In 2020, Jeffrey Chappell retired from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland where he served on the piano faculty and as the Director of Jazz Studies. He maintains a teaching schedule at Levine Music in Washington, D.C., and at his home studio. In addition, he gives master classes, workshops, and guest lectures at other venues. He has presented numerous teacher training courses in jazz and improvisation for chapters of the Music Teacher National Association. He is also the creator of Music Everybody, a weekend seminar series.
Jeffrey Chappell’s teaching is client-oriented, placing importance on the goals of the student and on approaches to problem-solving that are adapted to each individual. He says, “In the larger sense, I don’t teach music. I teach the development of human potential through music. Our potential as humans is to make free, informed choices from an array of options, as opposed to learning just one way to do something. I see my job as acquainting students with more and more options to choose from. By cultivating freedom, they move in the direction of mastery, which is the ability to fulfill any intention. This is why I don’t seek students of a particular skill level, style of music, or even instrument. What matters is the direction in which students go, not the distance.”
As the main instructor for Music Everybody, Chappell offers seminars in Improvisation, Teaching Improvisation, Composition and Arranging, Interpretation, and Total Musicianship. The seminars take place on weekends and provide a three-hour immersion in the chosen topic. The website for this series is musiceverybody.com.
Chappell was a full-time faculty member at Goucher College. He taught private piano lessons in classical music and jazz; classes in jazz improvisation, jazz theory, jazz history, jazz composition, chamber music, senior integrative projects and independent study; and conducted the jazz ensemble. He was the director of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute Jazz Camp for middle- and high school students from 1999 to 2013.
At Levine Music, Chappell teaches private piano lessons in classical music and jazz, and has given classes in improvisation, jazz theory, jazz combo, jazz history, adult beginning jazz piano, and intro to jazz for adults (all instruments). He also has served as Co-Chairman of the Jazz Department.
In the course of teaching these subjects at both schools and at home, Chappell has also been called upon to provide instruction in composition, songwriting, arranging, classical music theory, and classical music history.
Students of Jeffrey Chappell have been accepted to The Juilliard School, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Hartt School of Music, Columbia University, Brigham Young University, Boston University, Princeton University, and Catholic University of America, among others. Many have gone on to professional careers as performers, teachers, and recording artists, and among them are a record company executive, a jazz singer, a rock songwriter, and two members of the progressive band Lake Trout. Several are prizewinners in music competitions, and one was selected as the youngest (15 years old) participant in the 2002 “Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead” residency for composers at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Chappell has served as a workshop leader, training music teachers how to teach improvisation and jazz, for the Maryland State Music Teachers Association, Washington (D.C.) Music Teachers Association, Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association, Montgomery County (MD) Music Teachers Association, Greater Laurel (MD) Music Teachers Association, California Music Educators Association, and Music For Minors II (Fremont, CA). He has also given teacher training classes in improvisation, jazz piano, and piano literature to faculty members for the Levine School Professional Development Program.