In 1994 Paula began her teaching career whilst a student Qld Conservatorium of Music.

Since then, Paula has established a successful piano teaching practise with various schools of music, including her own private studio. In which her students received very high results for music examinations held under the AMEB and Trinity College of London. Paula has and continues to teach many students that are school aged, mature aged, whatever age: piano, theory of music and musicianship.

A full-time lecturer at Jazz Music Institute (JMI). She teaches and coordinates the subject areas of: Piano, Jazz Materials, Aural and Analysis, Ensembles, Piano skills (second study), and Concert Performance Practice. Paula is a highly regarded teacher who uses her experience wisely. She has developed a successful and engaging jazz piano pedagogy and her encouragement fosters students to respond, and achieve high-level and positive performance outcomes.


Paula still maintains her own private piano studio, and can be contacted at pgirvan@jazz.qld.edu.au for lesson enquiries (these lessons are based at JMI in Bowen Hills). Online jazz piano lessons can be arranged via Skype, Zoom or Messenger



“I was pleased to have the opportunity to observe Paula Girvan in a classroom setting during my recent visit to JMI. It was immediately apparent that her teaching style and unwavering commitment to the students falls in line with the goals and objectives of the institute. She spoke confidently during her jazz theory presentation and was able to use her piano skills to illustrate various concepts. I was also impressed with the way in which she correlated her discussion points with events in jazz history and examples of classic jazz recordings. She was also able to keep vocalists in the class engaged without speaking to them in a condescending manner due to their inherent lack of theory background. As is the case with other JMI classes I have observed, Paula frequently asked questions and encouraged the students to join in the discussion.

This teaching style, combined with small class sizes, fosters an environment that finds all students engaged in the learning process, versus merely attending the class. By encouraging students to participate in the discussion, she can quickly detect when a student is not fully comprehending the subject matter before moving on to more advanced concepts.

In summary, I find Paula to be a gifted teacher who demands much of herself and her students. She is serious about offering quality instruction to those who enroll in her classes and, subsequently, building the reputation of the Jazz Music Institute and distinguishing it from conventional university Jazz Studies programs.”

– Jeff Jarvis, Director of Jazz Studies, California State University, Long Beach