"Nobody comes to Berklee to study ear training, and yet what we do here is the most practical thing. What we're dealing with are long-term musicianship skills that are not for any particular style, but are important to all musical styles. It's really not about style at all. It's about the musical language that's common to all musical forms. We're developing long-term learning skills that, really, you're not going to digest for five or ten years. So we do our best to make it challenging and rewarding to every musician. What we're doing is building a style-neutral method for musical learning, one that will take many years to master."
"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."
"I tell my entry-level students in Contemporary Writing and Production that we'll progress very quickly from 'this is a quarter note' to composing an entire score. I encourage students to bring in the music they love, and we learn how to write it. I have a really eclectic international mix of students with lots of different musical tastes and backgrounds. That's one of my favorite things about the class—it's really fun to delve into so many different styles of music."
"I try to relate the class topics to real-life situations, what I had to go through, what I did professionally. This is the project that I want you to do, these are the guidelines. I'm the client, you're the artist. This is your job. You can also do another version of it that's more artistic for yourself, but you need to be able to fulfill the professional aspect of it. When you're out there writing jingles and the client wants it a specific way, you have to do it that way. Or you won't get called again."
"The Contemporary Writing and Production Department gives you the chance to be involved in a lot of different aspects of music. You write, you arrange, there's a lot of production, so it covers a lot. CWP will prepare you for a variety of different directions. As a guitarist who plays a variety of musical styles, I draw on my experience to teach real-life situations in my classes."
"My students are composing on notation software. There's immediate feedback, of course, from using the computer, but the music's not going to sound that way with live players. That's often eye-opening for students used to hearing their work on the computer. So I tell my students to write every day and find a way to get some players to play it so they'll get to know what their music is really supposed to sound like."
"I think it's interesting for students to see how a piece evolves over time from an initial demo to a full arranged piece for recording. They get an appreciation for what arranging music is all about. They can see the initial compositional ideas and the initial ideas for the basic bass, drums, guitar, and keyboard tracks, then see the piece evolve with additional guitar tracks, horn and string tracks, and vocal tracks."
"Professional Writing has to do with all the music that is composed. We try to encompass all the styles that are happening today, all the way from contemporary classical to hip-hop. Although we work with older music, our focus is on what's happening now—which keeps us on our toes. There's been a real blending of musical styles, and Berklee is a perfect place to do that because we have so many faculty experts in all these areas."
"Berklee is a practical music school, for people aspiring to make a living from music. I like to think of us all as journeymen. These are the people working hard every day, under the radar—all the people creating the music we hear on the various broadcast media, all the great writer/producers, the great engineers."
"I encourage all my studentsparticularly the arranging studentsto 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 itgetting to know people personally and learning how they develop their individual sounds."