.

As a professional musician, I've become acquainted with many music educators, and Jon Merker is certainly one of the best I've encountered. To see for yourself how much fun the kids are having and how much they are learning, go and check out one of his classes. He offers a try-it-out class at no charge. I do highly recommend it!

Updated - 9/29/2008

Fun! Fun! Fun! AND worth every (extremely reasonable penny)! My husband and I stumbled upon this hidden gem of a music class while out on a walk one day with our 1 year old. We had been looking to start some sort of fun, group music class and after checking out various venues (JCC, Gymboree, Golden Gate Park rec dept) we were pretty disappointed with the choices. Jon's classes are entertaining, educational and filled with personal touches we hadn't seen before. The array of musical instruments is fantastic and there are always plenty to go around. His curriculum is set up in such a wonderful way, the time flies by and you come out realizing you were just given the building blocks to playing guitar, piano, drums and more!

The best testament I can give is that when we stroll up to the building and my daughter recognizes it - she squeals with delight and grins from ear to ear. Enough said!


My 3 1/2 year old son just started taking classes with Jon in Berkeley and he is literally out of his head with excitement before the beginning of each class. My first son (Now 7 1/2) took classes with Jon for 3 years and has continued to be excited about music.

We believe that Jon's technique of teaching to children is fantastic. He integrates theory into the class seamlessly and is so consistent with his technique that the kids begin to learn theory right away.

We especially love that Jon consistently exposes the kids to a wide variety of instruments and makes them feel like they are part of the band. He always allows the kids to choose which song they want play when it is their turn to choose a song.

Final thoughts on Jon's school of music is that our kids loved the class and continue to have a excitement about learning music. This far exceeds our goal for sending them to Jon....... Thanks Jon


I would highly recommend Jon's School of Music. We tried other music classes, but switched over to Jon's class as he teaches music in a way that is very fun for young children. Thanks to Jon's teaching of music terminology and music notes, my 3-year old son knows where the D notes are on the piano and the difference between forte, crescendo and decrescendo, among other music terminology.

I also really like that my son has the opportunity to play on real instruments. In every class, the children rotate between different instruments--everything from cellos, bass, drums, piano, English horn, trombone and more. Jon also has unique instruments from other parts of the world that the children use.

The class is a blast and my son looks forward to it every week!


My child has blossomed at John's School of Music. I am a musician and I shopped far and wide for a class that wasn't just singing and clapping. At Jon's, my son actually plays piano, bass, drums, horns, and other string instruments. Plus he has learned how to control the dynamics of the band, how to sing in a mic, where notes are on a keyboard, and how to react to signals of other band mates. In many ways Jon's classes teach not only passive music appreciation, but how to actively create it.

Plus, Jon makes it super fun!!


I would like to give a strong recomendation to Jon's School of Music. (http://jsom.com)

I have a young son ( 3 years old) who has done both East Bay Music Together and Jon's School of music. The Music Together was great and fun but we outgrew it. It teaches that one 'plays' music but there is not much true musical knowledge being imparted.

Jon teaches basic music reading and note recognition. He uses different teaching methods to reach different children's learning methods. For example, he writes songs to teach where specific notes are on the piano keyboard. 'D the dog' and so on. We rotate through playing real instruments. We also dance and of course have fun.

I am a musician and enjoy his classes. I think Jon is an excellent teacher.

Please make sure you give his classes a chance. He teaches in both North Berkeley and San Francisco.


Derek Hirsch


We were looking for a class we could bring both of our toddlers to (16 months apart) and have them both get something out of it. We found Jon's School of Music after trying Music Together and Gymboree Music - which were fine for play, but certainly not much teaching of music. What a difference! Our daughter (2 1/2) who tends to be "slow to warm" just loves "Teacher Jon" and really participates in class. We were delightfully surprised that our son (16 months) participates too and really bops to the music and digs the drums. Whereas other music classes tend to run off a corporate laid out song list, Jon let's the kids contribute to the lyrics of the music and really makes them feel like they own their music. He also teaches respect for the instruments, toy props, and each other! Jon is very comfortable re-focusing a child when needs to be. He is very patient with the little ones who tend to take longer to focus. Very quickly the kids learn what to do and joyfully participate. Using real instuments really makes this class, along with Jon's ability to incorporate real music knowledge into his class repertoire. Jon is great about make up classes (and trust me, many other music classes are not flexible about this - so you tend to find sick kids in class when they shouldn't be!)

We are very impressed with Jon's consistency - he puts the same amount of energy into EVERY class and gets the parents to rock along too.


My son has been enjoying Jon's music classes for almost a year. He's 3 now, and he talks about Jon all week -- "I'll show Jon my new shirt"; "When I see Jon I'll tell him that I went to the park." Since he's a pretty shy kid, when we come to class, he's doesn't actually tell him any of these things, but he plops down next to the other kids and I can tell that he's ecstatic to finally be at music school.

