Influences: Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, Joe Lovano, David Murray, Hank Mobley, Chris Potter
Benjamin also teaches clarinet
Born and raised in the Chicago land area, Ben fell in love with the saxophone when he was in sixth grade. Ben's first instrument was piano which he started when he was eight, and then took on clarinet for grade school band before switching to saxophone.
In high school Ben had the opportunity to play in an all-star extra-curricular jazz orchestra in Highland Park called the Midwest Young Artists Big Band. During his time there Ben performed with Rufus Reid, Sean Jones, Howard Levy, and Oliver Nelson Jr.
Ben went to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. There he studied extensively with Trent Kynaston, and Dr. Scott Cowan, as well as with Billy Hart and Fred Hersch as guest artists. Ben was the leader of several groups in his time at WMU where highlights were a group called Transition that performed the music of Chris Potter's Underground, and the Ben Schmidt-Swartz/Nelson Oliva group which received several grants to record a CD. Ben was also lead tenor in the Jazz Orchestra for three years, and played in the award winning Advanced Jazz Combo for three years. Ben won the senior jazz award in his last year at Western for outstanding and prolific work with the University's jazz program.
During Ben's time at WMU he had many amazing opportunities to study and perform with leading members of today's jazz community, including a duo performance with Fred Hersch in a concert series called Fred and Friends. With the Jazz Orchestra and Advanced Jazz Combo Ben performed with Kurt Elling, Bob Mintzer, Paquito D'Rivera, Donny McCaslin, Ingred Jensen, and Stefon Harris. Ben also played saxophone in WMU's award winning vocal jazz group Gold Company where he performed with Roger Treace, and Mark Murphy.
Ben has been a teacher for 6 years, with great results. Ben brings energy, fun, knowledge and depth to teaching, while giving a well-rounded approach to studying music.
To inquire about lessons with Benjamin, please fill out the Inquiry Form on this page, or call us at (800) 417-4620.
- Freelance teacher. Taught people from 6th grade through adult. [2006 - 2013]
- Taught piano and saxophone at Broughton Music in Kalamazoo, MI. [2009 - 2010]
- Graduated, Jazz Studies (BA), Western Michigan University 
- Trent Kynaston [2007 - 2011]
- Scott Cowan [2009 - 2011]
- Fred Hersch [2009 - 2011]
- Billy Hart 
Seminars and Workshops Attended:
- Midwest Clinic, Western Michigan University 
- Stefon Harris Master Class, Fontana 
- Senior Jazz Award - Western Michigan University 
- John Phillip Sousa Award - Walther Lutheran High-School 
- CD Release concert in Chicago/Fundraiser [November, 2012]
- CD Release Concert in Kalamazoo [November, 2012]
- Monterey Next Gen Jazz Festival [April, 2012]
- Jazz Educators Network with Donny McCaslin [January, 2012]
- Jazz Masters at Miller with Paquito D'Rivera [November, 2011]
- Fred Hersch Duo in Concert Series [March, 2011]
- Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City with Kurt Elling and Bob Mintzer [January, 2011]
- Jazz Masters at Miller with Kurt Elling [November, 2010]
- Ben Schmidt-Swartz/Nelson Oliva Group - "Mastermind" 
- Jazz Scholarship [2007 - 2011]
- Saxophone Scholarship [2007 - 2011]
Student Reviews for Benjamin
(0 out of 5 stars)
1. Caliology by Ben Schmidt-Swartz
2. Unfinished Business by Evan Hydemj