Student, teacher, chair, dean, vice president, road warrior: Larry Monroe has done it all during his 40-year career at Berklee. He has also been an inspiring mentor and leader to generations of students and faculty, many of whom will perform original tunes and arrangements spanning Monroe’s career. With special guests Giovanni Tomasso and Donald Harrison.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."