"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."
"I had the opportunity to audition for a performance job at Old Sturbridge Village, which is a living history museum in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. I worked there both in a solo capacity and performing in small ensemble groups. I did recordings of early American folk music, specifically ladies' parlor ballads. The more I worked in that genre, the more interested I became in how women work in music and how folk music is such a powerful influence in so many women's lives. It was a way for women to express themselves, and it became a way for me to express myself, as well, and to sing, which is important to me."
“We have students coming from a classical music background who are interested in playing various vernacular styles—jazz and fiddle music, blues, pop—and then we also have fiddle players who learned by ear or through various traditional routes and who are interested in expanding their theoretical knowledge. That’s two very different approaches, although after a couple of years it all evens out. Usually they wind up expanding their taste buds a little bit, so they’re interested in more styles. There’s a string style for every country, usually four or five.”
"When I teach students jazz I always encourage them to learn from other musicians in their ensembles, or give them suggestions for records to listen to and solos to transcribe, or encourage them to play with different instruments. That's how I learned. That's what worked for me. I try not to overwhelm them with harmonic concepts at first but instead help them build a solid foundation and understanding of what the music is all about."
"We play a lot of current pop hits, and I bring those tunes into class and show my students what's coming through the Top 40 market. I show them what people like to hear at bars, what people like to dance to, and what songs are the big hits at night. I also bring in songs from the past 20 years, songs that people know, and we really look at the music so the students can understand the songs on a different level. We do a lot of singing in class, a lot of rhythm. I'll have some music playing in the background and I'll point to certain rhythms, and the students will clap over the consistent beat that's going on in the background."
"Love of music is our common bond in all my classrooms. With the education majors, it's love of teaching as well. In my tonal harmony course for education majors, we role play in our third hour: I become a high school student with the rest of the class, and one of the class members teaches. I show my students that you can maintain a certain degree of informality that is nevertheless infused with a sense of respect for the institution, for the teacher, and for the classroom."
"How to inspire a student—or whether I'm even supposed to inspire—is always a mystery. Sometimes I just play for them and that gets them excited. I also try to go hear my students perform, and go out of my way to give them positive feedback, because we're all our own harshest critics."
"A lot of times I work with students at identifying scales, chords, and improvisation approaches by ear while we're learning the fingerings and theory. Many people find it refreshing to increase their confidence about what things sound like, as opposed to being sure of having them under their hands or recognizing them on a page. In my own playing, I often sing and play in unison or octaves when I improvise on guitar or bass."
"I think the faculty at Berklee are very engaged individually with the students, because a lot of what the students do is more creative, more individualized. I think people are more receptive to letting the students be a little freer. I have them do a presentation using visuals, or videos and visuals. They will often incorporate music into the presentations. They get very, very creative."