Berklee Online Faculty

Prince Charles Alexander

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online

"I want to create, in my classroom, an environment that closely mirrors my experience in the real world. I'm a former recording artist, a producer, an engineer. . . . I've managed, I've done tour support, I've done live sounds. . . . So I want to teach my students how to survive in the music business and put them in as many realistic situations as possible. If you're going to take advantage of this educational process, you need to investigate as many of those tangents as possible. You never know when one of them might be the one that opens the door."

Peter Alhadeff

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
palhadeff@berklee.edu | 617 747-8102

"We are a cutting-edge department with a frontier kind of presence in the industry. All of the faculty are well informed on current developments. We bring that into the classroom and mix that with the content you need to know if you want to work in the business. You need to know about legal aspects, business start-ups, and have a very keen eye on where technology change is taking the business."

Larry Baione

Chair, Guitar
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
lbaione@berklee.edu | 617 747-2294

"In teaching private lessons, I help students find repertoire to work on and to study the essentials of phrasing, soloing, chords, and technique. The goal is for the student to be able to sound the way he or she would like to sound—for them to take their instrument in whatever direction they would like. I also teach a recital prep lab. In that case, the object is to gain experience playing in front of people and to discover what a good performance means to each individual student."

Bruce Bartlett

Associate Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
bbartlett@berklee.edu | 617 747-8424

"The best thing about teaching or learning how to play music is the balance between technical information and whatever your heart and soul feels. Hopefully the technical information is only the vehicle for what you're really trying to do. I want my students to stay focused through the ups and downs, and to trust in what they believe in. I try to reinforce that they should learn as much as they can and be as versatile as possible, because the competition is very high. I also tell them to respect and learn from the past as they're trying to go forward."

Jeff Baust

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jbaust@berklee.edu | 617 747-8585

"The technology and tools of music synthesis are changing at an incredible speed. Berklee has been really good at making sure that students have the latest tools in their hands, both in the studios and through the Berklee laptop program. No matter what the tool, however, faculty know and impart upon the students the commonalities of all of those tools. We don't teach just the button pushing for today's technology, but how to achieve effective music and sound design with any set of tools. We want students to sit down at the newest synthesis software tool, and say, 'I know what I'm looking for; the question is, where are they hiding it?'"

Kevin Belz

Assistant Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
kbelz@berklee.edu | 617 747-2738

"I try to teach the way I learned how to play. I use more ear-type training than music and hand-out sheets. In the real world, on gigs, 90 percent of the time you just get a CD to learn tunes. I have the students transcribe songs, not necessarily writing them down, but a lot of learning by ear, a lot of call and response stuff, transcriptions off records and CDs."

Mitch Benoff

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
mbenoff@berklee.edu | 617 747-2397

"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."

Michael Bierylo

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
mbierylo@berklee.edu | 617 747-8275

"I developed an elective called Sound Design for Animation. . . . Mass Art students studying animation pair off with Berklee students and collaborate on developing sound design for their projects. It's interesting to watch Berklee students negotiate with Mass Art students, not just about what the music and sound is going to be—there's also timetables and scheduling meetings and the whole idea of the interpersonal relationship you have. How do you talk to a visual artist? How do you listen to what he's saying and parse that into specific musical ideas? That's the kind of stuff I could go into a classroom and do a lecture on, but you really don't learn it until you start doing it with people."

Kevin Block-Schwenk

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online

"The trick is to present the material in a way that is unique to Berklee. There might be classes with similar names at other institutions, but they're going to be nothing at all like what students are going to get here, because pretty much every problem in math involves music in some way. We calculate the frequencies of notes under various tuning systems, looking at the math behind it. In economics and statistics, most of the articles we read are related to the music industry."

Dan Bowden

Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
dbowden@berklee.edu | 617 747-8124

"What draws students to my private lesson studio are the instrumental labs that I develop, which deal with acoustic blues, slide guitar, and bottleneck guitar. An important goal of mine has been to expand on what would be the typical blues education—trying to round out the blues students we have playing modern electric blues style by imparting some historical perspective along with traditional blues skills that are still viable in today's music, when you look at Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Taj Mahal, or people like Keb' Mo'."

 

Sarah Brindell

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
sbrindell@berklee.edu | 617 747-2745

"I tell my entry-level students in Contemporary Writing and Production that we'll progress very quickly from 'this is a quarter note' to composing an entire score. I encourage students to bring in the music they love, and we learn how to write it. I have a really eclectic international mix of students with lots of different musical tastes and backgrounds. That's one of my favorite things about the class—it's really fun to delve into so many different styles of music."

Sharon Broadley-Martin

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online

"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."

