"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"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."