Jeff Covell


"When I was a student, I was fortunate to have had some excellent teachers with very different approaches. Some were very good at organizing and presenting material in a way that was effective. Others were more spontaneous and conceptual, and taught more by way of example."

"I try to bring this same mix to my own students, in an environment of support than emphasizes diligence, creativity, and personal identity. I want them to know what I think their priorities are in terms of their being successful—as musicians and as artists—and I hope to give them some idea of how to nurture their own creative spark."

"This can be a challenge, especially when working with students from a classical background. The process of playing improvised music is completely different from the process of playing classical music. With improvised music, you need to develop an intellectual understanding and awareness of your content, along with developing your ear and your sense of rhythm."

"That situation—of having classical pianists who play the instrument very well but are new to improvised music—has become increasingly more common, and I think we're getting more successful all the time with making that transition."

"I also try to create an environment of respect. What I've come to understand about respect is that it creates a positive atmosphere where the best things can happen. Which is of course very important for any kind of creative process, because it involves vulnerability and risk—and trust."

Career Highlights


  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Private studies, Charles Banacos and Gary Burton
  • Performing artist, composer, and educator
  • Recordings include Dear Chan (solo); No Hands (trio); and Solos and Duets, with Jerry Bergonzi
  • Author of Modern Music for Piano series and Modern Method for Piano series