Contemporary Writing and Production Faculty

Ron Reid

rreid@berklee.edu | 617 747-8331

"I encourage all my students—particularly the arranging students—to 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 it—getting to know people personally and learning how they develop their individual sounds."

Loudon Stearns

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
lstearns@berklee.edu | 617 747-8606

"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."

Jim Stinnett

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jstinnett@berklee.edu | 617 747-8366
  • B.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • Performances with Kai Winding, Buddy DeFranco, Anita O'Day, Red Garland, Phineas Newborn, Tal Farlow, Mel Torme, Diane Schuur, and Roy Haynes
  • Guest appearance with Phish
  • Author of The Music of Paul Chambers and Creating Bass Lines

Jeri Sykes

Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jsykes@berklee.edu | 617 747-8670

"I do a lot of work in musical theater and I worked as a designer for theater as well. I'm very fond of theater music and I play show tunes in class. That kind of music is very highly arranged, and comes in all kinds of styles, so it's great for arranging classes."

Gates Thomas

gthomas1@berklee.edu | 617 747-2531
  • B.A., Northwestern University
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist, violinist, and conductor
  • Performances with Choral Chameleon, Rosemary Clooney, Paula Cole, Bill Conti, Christian Fabian, Matt Garrison, Abe Laboriel Jr., and the New American Orchestra of Chicago, and Sadao Watanabe
  • Recordings with Gary Burton, Jim Hall, m-pact, and John Scofield

Chrissy Tignor-Fisher

ctignor@berklee.edu | 617 747-2479

"I want students to be able to experience what it's actually going to be like in the real world versus just a classroom setting. I want their work to be able to used either as a portfolio or as professional work. Maybe if they've never done technology before, by the end of my class they'll be able to excel in that, or at least be able to get work in that field, because the most important thing, especially for Contemporary Writing and Production majors, is being able to be versatile, and being able to do several different things."

Nicholas Urie

nurie@berklee.edu | 617 747-6340

"I make a living doing the things that I teach in class. I write arrangements of jazz and pop music for recordings, concerts, and television broadcasts. I speak passionately about the subject because it is not a theoretical exercise for me; I am living it. I try to make my classroom reflect my reality in the professional world. I assess my students given where they are in their education, but I also try to assess them as someone outside the Berklee community would. They’ll get two grades from me on their projects: the student grade and the grade they would get outside of Berklee. I like to think of myself as their client. From week to week I am commissioning them, and I expect them to wow me every time."

David Zoffer

dzoffer@berklee.edu | 617 747-6030

"I get really fired up when I point out all the little magical things that different players in a band do, what makes a particular player's or arranger's contribution unique, and how that expresses something for the whole piece. It's important to really commit to learning everything that's going on inside that music and its context. You throw yourself into it, and when you come out, that's really when you learn. You can't just dip your toe in the water, you have to drink from the fire hose. Then you can decide how much you want to take away from the experience."

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