Charlie Felter | Lessonface

Charlie Felter

Category Names: 
Jazz Piano, Piano, Composition
Featured Teacher on Lessonface Since November 2016
Teachers featured on Lessonface are vetted by the Lessonface staff, a process which includes ensuring the teacher meets our qualifications for teaching experience, a meet and greet session online, and, for teachers based in the US, a background check that at the least includes a check of the sex offender registry.

Price per lesson
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From: $20.00 / 30 Minutes
To: $45.00 / 90 Minutes

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Piano improvisation has interested me ever since I started playing music back in the '90s. I studied at the Purcell School and Royal College of Music in London. I played classical music then and I always liked it; it helped me so much with my improvisation. I played in the final of the European piano competition, was very happy to reach that level of playing. Also, classical music helped me improve my knowledge of music. Now what I am really interested in is creating composed improvised pieces that share the structure of classical music and jazz styles. To achieve this I sometimes spend 12 hours a day at the keyboard. In recent years I have devoted nearly all of my time at the piano to improvisation, because I find that I want to be creative in a different way. I like the idea of composing and improvising at the same time.

I believe it's important to know what has been done in music in order to create new music. Analyzing the work of great composers is essential to developing an understanding of music and finding inspiration to create. I believe that improvisation has to sound like a composition. There are many criteria that make a composition sound good: harmonic rhythm, active and passive bass lines, figuration, modulations, piece structure, chord variety, silences and paragraphs, chapters (if you are improvising several movements), rhythmic variety in the main line (more often in the right hand but sometimes in the left hand in my case), counterpoint and independence of the lines, and melodic structure. And all these elements have to be there in a good improvisation. And, finally, you have to be able to play it. I aim to develop these various skills in my students, giving them the ability to compose and improvise at a high level.

I use standard and personalized methodology to teach you the piano.  To start with, I choose a set of piano method books based on the student's age and ability. I also add more materials to suit the needs of the student.  I keep learning fun and interesting, and students are encouraged to find pieces they really like, not just the ones from the method books.  The books are classically based, however I also use jazz and popular music.  Music theory is extremely important to learn an instrument. Also, direct theory application is very enjoyable.  Instruction is given in classical, jazz, and pop-based theory, which includes learning how to read a chord chart, arrange, edit, and improvise. I teach my students how to practice. I also teach technique, sight reading, ear training, and composition. I aim to communicate as directly as possible with my students to maximize progress.