Contemporary Writing and Production Faculty

Tsunenori "Lee" Abe

labe@berklee.edu | 617 747-8068

"I'm trying to get students to analyze the music all the time. For instance, if you're a vocalist you probably will not focus on where the snare drum is placed. But if you know what's going on behind you, you can sing better, and you don't have to hire an arranger. I think you can learn the most by analyzing what you like. Why do I like it? Let's try to imitate at first and then make it our own."

Kurt Biederwolf

"The Music Synthesis major, particularly at the elective course level, is diverse by design. We are teaching our students to be highly creative with a wide variety of electronic tools. That creativity could take the form of composition, production, performance, sound design for film/television/video games, software design, or a unique combination of several forms. For some musicians, their identity is with their instrument. For us, it is an electronic sound palette put to innovative and musical use."

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."

Joe Carrier

jcarrier@berklee.edu | 617 747-2403

"Over the years, the business has seen a paradigm shift, where often a budget only allows for a small or even one-person team to bring a song, score, or jingle to fruition. The CWP major is unique in that it provides the student the skills to become a one-stop shop: the person who has the ability to compose, program, produce, edit, mix, and deliver the product, and negotiate a good price for their work. I'm fortunate to work with students who are about to graduate from CWP, and I desire to leave them with a renewed sense of what is possible for their future, armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to 'live the dream,' much as I have had the honor of doing for so many years."

Jon Chase

jchase@berklee.edu | 617 747-8204

"In Technology Tools and Sound Processing for Writers, I teach students to use more sophisticated audio tools to bring more sonic polish to their work. So much of today's music is being recorded in home studios and at personal computers—in hotel rooms, on airplanes, and in all sorts of places—and much of the recording process is done by artists themselves. So I want to give my students the skills to do it themselves as professionally as possible."

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."

Robert Doezema

rdoezema@berklee.edu | 617 747-8449

"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."

Bill Elliott

belliott@berklee.edu | 617 747-2859

"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."

Michael Farquharson

"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."

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."

Rich Grudzinski

"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."

Bernardo Hernandez

bhernandez@berklee.edu | 617 747-8321

"I encourage my students to do their homework as though they are going to use it as a professional somehow, somewhere. You never know. I show my students examples of assignments I did when I was a student that I still use. When I get ideas, I go back to my archives, and I can often put together whole songs very quickly."

David Howard

dhoward@berklee.edu | 617 747-8234

"The Contemporary Writing and Production Department gives you the chance to be involved in a lot of different aspects of music. You write, you arrange, there's a lot of production, so it covers a lot. CWP will prepare you for a variety of different directions. As a guitarist who plays a variety of musical styles, I draw on my experience to teach real-life situations in my classes."

Michael Johnson

mjjohnson@berklee.edu | 617 747-6050

"In CWP, students get some of the writing and some of the technological things, and you really need both of those nowadays. Gone are the days when you could just be a writer and not worry about the technology at all. The kind of versatility that we have built in to our program, I had to learn on my own through all the gigging I was doing and also working as a recording engineer. If I had come here and learned all that stuff then, it probably would have saved me a lot of time."

 

Manuel Kaufmann

mkaufmann@berklee.edu | 617 747-6241

"I teach Arranging 2 and Big Band Arranging. When I went to Berklee, I was a very reluctant arranging student. I just didn't think I needed it, and I wanted to become a studio musician. Taking all the other mandatory classes made sense, but arranging didn't. When would I ever arrange? It's funny that now I teach arranging and sell a lot of my arrangements. That's something that I try to instill in my students: You think you know what you want while you're here, but keep your mind open, because you have to be prepared when opportunities come up."

Wendy L. Klein

wklein@berklee.edu | 617 747-8476

"Everything we do in Writing Skills is tied to our ears, which is where it has its musical meaning. You can tell someone what something is called, but if you can't sing it or clap it or tap it, it doesn't have a whole lot of meaning. I tell students that the ability to hear clearly is probably the most important skill for a musician."

Javier Limon

Artistic Director of Mediterranean Music Institute, Contemporary Writing and Production
jlimon@berklee.edu | 617 747-6255
  • Seven-time Latin Grammy Award winner
  • Graduate of the Madrid Royal Conservatory
  • Composition and production credits include major albums by renowned artists such as Paco de Lucía, Bebo Valdes, El Cigala, Enrique Morente, Wynton Marsalis, and the acclaimed Spanish singer Concha Buika

Gail McArthur-Browne

"A lot of first-semester students are either away from home for the first time or in a foreign country for the first time, and it's a very daunting place for a lot of them. Some of them feel quite lost and very unsettled. I'm always there to listen, if they need someone to talk to, and I talk about what my experience was like coming from Scotland. I arrived at Logan airport with two suitcases and my saxophone, terrified out of my mind—I didn't know anybody in the whole continent—but then coming up Mass. Ave. in the cab and seeing that sign, Berklee College of Music, that was like winning the lottery."

Jan Moorhead

jmoorhead@berklee.edu | 617 747-2343

"Rather than just stuffing students with information, I want to get them to understand the principles behind the information, so that when they go out, they leave the class with an understanding of how things are organized and how to learn other things when presented with them. I want students to know how to be able to operate in a variety of circumstances. The single biggest issue is finding out how you learn, how to break things down, how to find out the atomic elements of the information you're being presented with, so that you don't get overwhelmed."

Daniel Moretti

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
dmoretti@berklee.edu | 617 747-8453

"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."

Matthew Nicholl

mnicholl@berklee.edu | 617 747-8456

"I understand what skills a writer needs to survive, and those are what I try to teach. To make a living and have a high professional quality of life, one needs to be able to write good music quickly. In the Contemporary Writing and Production Department, we train students to deal with any situation they might encounter as professional writers. The curriculum is not focused on any particular style. Instead, we deal with typical situations in which writers may find themselves in the music industry, be it music for radio, TV, electronic games, or multimedia; arranging and production for live performance and recording; writing original music; or producing other artists."

Andrea Pejrolo

apejrolo@berklee.edu | 617 747-8437

"At Berklee in general, and in our department especially, we strike the right path between the traditional composition and arranging techniques and the technological aspect of production. We teach the latest technology in terms of production, recording, and sequencing, but we also provide our students with the traditional orchestration techniques for acoustic ensembles, tools that are extremely valuable these days to any professional musician. I always strongly encourage my students to stay updated on new musical trends, new arranging techniques, new styles, and new technologies. Technology should be regarded as a tool to improve the quality of music and to help develop new musical idioms, but it is imperative for the student to sustain a balance that includes strong musicianship"

Jeff Perry

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jperry@berklee.edu | 617 747-8689

"I try to relate the class topics to real-life situations, what I had to go through, what I did professionally. This is the project that I want you to do, these are the guidelines. I'm the client, you're the artist. This is your job. You can also do another version of it that's more artistic for yourself, but you need to be able to fulfill the professional aspect of it. When you're out there writing jingles and the client wants it a specific way, you have to do it that way. Or you won't get called again."

Mark Poniatowski

"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.'"

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