Randy Felts

Associate Professor
617 747-8169

"I'm often called upon to transcribe music from recordings and learn songs for shows featuring various classic rock acts. I find I can bring elements of the analysis of those songs into the classroom. I may bring in a specific song I'm working on, or another one that includes the same principles, because the principles found in many of these classic early rock 'n roll songs are still with us."

"Old tunes also come back from time to time, so I may have several recordings of the same song. In class I can play the original version and then move up to others recorded more recently. I'll put the basic progressions on the board for students to check out. Then, since I have 3,000 pieces of music with me all the time on my laptop, I can jump from 30 seconds of one to 15 seconds of another. Students hear the changes in the arrangement and rhythmic style of the same progression as it mutates through the different eras."

"In harmony courses, students are taught to model existing pieces of music, create new pieces that are similar in style and structure, and analyze music in a wide variety of styles. Parts of what we teach must be memorized, and that can be painful, but there is a payoff. I explain the usefulness of each harmonic skill in a real-world context. Students learn to write better songs, play their instruments with more confidence, improvise better, and use harmonic analysis to expand their stylistic reach. They should be able to analyze film music or Greek music, then begin to use elements from these styles in their own writing."

"Music has been a central theme of my life, and I am excited to see students embarking on the same journey. At the beginning of the semester I often say how great it is to be in a room with a bunch of other 'crazy people' who are as much infected by the music bug as I am."

Career Highlights

 

  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
  • B.A., University of Richmond
  • Music director and soloist for Royalty of Rock 'n' Roll concert series, featuring Little Anthony, the Drifters, the Platters, and others
  • Clinician for Softwind Instruments, manufacturers of the synthophone (MIDI saxophone)
  • Former instructor of clarinet, flute, and saxophone in public schools
  • Author, Reharmonization: Concepts and Techniques, Berklee Press