Liberal Arts Courses
The Music of Laurel Canyon
This course encompasses the study of musicians who lived in Laurel Canyon, in Los Angeles, California, between the years 1964—1970, including Joni Mitchell; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Mama Cass; Frank Zappa; Jim Morrison, and many others. Students explore the evolution of popular music in this particular place and time. Students also examine the ways that the events and culture of the time contributed to this musical evolution, and the ways that the musical response affected culture. By exploring these connections, students come to see how songwriters engage with their environment as they attempt to write music that reaches and influences a large audience. The class emphasizes the importance of artists considering the world around them, and their place in it, as they create work that feels fulfilling to them, and also inspirational to others.
Artistry, Creativity, and Inquiry Seminar
The Artistry, Creativity, and Inquiry Seminar provides an introduction to the life of the creative and curious mind. In this course, students explore their own creative process, reflect on their life choice as a musician, and examine the role of the artist in society. Students learn how to ask questions and find answers about topics and issues that affect the choices they make personally, professionally, and creatively at Berklee and beyond college. Students also evaluate their abilities and interests in order to develop college and career goals, and to begin the process of selecting a major. In addition, students begin maintaining their Berklee College of Music electronic portfolio. Taught by faculty who also serve as students' first semester advisors, this course provides a creative and reflective atmosphere that encourages students to participate actively in their own learning. Students engage in discussion, getting to know the faculty member and each other.
Professional Development Seminar
The Professional Development Seminar provides an opportunity for students in their sixth semester to reflect upon their academic and professional experience at Berklee, prepare to complete their Berklee programs, and transition from college into the professional world and/or graduate school. Students evaluate their knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests as they develop and/or refine college and career goals. Students also explore their own identities and their professional and personal relationships as they reflect on the role of the artist in society generally and their role as a musician in their community specifically. Students learn business, entrepreneurship, legal, and communication skills, and address issues of business ethics. Additionally, students refine and redirect their Berklee College of Music electronic portfolio towards a professional model and explore issues of presentation and critique. The Professional Development Seminar provides a creative and reflective atmosphere that encourages students to participate in their own learning while preparing for their future.
Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Art
This course explores artistic expression through musical responses to poetry, dance, painting, film, photography, and other art forms. Through guided listening, viewing films and discussion, students learn to integrate the arts by preparing a performance. The class experiments and creates pieces to realize a synthesis of the arts. Artists to be examined include Paul Klee, Gunther Schuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris, Yo Yo Ma, and more. Collaborations among music students, dancers, writers, and visual artists are encouraged.
Creativity and Expression in the Arts
In this course, students explore the artistic and creative processes involved in jazz and examine the connections among jazz and different modes of artistic expression, including the connections among jazz performance and visual art forms. Students analyze the ways that different art forms influence their music performances and compositions. Students evaluate the expressive qualities found in music and other art forms, including dance, visual arts, literature, film and more. Students refine their own personal aesthetic through reflection, research, inventive performance, improvisation, composition and analysis. This course is team taught by a faculty member from Liberal Arts and a faculty member from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
What Is Being?
The motto of Berklee College of Music is Esse quam videri, a phrase from Cicero's essay On Friendship" which translates as "to be rather than to seem." This course gives students the opportunity to focus and reflect upon the differences between seeming and being and think deeply about existence self and image. Organized around three interrelated themes: seeming vs. being; performance on stage and in everyday life; and the power of images and illusion in contemporary culture the seminar requires students to consider real world issues by exploring in depth the great works of philosophy literature and psychology. The course includes the reading and discussion of Plato's Republic Machiavelli's The Prince Shakespeare's Hamlet and Cervantes' Don Quixote. Funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions grant LHUM-P410 is a unique opportunity for serious seminar-style exploration of a foundational issue in human thought.
Digital Narrative Theory and Practice
This course blends theory and practice in an exploration of digital narrative: how stories can be told with digital and new media technologies. We will work critically and creatively with linear and nonlinear narratives in a range of media: writing, graphics, animation, games, multimedia, virtual worlds, and interactive media. The overall theme of the course will focus on moving image narratives—both linear and nonlinear—that explore ideas about storytelling, time, and memory. In particular, we will consider how interactivity changes narrative, and whether there are new kinds of digital narratives and aesthetics emerging. Students will make movies, websites, DVDs, movies and online installations that illuminate ideas about story, plot, character, time, and narration; comment on their creative work using the critical concepts they learn; and experiment with word processing, graphics, and web design software programs.
This course is a study of the Japanese language focusing on spoken Japanese and everyday conversation techniques. The areas covered include reading and pronunciation of the written language as well as study of Japanese traditions, customs, and literature. This course will focus primarily on speaking and conversation. Note: This course is not available for credit to students for whom this is a first language.
LJPN-272 is a study of the Japanese language focusing on spoken Japanese and everyday conversational techniques. The course covers reading and pronunciation of the written language, and a continued study of Japanese traditions, customs, and literature. The emphasis will continue to be on speaking and conversation. Note: This course is not available for credit to students for whom this is a first language.
This course builds on the Japanese language skills students developed in Japanese 2. Students continue developing four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) through pattern drills and communicative activities. Students will learn additional sentence structures, functions, and grammatical patterns. 50 kanji characters will be introduced as students build their overall Japanese language communicative skills. Students are expected to fully master hiragana, katakana, and the 50 kanji. Upon the satisfactory completion of the course, students will be able to discuss their daily routines in Japanese.
This course builds on the Japanese language skills developed in Japanese 3. In this course students continue developing the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) through pattern drills, communicative activities, and tasks. Students learn 50 additional kanji characters. Students develop skills to learn to use complex sentences. Upon the satisfactory completion of the course, students will be able to speak, read, and write paragraphs on topics such as personal history, personal experiences, and familiar people and places.
20th-Century Women Songwriters
This course is a comprehensive study of influential female songwriters of the 20th century and their relationships with their cowriters and producers. Students explore the work of Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern, Laura Nyro, David Geffen, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Diane Warren, Jack White, and others, and examine these songwriters' inspirations, as well as their impact on subsequent writers. Students also study the interaction of these songwriters with other contemporary artists and thinkers, including other musicians, writers, and visual artists. Students analyze the influence of George and Ira Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and doo wop on the songwriters' work, as well as the songwriters' own personal and political lives. In addition, students analyze the elements that brought these exemplary songwriters to the top of the music industry at a very competitive time and investigate the combination of factors that led to success.