David Charles teaches in the School of Music, the College of Letters and Science, the American Studies Program, and through the online Liberal Studies Program at Montana State University. He had his first professional experience as an organist, choir director, and freelance pianist in South Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in composition and theory from the University of South Carolina, where he studied jazz piano and composition with Bert Ligon, composition with Dick Goodwin, and piano with John Williams. He earned a Master of Music degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied under Stephen Slawek (who is an acknowledged disciple of Ravi Shankar) and Gerard Béhague. While at UT, he also studied composition with Donald Grantham and was the keyboardist for the Afropop band Easy Motion Tourist. He taught piano privately to young people and adults for many years, first in Austin and then in Bozeman. In and around Bozeman, he has performed a variety of styles of American popular music with Nathan Anderson, Luke Flansburg, Jake Fleming, Haley Ford, Mike Gillan, Adam Greenberg, Jerrad Highman, Sean Lehmann, Weston Lewis, Isaiah Morales, Scott Morales, Kelly Roberti, Leif Routman, Eddie Tsuru, Lenny Woodward, and many others. His primary interests are African-American music and culture as well as the music and culture of India.