Composition and improvisation used to be part of classical music studies
centuries ago, yet it has largely been ignored since the early 20th century.
Creative work is an important part of training in Chris Chalfants studio,
as she believes the act of engaging the student in their own creative process
gives the student a well-rounded musical education, and it builds confidence
and independence in learning. Students improvise and write compositions, sometimes
following traditional structures, and often coming up with unique forms. Chris
Chalfant draws on her experiences in art, classical music and non-traditional
music to guide students in their creative process.
Often even the youngest of students intuitively create pieces with very sophisticated
and unique rhythmic and phrase structures. Instead of deferring to a simpler
notation that may compromise the intention of the young composer, Chris Chalfant
helps the student capture their original impulse through singing, playing,
recording and finely detailed transcription. Attention is given to building
skills in precise notation and layout as the student develops. They learn
to write by hand and with music software if available.
Composing and improvising gives an invaluable perspective from a different
vantage point in the students studies of classical repertoire. They
learn to study music questioning the original intent of the composer. While
they learn to respect the traditions that have been passed down through the
conservatory system, they question what the composers creative process
may have been. They consider whether a score is just one version of the composers
idea or an approximation of it, whether the copyist made errors, or whether
the editor made artistic choices that compromised the composers intent
Many students who have studied a combination of improvisation/composition
and piano as young children with Chris Chalfant have gone on to top music
schools, have won national composers competitions and have become successful
artists in their own right.
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Space is limited