Sharon Brown

Associate Professor, Voice
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
sbrown@berklee.edu | 617 747-8128

"I want students to be as free, as open, and as honest as possible so that I can see their true performance rather than something they're putting on. But finding your individual style is a natural part of growth. Our job is to wean students away from the radio in their head and foster their own talent. But I think it's a process, rather than simply saying, 'Don't try to sound so much like so-and-so.'"

Allan Chase

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
aschase@berklee.edu | 617 747-2853

"Ear training is a tool that allows you to express what you hear, what you want to play, and what you want to sound like. It allows you to interact with other musicians. If you're in a group that has any element of improvisation or surprise in it—which most popular contemporary music, jazz, and all sorts of world music have—ear training is what allows you to hear what somebody else is doing and respond to it with something that fits and isn't an accident, but is intentional and meaningful, and has feeling and confidence behind it. When you have a good ear it makes your rhythm better, because you're not hesitant, you're confident."

Robert Christopherson

Associate Professor, Piano
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online

"From my own background as a performer, I've learned how to prepare for a concert, how to choose the right musicians, how to choose the order of songs, and how to deal with the nerves factor. I've also had a lot of experience with other, less obvious aspects of performance, such as promotion, warming up, and memorization. I draw on this experience in my teaching."

David Clark

Professor, Bass
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
dclark@berklee.edu | 617 747-8144

"One of the roles of a teacher is to help students gain a panoramic awareness of music, and what to work on. I try to expand my students' awareness of being part of a rhythm section, which is like the shaman's drum. It's important to develop a rhythmic quality and robustness of sound that ignites the imagination of the performers and listeners, and a groove that has a transformative effect. A common pitfall is to play too busily, instead of understanding one's role within the group. I tell my students that we need to listen beyond our own performances in order to clearly hear and identify with the sound of the whole group."

Suzanne Dean

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
sdean@berklee.edu | 617 747-8431

"A lot of the music that I wrote at Berklee as student projects in the '80s ended up on my solo albums. Many times I have told my students that if you put a lot into your time at Berklee, you can get a lot out of it. It's a great place to begin working on your dreams."

Beth Denisch

Professor, Composition
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
bdenisch@berklee.edu | 617 747-2809

"My job as a faculty member is to teach students new skills and how to access resources that will help them find their own voices. Through exposure to new musics, and through modeling and experimentation, students experience which materials, styles, and techniques resonate within them and they then 'make it their own.' I think Berklee students have more of an opportunity to do that than students of other schools where they may be exposed to less varied styles of music."

Mike Denneen

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
mdenneen@berklee.edu | 617 747-6249

 

"I'm teaching MP-320, Producing for Records. Really, it's a full semester with one goal. The first half, they do demos of a couple of songs, and the second half, they do a full recording. That means a little detours with different songs, maybe, or trying out different things, but in the second half, they get their studio time, and they get really focused. They pick their own artist. It's got to be a Berklee song and a Berklee artist. It's all connected with the engineering class and the mix class. It's a project with three different courses involved, so they're all integrated and coordinated."

 

David Doms

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
ddoms@berklee.edu | 617 747-8516

"It's a nice spot to be in, to be able to draw back on some of the things in the analog world, some of the physical tools we've had post-World War to now, but also to have this whole digital tool set. It's pretty incredible. We've realized how crucial it is for the student to get exposed to this, even the ones who aren't synth majors. Part of what we do is to make sure those students get exposure and learn how to use what's on their laptop, which is pretty extensive."

Jeff Dorenfeld

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jdorenfeld@berklee.edu | 617 747-8105

"The music business is about relationships, at every level. Which means that if you're the manager of an artist, you are the first person that someone from the record label or an agency is going to meet. So their judgment is of you—even before your artists. You can have an effect on whether they're going to be interested in your artist."

Andy Edelstein

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
aedelstein@berklee.edu | 617 747-2396

"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."

Jerry Gates

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jgates@berklee.edu | 617 747-8411

"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."

Gabrielle Goodman

Professor, Voice
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
ggoodman@berklee.edu | 617 747-8349

"A good singer has beautiful tone quality, a good sense of pitch, rhythm, phrasing, and stylistic interpretation. A good singer also has a clear understanding of how to deliver the meaning of the song and an emotional connection to the music. Singers must be sensitive to what is going on around them harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically. Things aren't just going to happen by osmosis. And of course, they must have tenacity, the willingness to work to become better."

Don Gorder

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
dgorder@berklee.edu | 617 747-2517

"Berklee's core curriculum of harmony, ear training, etc., contributes to the music business/management major's lifelong enjoyment of music. No matter how far our students go in the business realm, being able to relate to music as musicians will add much to their lives. Personally, my musical experience has enhanced my understanding of the tension points in the art/commerce dichotomy, and how to soften the conflict."

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