Jim Funnell | Lessonface

Jim Funnell

Jazz Piano, Piano, Improvisation, Audition Prep from Berklee Alumni
28 Reviews
100+ lessons booked on Lessonface
Featured Teacher on Lessonface Since December 2016

Lesson Fees

Base Fee: $35.00 / 30 Minutes

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Jim Funnell is a jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer. He leads his own ensemble, with which he has released two albums (Word Out and Spirit of the Snail) and won the Composition Prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” in Paris. Jim also co-founded AfuriKo, a colorful and atypical African infused jazz duo, with percussionist Akiko Horii. The unit has produced two albums since 2014 (On the Far Side and Style), both of which were chosen to receive full funding from SACEM (French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers).

Notable performances as a band leader/co-leader include venues and festivals such as Jazz Alley (Seoul), London Jazz Festival, Le Baiser Salé (Paris), Rockwood Music Hall (New York City), Theater Vrijburcht (Amsterdam), JazzLab (Hamburg, Germany), Kathmandu Jazz Festival (Nepal), Kanazawa Jazz Street (Japan), Jazz en Touraine (France), and Malta Jazz Festival. As a sideman, Jim has also played and recorded with jazz vocalist Jade Choi, percussionist Marcelo Woloski (Snarky Puppy), saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa, singer-songwriter Benjamin de Roubaix, electro/nu-reggae artist Flox, and contemporary microtonal jazz-rock guitarist David Fiuczynski.

Since graduating from Berklee College of Music, which he attended on a full tuition scholarship, Jim has been active as an educator, teaching both privately (currently at Lessonface.com) and in workshop/masterclass settings (BRICKS Music Salon in Tokyo, Cardiff University School of Music in Wales, Improphile in France, Koyo Conservatory in Kobe, Euro Institute of Music and Arts in Malta…)

In addition to music, literature, and art, Jim is into nature, languages, anthropology and all things human, shamanism, Taoism, Zen, qigong, jogging, and wholesome food!

Do you want to learn about jazz piano, improvisation, harmony, composition, arranging, and be able to sit in at a jam session anywhere in New York City or in your hometown? Be admitted to a jazz school or music college? Build a solid repertoire, become proficient at playing standards, write tunes, and maybe put your own band together or feel comfortable joining an existing outfit?

I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to go through all of these exciting steps in the life of a musician myself, and I’m definitely looking forward to sharing this experience with you. I began to learn jazz piano in Paris (France) as a teenager, and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full tuition scholarship. I recently moved to New York City to continue to grow as an artist in this utterly inspiring metropolis, full of talent and creativity.

I offer jazz piano lessons that are well suited for:

  • pianists of all styles (jazz, blues, gospel, pop, R&B…) and levels including adventurous classically trained pianists who feel the urge to explore improvisation, groove, and swing;
  • all other instrumentalists eager to either strengthen their basic piano skills or deepen the practice of improvisation on their principal instrument;
  • vocalists who wish to hone their piano accompaniment skills;
  • and finally writers and computer musicians committed to improving in the areas of jazz harmony, arranging, composition, improvisation, and enthusiastic about incorporating these techniques into their productions.

In addition to the actual lessons, make sure to check out these posts regularly for tips, ideas, transcriptions, analyses, and in depth study of intriguing jazz topics that will help you walk in the masters’ Footprints and make Giant Steps towards your Freedom Jazz Dance!


The repertoire studied during the lessons can be as vast as jazz is diverse. I curate a playlist on Spotify you can dig into entitled “FunJazz Piano Lessons: Essential Jazz," which is a selection of standards, jazz tunes, Latin tunes, rhythm changes, blues, and ballads performed by a wealth of diverse musicians, and covering a wide range of styles and eras. In fact, exploitable melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements for the purpose of these lessons can be drawn from most music, within and beyond the scope of jazz… I’m therefore open to – and encourage – students’ suggestions: practicing a piece one actually knows and enjoys can be a strong motivational factor and often enhances the learning experience.

