"My students are composing on notation software. There's immediate feedback, of course, from using the computer, but the music's not going to sound that way with live players. That's often eye-opening for students used to hearing their work on the computer. So I tell my students to write every day and find a way to get some players to play it so they'll get to know what their music is really supposed to sound like."
"I think it's interesting for students to see how a piece evolves over time from an initial demo to a full arranged piece for recording. They get an appreciation for what arranging music is all about. They can see the initial compositional ideas and the initial ideas for the basic bass, drums, guitar, and keyboard tracks, then see the piece evolve with additional guitar tracks, horn and string tracks, and vocal tracks."
"Berklee is a practical music school, for people aspiring to make a living from music. I like to think of us all as journeymen. These are the people working hard every day, under the radar—all the people creating the music we hear on the various broadcast media, all the great writer/producers, the great engineers."
"I encourage all my studentsparticularly the arranging studentsto experience as much live music as possible. It's really not only about what you can achieve with your computer and your sequencer. You have to go listen to bands, talk to musicians, ask them a lot of questions, become friends with them. Music is about experiencing itgetting to know people personally and learning how they develop their individual sounds."
"In the real world, particularly in film scoring, you're always struggling to get many minutes of music recorded in a short amount of time, so it's essential to use the time efficiently. You have to make your intentions clear—to answer players' questions before they have to ask them and take away from your precious time. You also have to write for the situation; so much professional work involves writing music that is easy to rehearse, easy to sight-read, easy to play, and easy to record. You can write something brilliant, but you might need three hours to rehearse it."
"We want Contemporary Writing and Production graduates to be strong enough to work within any professional environment. We would like them to be able to say 'Yes!' to anyone who wants a project written, arranged, or produced in a contemporary music setting. I try to give students the life skills to allow them to do anything in the music world."
"Being versatile is extremely important. And Berklee is the ideal place to try everything. You're contained in a building where you live and breathe music, surrounded by 3,000 musicians who all love to play. You're exposed to all these different styles and musicians who can play those different styles. I always encourage my students not to work on what they already know. I tell them, 'You don't want to go out the door just knowing the same thing you came in knowing.'"
"I'm interested in making sure students 'get it' as opposed to just letting them survive on their own, so to speak. Sometimes students will do a project, and they don't get it right. They always have the opportunity to redo it, and I'll look at that new one and forget about the other one. In the music tech courses that I teach, it's very hands-on. So they dive into the software—they learn it however they like to learn—and I go over the technique. Then in Writing Skills, I drill them on the writing. It's just a lot of practice—it's kind of like ear training in that way. And the students invariably get it."
"I like making the content for the online classes. It's a more relaxed atmosphere, just sitting in your office deciding how best to present this material. Is it best presented with a video, with a piece of text, with a custom app that Berkleemusic makes for me? Some of the things I do online I can't do in the classroom. I do a series of videos where the student sees my hands on the keyboard, sees the Ableton program right there, and it has my voiceover. In the classroom I don't have a camera guy at my back. Another of the things I do is like a VH1 pop-up video. You watch the waveform of the tune, but every time that I hear something important, a little observation pops up."
"Writing and singing, singing and writing—these are things I've done since I was very young. Now I teach vocal writing in the Contemporary Writing and Production Department. Here is the perfect place to give my students, many of whom are primarily instrumentalists, the inside scoop on writing and arranging for vocalists and vocal ensembles."