Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Studies/Coordinator of Music Management
“The auditory sense is the one we most often associate with the acquisition of musical skills. However, students respond to visual, tactile, flavored, and scented signals; they also react to emotional, spiritual, and historical clues. I love to discuss, dissect, debate, challenge, compose, arrange, transcribe, develop, augment, reframe, analyze, re-enact, appreciate, see, hear, feel, and play music. I believe in mentorship, in practicing what you preach, and in learning by doing.”
Dr. Jeff Benatar is a Jazz Pianist with a passion for teaching. He now serves as an Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Studies/Coordinator of Music Management, at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Benatar has previously taught at Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), The Eastman School of Music, The University of Rochester (New York), Rutgers-Newark (The State University of New Jersey), and the Eastman Community Music School.
One of Benatar’s recent compositions, “Hank and Joe” for Jazz Septet, was called “Superb” and “Intense” by JazzTimes Magazine (November 2016). Benatar has performed with Pat LaBarbera, Bob Sneider, John Sneider, Melba Joyce, Andy Watson, Vaughn Weister's Famous Jazz Orchestra, The Rick Brunetto Big Band, The Tony Lewis Swing Orchestra, The Ohio State University Faculty Combo, and the Dayton Jazz Orchestra. He was also recently the Jazz Piano Artist-in-Residence at the Miami Valley Jazz Camp. He is versatile musician and improvisor who has experience in Jazz, Commercial Music, Wind Ensemble, Studio Orchestra, and Choir. Benatar has conducted, performed, accompanied, composed, and/or arranged works for solo piano, piano for four hands, ensembles from duos to octets, big bands, cantorial soloist and choir, brass sections, string sections (with harp), woodwind ensembles, and percussion. In recent years, Benatar has presented and/or performed at the Leeds International Jazz Education Conference, the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies at Cornell University, and Jazz Education Network Conferences.
Benatar earned his DMA in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media, with a minor in Pedagogy, from the Eastman School of Music. Benatar earned his MA at the world's only Jazz History and Research Program at Rutgers-Newark, The State University of New Jersey. Benatar was the first Jazz Piano Performance student (BM) at The Ohio State University to graduate with Honors.
DMA in Jazz Studies (Piano) and Contemporary Media, Eastman School of Music (ESM), May 2017
MA in Jazz History and Research Rutgers-Newark, The State University of New Jersey, May 2013
BM Jazz Studies (Piano) Performance Magna Cum Laude with Honors in the Arts, The Ohio State University (OSU), June 2011