Casey Brefka, Assistant Professor
“As a Berklee student, playing with the Rainbow Band, the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra, and the Urban Outreach Orchestra was invaluable. We all got to absorb the experiences that Phil Wilson, Lin Biviano, and Greg Hopkins passed on to us. Picking their brains is not an experience a lot of people get."
“I play trumpet and started out as a performance major, but I was interested in writing—I’d started doing that a little bit in high school. So I decided to switch to a composition major and really dig into it. At first Phil knew me just as a lead player, but after I was in his band for a while, I mentioned to him that I was starting jazz composition, so he asked me to write a couple of charts for the Rainbow All-Stars. Once I got a little more confident I started writing charts for the big band. I ended up signing up for private lessons with Phil mostly just to talk about writing."
“I teach Arranging 1 and 2, which is really teaching students the tools they can use to express themselves. I want to hear how my students take the tools I’ve given them and the music they want to arrange and put their own stamp on it. That’s really what arranging is. You’re saying, ‘This is how I envision this song; I want other people to hear that.’ When I sit down and look at a blank piece of paper, I’m thinking, ‘What do I want to say? What do I want the people who listen to this to get from it?’"
“When it comes to pursuing a career in music, the main thing students should know is that it’s a long road. You have to take things as they come and not get too discouraged; as long as you keep working for what you want to do, you’ll find opportunities. For me, teaching at Berklee has been that kind of an opportunity. Music is what I love doing; I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m doing what like doing and getting paid to do it—and I can’t imagine anything better.”