In the early days he would just stare at Jon through the whole class, transfixed. He's a shy kid, and Jon has always given him lots of room to develop as he feels comfortable. Jon has an intuitive understanding of kids, and how to draw them out sensitively, and when to leave them alone or approach with care, which I really appreciate.

I am consistently amazed at Jon's energy level, and ability to remain engaged. When kids wander around or fuss or whatever else 2 and 3 year olds are wont to do, Jon takes it in stride. Especially as a parent of a pretty low key kid, I'm amazed by his ability to remain unfazed by the wide range of toddler temperaments and idiosyncrasies. I suppose that he wouldn't be able to do his job as well as he does without this sort of profound understanding of children, not to mention an amazingly creative way of communicating his knowledge and love of all things musical - which my son and I continue to enjoy immensely.


My son and daughter (ages 4 and 6) are long-time students of Jon's, and I highly recommend his school of music. Both of my children adore Jon, and from him they have learned so much about so many aspects of music. In my professional opinion (I am a child psychologist), Jon has very engaging, creative, and age-appropriate ways of connecting with and teaching children music basics, including notes, pitch, rhythm, timing, etc. As a parent, it is one of the few kid classes we've taken - and we've taken many - that we ALL really enjoy. Take a free preview class, and you'll see!


My daughter started at 16 months. She was a little cautious at first, but Jon kept engaging her in the activities and now she's totally a part of the class laughing and banging away on pianos and drums. Jon's also really good at stepping in when my daughter starts to have a melt down and he totally diffuses the situation and back to the music.

And as a participatory parent - it's a blast.


It goes without saying that Jon's School of Music was one of the highlights of my trip to San Francisco. Accompanying my daughter and grandson Kolya to his weekly music class was a treat indeed. As I sat and watched music and magic unfold, children of very small ages and sizes were fully engaged in learning many aspects of music, including hands on instruments, rhythmic concepts and most importantly, having a blast with their teacher, Jon. I have known a lot of music educators in my thirty-five years of teaching music and I honestly have not seen one with more energy, more control (in a very good way) than Jon.

Janis Madden

Retired Choral Director

Madison High School

San Diego, CA


I'm a lifelong musician. Jon's School of Music is the class I wish I had gone to as a kid. He packs a gigantic amount of real-life nuts and bolts of music into what, from the kids perspective, is an hour of playtime. Everything from notes on the keyboard to how to hold a microphone to relative pitches and a healthy mental approach to mistakes(it's an orange strawberry flub, let's try that song again, and if we get it, we eat the flub!)

Great fun and learning for the kids and I get something out of it every week too.


I'm a musician who (erroneously) thought I could teach my preschooler alone. It wasn't working. Then I found Jon's School of Music. It is out of this world -- we've been going almost two years and Eric (now 5) can't get enough of it.

In class, there's a huge array of real instruments (drumset, trombone, electric guitars,stand-up bass, violins, flutes, keyboards and more) and the kids all get a turn on them. They learn how to hold bows, strum guitars, the list goes on.

In this class, Eric's learned to tell a quarter note from an eighth note, can play a chromatic scale on the keyboard, knows various musical notation and much more. Jon's not dry. He uses humor, toys (like the c-car for the note C and elephant for the E) that help kids naturally find notes on a keyboard. Jon really plays with them -- musically and humanistically.

At the end, Eric is begging him for more. As a musician who was classically trained the old, boring way, I cannot think of a more fun and effortless way to get your little kids into learning music.

I recommend it to everyone I know who has a child interested in music. FIVE STARS for Jon (or Jonny-JonJon, as the kids call him.)

Definitely try out a free class if you don't believe it. And there are flexible (and quite affordable) classes every day at various times.

Go JSOM. We love you.


The first time I heard of Jon was when another mom told me "There's this crazy music guy in North Berkeley that kids love!" So I went to check it out and she was right. My kids loved the singing, the movement, and trying all sorts of instruments. I loved the way the kids learned to recognize musical notation (eg. eighth notes, treble clef, forte, half rest, etc.) My daughter "discovered" violin during one of Jon's classes and has been taking lessons now for 2 years. She still remembers the notation she learned with Jon. My son started piano lessons a year after finishing with Jon and spontaneously started singing Jon's keyboard song ("D is in the doghouse..."). They remember so much. Children are sponges for learning music--so get your child to Jon's School of Music now!

From Lilaguide.com:



1 review

Review added 10/27/2009

As a daughter of a few generations of singer/song writers I was not surprised to find my son banging his spoon in rythm to twinkle twinkle little star (the rocknroll version) and singing in perfect pitch before he could barely talk. Ate age 6 it became apparent that my son was more than ready for music lessons, as every utensil he picks up tends to become a drumstick. My father always told me, you don't need music lessons -music is everywhere. I'm a labor and delivery nurse and a single mom and just wanted to find a place for my son to express himself and develop his craft. Jon's school of Music is the Ultimate musician building playground! My son not only gets to express himself with the drums, bongos, xylophone and other various percussion instruments but he gets to communicate with other future budding artists of the Bay Area as well. This is what my father was talking about, music is communication and it's everywhere. Jon's school of music is the playground (with Jon acting as referee/coach)and well worth more than any money spent on other so called music lessons. If you or your child have any interest in the art of music -this is the venue- this is the place to commune!


