"We try to broaden the students' experience as much as possible. The work they may do on an alternative record, or a country record, or a jazz record, may support them later on when they're doing urban pop, just for ideas. Some of the more creative guys out there have a pretty good musical base. They've worked in a lot of arenas. They know not only how to get good vocals out of people, but also what works for the song. This is what's going to separate them from the kid down the street with the laptop and the beatboxes, who's got his stuff all over the Internet."
"There's such a spirit of excitement, enthusiasm, and interest from the students, and it causes you to look very carefully and deeply into what you're doing. And in so doing, you get better at both roles. When I'm teacher, I'm also a recording engineer. I'm not one or the other. I find that those different roles—as an engineer and a mixer and a producer, as well as a teacher—they really feed one another."
"The foundation of the MP&E program at Berklee is musical as opposed to technical. The focus first and foremost is the song and the production. The knob twisting and button pushing is always contextualized. Most of our engineering classes serve production classes. Students in the production classes 'hire' engineers from the engineering classes. It mimics the real world in that way."
"From the production side, it's easy to lose sight of that ultimate goal by getting 'lost in the toys.' Obviously when you're in school it's important to try out a lot of different techniques, and to get facile with the tools. But ultimately we want to make the technology disappear—to be in service of the process and the creative moment. We're trying to get out of the way, to be masters of the tools and not slaves to them.
"You can know every parameter of every piece of gear that you work with, but if you can't make your time in the studio enjoyable to the artist or make them feel comfortable enough to create, you're not very useful. I tell my students that the job is probably 40 percent knowledge of the gear and how it's used and 60 percent being a psychologist."
"A good producer needs perspective above all else. You need to be clear about what you've been hired for, what the artist's real goals are, what is possible and what is not within the confines of budget, ability, time, and personalities. And you need to be able to step back and know when to stop."
"If a course is working, my students are going to learn more about how their brains work, their instincts, their strengths, what's compelling to them, and what they gravitate towards. Students are required to articulate their goals and plans, then critique their own and each other's work. It sounds easy enough, but is often quite a challenge. Trying to describe what we're doing and why, and attempting to understand other students' motivations, often reveals biases and discontinuities in our own perspectives and assumptions. 'Why?' is often the hardest question."
"In technology, the only thing we can count on is change. So we prepare our students to go on learning, long after they have their Berklee degree. We believe the best way to do this is to foster critical thinking and adaptability, and give them a broad foundation of recording practices. Our goal is to mold versatile, well-rounded musicians with critical-listening skills, interpersonal skills, and a wide range of technical knowledge, balancing historical context with state-of-the-art methods."
"Our students are encouraged to explore something as abstract, slippery, and hard to define as art and approach it from the standpoint of the aesthetic and the technical. They go fairly deep in both directions and that is unusual. Berklee's not just an art school and it's not just a trade school."
"People take it for granted today that jazz is serious music worthy of the same disciplined study as classical music. But when Berklee began teaching jazz improvisation in the 1940s and rock guitar in the 1960s, most other music schools perceived those musical forms as a threat to 'serious' music. It's the same situation with hip-hop and turntablism today."