The Core Music Curriculum
Berklee's core music curriculum comprises arranging, ear training, harmony, and music technology. These four subjects are the foundation of Berklee's educational offerings in music, and the entering student proficiency assessment and Introduction to Music Technology exam are designed to assess every entering student's knowledge base in each of these core curriculum fields.
The results of the proficiency assessment and Introduction to Music Technology exam allow Berklee to place each student in the appropriate first-semester arranging, ear training, harmony, and music technology courses.
Each of the four courses in the arranging curriculum for entering students explores different arranging concepts and techniques, guides students in refining and enhancing arranging abilities, and provides opportunities for creating musical arrangements in various styles of contemporary popular music. There is a sequential nature to the four courses, with each focusing on different and increasingly more complex aspects of arranging for rhythm section and/or combinations of trumpet, saxophones, and trombone.
The goal of the ear training core curriculum is to help music students master the basic components of musical craft; to assist music readers in hearing the music they are seeing; to aid writers in notating music they have composed or arranged; to help performers develop their musical vocabulary; and to assist listeners in understanding the music they are hearing.
Through the completion of the harmony core curriculum, students acquire musical literacy, analytical skills, and the ability to incorporate the topics they have studied into their own music. A thorough understanding of common harmonic practice, melodic development, and the relationship between melody and harmony in contemporary styles is important. An understanding of harmony provides musicians with a rich palette for future creative choices in performing and composing.
A demonstrated competency in music technology is integral to each student's Berklee education. Technology plays a significant role in almost every aspect of a successful music-related career. Additionally, it is a powerful teaching and learning tool utilized in many of the courses offered at the college. Covering a broad spectrum of basic and music-related computer skills, the music technology core curriculum provides students with a strong technology foundation on which to build the necessary skills required by each major and field of interest.