Tools & Study Material

  • Jamey Aebersold, Charlie Parker Omnibook: for C instruments (treble clef) (Alfred Music Publishing)
  • Fiona Bicket, The Barry Harris Approach to Improvised Lines & Harmony: An Introduction (www.barryharris.com)
  • Miles Davis, Quincy Troupe, Miles: The Autobiography (Simon & Schuster)
  • Charles-Louis Hanon, The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises for the Piano (Schirmer)
  • Michael Hewitt, Musical Scales of the World (The Note Tree)
  • Mark Levine, The Jazz Piano Book (Sher Music Co.)
  • Mark Levine, Jazz Piano Masterclass: The Drop 2 Book (Sher Music Co.)
  • Mark Levine, How to Voice Standards at the Piano: the Menu (Sher Music Co.)
  • Frank Mantooth, Voicings for Jazz Keyboard (Hal Leonard Corp.)
  • Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art (Tarcher/Penguin)
  • Neil Olmstead, Solo Jazz Piano: The Linear Approach (Berklee Press)
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet (fully digitized here on jazz pianist Bill Carrothers’ website!)
  • Nicolas Slonimsky, Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns (Amsco Publications)
  • Adam Spiers, Scale Matcher (web application)
  • Kenny Werner, Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Musician Within (http://kennywerner.com/effortless-mastery)
  • Forrest Wernick, Eric O’Donnell, Jazz Advice (blog)


- Philippe Lopes de Sa / Jim Funnell, Woandering, 2017

- Benjamin de Roubaix, Chansons d'amour, 2016

- AfuriKo, Style, 2016

- Jim Funnell's Word Out, Spirit of the Sn@il, 2015

- AfuriKo, On the Far Side, 2014

- Flox, All Must Disappear, 2012

- Word Out, Word Out, 2009

- David Fiuczynski, KiF Express, 2008

Music Industry Awards

- Funding from the SACEM (“aide à l’autoproduction”) for the album Style by AfuriKo (2016)

- Funding from the SACEM (“aide à l’autoproduction”) for the album On the Far Side by AfuriKo (2014)

- Composition prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” with Jim Funnell’s Word Out (Paris, 2011)

Academic Awards

- Berklee College of Music Professional Writing Division Wayne Shorter Award (Boston, 2007)

- Berklee College of Music Professional Writing Division Arif Mardin Award (Boston, 2006)

- Berklee College of Music Piano Department Achievement Award (Boston, 2006)

- Berklee College of Music Piano Department Chair Award (Boston, 2005)

- Berklee College of Music Full Tuition Scholarship (American School of Modern Music, Boulogne-Billancourt, 2003)

Reviews of lessons with Jim Funnell

Loved being able to record part of the lesson. It is a great help
Margi Bradbury, Verified Student
February 15th, 2020
Thanks Jim. it is an honor to study with you.
Margi Bradbury, Verified Student
February 15th, 2020
It was a wonderful experience. I am looking forward to my lessons with Jim.
Margi Bradbury, Verified Student
January 17th, 2020
My first lesson with Jim Funnell went very well. After our initial conversation and me playing a few songs for Jim, he reminded me of a simple but effective way to set up chord voicings with minimal finger movement using just guide tones. After building the initial chord skeleton for any given tune, adding other consonant and dissonant tones to achieve a logical and professional sounding harmony is relatively simple. I'm finished the lesson with a very positive feeling and I'm looking forward to long term teacher/student relationship with Jim.
Robert Walker, Verified Student
December 28th, 2019
Great Teacher!
SHAUN BUCKLEY, Verified Student
June 10th, 2018
Great teacher. I’m am going to learn allot from Jim.
SHAUN BUCKLEY, Verified Student
April 22nd, 2018
Margi Bradbury, Verified Student
February 15th, 2020
Verified Student
December 26th, 2019
Nassim, Verified Student
November 12th, 2019
Nassim, Verified Student
November 12th, 2019
View All Reviews

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