5 reviews

Review added 6/17/2009

Fun! Fun! Fun! AND worth every (extremely reasonable penny)! My husband and I stumbled upon this hidden gem of a music class while out on a walk one day with our 1 year old. We had been looking to start some sort of fun, group music class and after checking out various venues (JCC, Gymboree, Golden Gate Park rec dept) we were pretty disappointed with the choices. Jon's classes are entertaining, educational and filled with personal touches we hadn't seen before. The array of musical instruments is fantastic and there are always plenty to go around. His curriculum is set up in such a wonderful way, the time flies by and you come out realizing you were just given the building blocks to playing guitar, piano, drums and more! The best testament I can give is that when we stroll up to the building and my daughter recognizes it - she squeals with delight and grins from ear to ear. Enough said!


1 review

Review added 6/17/2009

JSOM is great. Both of my children love it every time. Jon engages them both in the sibling class that we're doing now. And he's been able to inspire them at each developmental stage for the last four years. Tons of instruments to play, awesome techniques to introduce kids to music and theory, and often hilarity ensues, especially with flub flavors and the alternative responses to "hey"! Also of note, Jon has always been very flexible with make-up classes. Vacation and sickness alike. I highly recommend these classes.

Dr. B.

1 review

Review added 6/11/2009

Jon’s School of Music is really spectacular and I highly recommend it. As a former early childhood educator, teaching at UC Berkeley for 15 years, and in more recent years, a student of music at the Jazzschool, Jon provides exactly the kind of music education I was hoping to give my 4 year old granddaughter and certainly the kind I wish I had as a child. Jon recognizes that young children learn best through play, and his playful approach makes learning fun. He is very respectful of each child’s temperament and developmental level, and individualizes his interactions with them. He even builds in mistakes so that a “flub” becomes expectable and made acceptable. He meets children at their level and challenges them appropriately. Jon has designed many activities and games all geared to teaching the principles of music education. Throughout the class children are exposed to rhythm, harmony, melody, dynamics, tempo, and more. They also have the opportunity to play real instruments, some that are child size, so that they get to experience what it’s like to play a cello, trombone, guitar, drums, keyboard, violin and more. He reinforces what he teaches them with hand-outs to take home and a CD. In addition, children learn a tremendous amount about working together to make music. They work as a band and learn about how to listen to each other and play together. Team work is crucial to many of his activities. Best of all, this class is sheer fun. Jon’s zany personality brings out the belly laugh in all of the children as well as all of the adults.


1 review

Review added 6/11/2009

Jon has a knack for 2 year olds. He keeps little ones engaged with real instruments, humor, puppets, toys, and books. The kids don't realize they're learning about music fundamentals; they're just having fun. As a mom, I've found it a great way to play with my little guy, far more creative than most classes.


1 review

Review added 6/10/2009

My son and daughter (ages 4 and 6) are long-time students of Jon's, and I highly recommend his school of music. Both of my children adore Jon, and from him they have learned so much about so many aspects of music. In my professional opinion (I am a child psychologist), Jon has very engaging, creative, and age-appropriate ways of connecting with and teaching children music basics, including notes, pitch, rhythm, timing, etc. As a parent, it is one of the few kid classes we've taken - and we've taken many - that we ALL really enjoy. Take a free preview class, and you'll see!


12 reviews

Review added 3/2/2009

First, these are great, great music classes. We used to drive an hour total just to attend the Berkeley classes (yes, there are classes in Berkeley, too!). The teacher holds children's attention via puppet shows, games, chants, and whatever he can think of, and in each class the children get to play several different instruments (a different selection each time) as part of a band. In these classes my daughter learned to like drums and harps and cellos. She now plays cello. However, the teacher was not able to understand that my tall daughter had only recently turned three years old. She was the youngest in her three-to-five year old class, but she was a bit taller than a four and a half year old in the same class. The teacher, Jon, who is otherwise wonderful, was openly impatient with my child often enough that we stopped attending his classes. So, I would recommend these classes, with the caveat that it may be necessary to remind the teacher several times if you have a taller, younger child, as he seems to have real trouble remembering that kids are not always as old as they look.


1 review

Review added 11/21/2008

I checked out a lot of the music classes in the city, and Jon's music classes for kids are the best. Jon goes well beyond the usual sing-along-scarf-waving tactics and transforms groups of (sometimes unruly)toddlers into an improvisational band. The kids learn music theory, practice basic keyboard, guitar and drumstick skills, and get to try out a huge variety of instruments (keyboard, electric and acoustic guitar, drum and drum set, violin, cello, harp, upright bass, xylophone, trumpet, trombone, french horn, recorder, slide whistle, tabla, saaz, accordion, microphone). I highly recommend these classes for anyone who wants to introduce their child to music and instruments.