Sheldon Zandboer was the faculty piano/arranging/ensemble instructor of the Jazz program at Mount Royal University for 15 years.  Due  to  provincial  cuts  the  program  was  terminated  in  2015.  Presently  Sheldon  is the  renowned  jazz  instructor  at  the  Mount  Royal  University/Conservatory.  Recently listed on the Best of Calgary website as one of Calgary’s TOP 10 Best Music Studio’s 

  • Learn practical professional keyboard skills for jazz/pop performance.
  • Learn to play more styles competently on the keyboard/piano.
  • Learn to improvise more effectively from his exclusively developed system the “Tao of Improvisation”
  • Lessons are flexible. They range from New Yorker lessons IE: “call when ready for your next lesson” / monthly / (bi)weekly at ½ to 1 hour lessons.
  • Practical instruction for piano and non-piano students for computer composition applications.
  • Piano/Keyboard/Rhythm section clinician.
  • Adjudicator.

Contact the Mount Royal Conservatory for private instruction at 403.440.6821 For more details visit:
– Mount Royal Conservatory

“A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not to dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves.”

-Herbie Hancock

Students that have studied with Sheldon that are currently employed in the music business:

  • Dr. Lisa Cay Miller-Faculty member at Capilano Jazz College, Freelance Jazz Performer,Vancouver, BC
  • Andrea Wettstein-Composer and Voice Director at Six Degrees Music & Sound
  • Brendan Swanson-Humber College Graduate, keyboard player in Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Toronto, ON
  • Mike Little-President of KLM Backline Music Services (Western Canada’ largest backline company), keyboard player in the “Road Hammer’s”, Calgary, AB
  • Curtis MacDonald-Saxophonist, composer and sound designer based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2011 he released Community Immunity, under the Greenleaf Music record label.
  • Lorna Maclachlan-Jazz Pianist/Composer employed by the Calgary Board of Education as a music instructor. Calgary, AB
  • Greg McLary-Masters Graduate of Music from North York University, Toronto, ON.
  • Simeon Abbott-Pianist/composer active in Toronto’s jazz, improv and pop/rock scene. He completed a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies at Humber College.
  • Johanna Sillanpaa-Accomplished Jazz Vocalist in Calgary, AB.
  • Stephen Fletcher-Active freelance musician, keyboard player in Mocking Shadows and Jory Kinjo, Calgary, AB.
  • David Cohen-Studio session/live touring player active in Nashville, Tennessee. Awarded top keyboard player in Nashville 2020-22.
  • Trisha Edwards-Active freelance pianist in Calgary, AB.
  • Jamie P. Quiring-Active keyboardist performing with “Groove Academy” in Calgary, AB.
  • Glenn Lemieux-Jazz Pianist, Arranger, Digital Music Specialist at Musicnotes.com. Maple Ridge, BC
  • Amy Thiessen-Singer Songwriter, Calgary, AB
  • Augustine Yates-Jazz Pianist, Teacher, Calgary, AB

Jazz Piano Teachers known to use The Tao of Improvisation developed by Sheldon Zandboer to teach jazz piano in Calgary:

How playing an instrument benefits your brain

The Tao of Improvisation is a groundbreaking method for the musician who wants to elevate their improvisational skills to the next level. The Tao of Improvisation trains your mind/ears/body like a martial artist to react and interact instantaneously to your performance environment. It enables you to automate and internalize the fundamental elements of improvisation thereby allowing you to focus on the creative and inspirational side of music rather than relying on your computational intellect. The practitioner works at their own pace with the book and an audio CD  to develop ‘real time’ ear training, technique, and improvisation skills.
The book created such a buzz in the industry about it’s conceptual material that Sheldon was interviewed on “Q” by the CBC’s infamous Jian Ghomeshi on national radio. Over the past five years Sheldon has perfected the method through his own practice himself as well as shared the concept with students, some have gone on to study at the “New School” of Manhattan, Berklee College, McGill University, SFX University and his alma mater Humber College. Sheldon has been a member of the Faculty of Jazz at Mt. Royal University since 1998.


A letter from a student:

Hi Sheldon,

I remember you telling me that you have watched yourself play the piano almost like an observer. Your hands just played! You were telling me about your jazz patterns at the time, and we were discussing your books.

As you know, I have been playing a lot every day. (I have a pretty good handle on this musical now, thank God.) Once I felt the musical was under control, I went to rehearse a piano feature with our Jazz Orchestra. I confessed to the group that I had not practiced it for a while. I said would be very rusty!

I started playing. Then I had something happen to me that has never, ever happened before. In the very long improv section I was singing in my head. I was not thinking about the keys on the piano, or about the changes. Just singing. My hands played on their own. I looked down and could see them playing. It was probably the best improv I have ever done. I do not have any idea what notes I played and I cannot repeat it.

We finished the song and the whole band erupted into applause. Mike G. gave me the thumbs-up, smiled and remarked, “That was rusty?”

Anyway, I am on cloud nine. We have no groceries, twenty-one loads of laundry are undone, and I am behind on everything under the sun. But this piano experience felt *so* good!!! All your jazz patterns were put to good use.

Back to reality now.

Take care and thank-you so much for all your help. I am enjoying the piano so much! My kids are pumped about the piano, too.

Nancy P.

A past student of mine went on to study at the esteemed Humber College of the Applied Arts in Toronto, Canada sent me this note:
“So my piano teacher Hilario Duran thanks you for teaching me how to “really swing”.
Nice to know I’m doing something right. Thanks Kristen.

Hal Galper explains perfectly how I view music and teach.