Woodwinds Faculty

Jackie Beard

Professor, Woodwinds
jbeard@berklee.edu | 617 747-2678

"Times have changed a lot, and the music industry has changed a lot, but if you're a really well-rounded player, the industry and the times can continue to change as much as they want to; you'll be fine. My personal musical passion is within the jazz idiom, be it mainstream or straight-ahead; however, being well rounded and versatile is what allows me to play a rap gig with a back-beat track and smoke it. The skills are always applicable."

George Garzone

Professor, Woodwinds
ggarzone@berklee.edu | 617 747-8188

"If you're going to play free, it's up to you. You got it. I'm not going to yell directions to the ensemble or the soloists as they play. You got it. If the music stops and you're flailing, that's your problem. It's up to you to pick it up and make it happen. That happens to everyone; the music comes to a settling point and now it's up to someone to pick the ball up and go with it."

Dino Govoni

Assistant Professor, Woodwinds
dgovoni@berklee.edu | 617 747-8315

"A good saxophonist, first and foremost, has to have a tremendous sound. Without a great sound, there is only noise. Secondarily, he or she needs a strong command of the instrument. The saxophone is a great instrument for demonstrating speed and dexterity. The saxophone is also one of the most expressive instruments. It probably resembles the human voice most closely in flexibility and nuance, as well as the personality of the sound. Every saxophonist has a personal sound."

Jeff Harrington

Professor, Woodwinds

"Years of performing have taught me a lot about what it takes to prepare and practice for a successful performance. That includes everything from dealing with bizarre sound systems to understanding how to blend with players I've never played with before. In addition to practicing, hands-on experience (on-the-job-training) is the only way to develop as a musician and to ultimately arrive at the consistency we all strive for."

Barbara LaFitte

Professor, Woodwinds
blafitte@berklee.edu | 617 747-8489

"The possibilities for the oboist at Berklee are endless. My students tend to be more open-minded to the possibilities. They are not afraid to experiment with different repertoire, or to think 'outside of the Bachs.' They can study and transcribe works by jazz oboists such as Paul McCandless, Jean-Luc Fillon, and Nancy Rumbel. This variety keeps both myself and my students open-minded and willing to explore all musical genres." 

Shannon LeClaire

Associate Professor, Woodwinds
sleclaire@berklee.edu | 617 747-8490

"Berklee's phenomenal for a few reasons. One, at no other school are you going to get this choice of teachers. Two, students are always jamming, in ensembles and after-school sessions, because there are so many students here. And three, the theory and ear training here is really applicable, whereas at a normal college, the program is classical theory. While it's great background, it doesn't really apply. Here you learn it on your horn and you can use it immediately, and that's a good thing."

Fred Lipsius

Associate Professor, Woodwinds
flipsius@berklee.edu | 617 747-8259

"I teach private instruction for saxophone, focusing on getting a good sound, reading, and improvisation. Sometimes a lesson turns out to be more like a counseling session. Students are always going  through stress, family problems, anxiety, etc. So we just talk. . . . I try to be a good listener. One problem some individuals have is how to use their time wisely in order to accomplish their goals/dreams. A suggestion I've given is to write down on a piece of paper a plan for the week, month, or semester. I think this is very helpful for kids who are scattered or lack discipline. I tell them that I have to make choices every day, too. It's all about priorities in one's life and making good choices."

Jim Odgren

Professor, Woodwinds
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
jodgren@berklee.edu | 617 747-2563
  • Alumnus, Berklee College of Music
  • Alto saxophonist
  • Member of East West Standard Time
  • Performances with Gary Burton, Steve Swallow, and JoAnne Brackeen
  • Recordings with Gary Burton, Hiromi Uehara, Vinnie Colaiuta, Antonio Sanchez, Victor Mendoza, Michael Brecker, and Jim Kelly
  • Major publications include Saxophone Quintet Arrangements for Advance Music and Berklee Practice Method - Alto Sax

Mia Olson

Professor, Woodwinds
molson@berklee.edu | 617 747-8458

"I feel that the school environment should be opening students to try different things. Then they gather what works well for them, and ultimately it creates their own voice. I try to be very open and all-inclusive, and I also try to approach a particular topic in a bunch of different ways: visually, aurally, and kinesthetically. Since a lot of woodwind students are classically trained, I want them to have the freedom to be able to explore and try new things, to free the mind from negative self-talk and just go ahead, dive in, and take a chance and explore. When you're in school, it's the time for exploration, for seeing what's out there rather than being close minded. So I do teach classical students, but I also teach people who are interested in branching out in other types of improvisation."

Margaret Phillips

Associate Professor, Woodwinds
mphillips@berklee.edu | 617 747-8528

"Most of my students are not performance majors, so I see them coming from all fields of study at Berklee, such as MP&E and music therapy. I focus on sound bassoon technique, great tone production, and the ability to sight read well, because you're only as good as your sight reading! I try to develop critical listeners, so that whatever field in which they end up, they still know what a good sound is."

Bill Pierce

Chair, Woodwinds
bpierce@berklee.edu | 617 747-2437

"Playing with Art Blakey's and Tony Williams's bands, I really felt a part of a jazz lineage. And I was able to play with them long enough to be part of a living, growing organism. Over a period of time playing with the same people, the music morphs into something more than the composer may have intended. It develops into more than the sum of its parts. Because of that experience, I can convey to students the significance of a group concept, a band concept. Music is a source of communication between people, regardless of whether you want to be a star or not."

Wendy Rolfe

Professor, Woodwinds
wrolfe@berklee.edu | 617 747-8337

"Performers have to wed the physical to the emotional and the creative. Poor posture can lead to injury, so I try to work on helping students get their bodies into a relaxed but aware position. I study the Alexander Technique, which is a way to align the body and work on breathing. But the most important thing for me is that my students keep their love of music, and that they’ll have the tools to impart that to other people. I also hope they develop ways to become their own teachers. That’s what we’re all striving for—to become our own teachers."

Harry Skoler

Professor, Woodwinds
hskoler@berklee.edu | 617 747-8334

"I tell students to try to have a long-range goal of five years, a shorter-range goal of a year, and then we start breaking it down to what we want to do by next week. And of course, what are we going to do today? Then we can jot down some short notes, and look at it every few weeks and evaluate. The plan can always be altered over time. I always tell them that if they more than double their age, I'm still older than they are, so they have so much time on this planet! Don't worry about the time pressure. Things need to cook at their own rate. As long as you're enjoying the moment—that's it, stop there. Have a generalized plan, but you can reevaluate at any point. Take the pressure off. Enjoy what you're doing."

Bill Thompson

Assistant Professor, Woodwinds
wthompson@berklee.edu | 617 747-8381

"Some students may know a great deal about harmony and be adept at hearing and identifying chords, yet they cannot read a note of music. Some are great performers and can sing with great persuasion, yet they can't read a note. For these students, formal ear training at Berklee introduces them to general facts and musical situations they've never encountered before. It helps them understand the make-up of music's mathematical systems, like note values and time durations, as well as the whole idea of connecting rhythms and melodies to make up a complete musical thought or phrase."

Frank Tiberi

Professor, Woodwinds
ftiberi@berklee.edu | 617 747-2266

"I take a very technical approach. You must know your notes and tonalities, and not play by ear. One thing that I really emphasize is to be able to use restraint, texture, and balance in your approach, in your 'deceptive inserts' and other things which require a lot of technical knowledge. A lot of students can come in and just move their fingers around, but when they play a ballad, where does it come from? Where's the restraint? Of course you're not going to be playing a ton of technical things in a beautiful ballad that should be really heard soulfully."