American Roots Music Minor

The American roots music minor will enhance a student’s knowledge of the musical basis of a wide range of American roots music styles while also exploring the historical and sociological components of these styles, which include, but are not limited to, country blues, old time, bluegrass, spirituals, early gospel, classic country, cajun, celtic, and other related offshoots. Designed for all instruments and ensemble ratings, the minor includes a survey course, as well as choices of ensembles and liberal arts courses. Upon completion of the minor, students will have a well-developed understanding of both the performance aspects of American roots music and the historical and cultural components that gave birth to these styles and through which they thrive.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the minor in American roots music, students will:

  • Develop performance skills in a variety of American roots music styles, including blues, country, and other rural idioms
  • Gain knowledge of the social and cultural context through which these styles evolved
  • Develop an understanding of the role of technology and the music industry in the creation, dissemination, and labeling of rural music
  • Integrate musical elements from these styles into contemporary compositions and performances
  • Analyze the relationship between musical elements of related styles
  • Apply critical thinking and practical reasoning to the study of American roots music

Required Courses

  • PFSS-P362 Survey of American Roots Styles (2 credits)

Ensemble Courses (choose three from the following)

  • ENGB-201 Klezmer Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENGB-223 Celtic Music (1 credit)
  • ENJZ-227 Django Reinhardt/Gypsy Jazz (1 credit)
  • ENJZ-326 New Orleans Street Band (1 credit)
  • ENPC-359 Berklee Bata Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENPN-266 Gospel Keyboard Techniques Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENRB-409 Music of Take 6, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo (1 credit)
  • ENRK-206 Blues-Rock Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENRT-200 Blues (1 credit)
  • ENRT-201 Acoustic Blues (1 credit)
  • ENRT-203 Traditional Gospel (1 credit)
  • ENRT-220 Spirituals (1 credit)
  • ENRT-300 Chicago Blues (1 credit)
  • ENRT-400 Bluegrass (1 credit)
  • ENRT-401 Country Music Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENRT-405 Reverence Gospel Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENRT-406 Old-Time/Appalachian Music (1 credit)
  • ENRT-P304 Acoustic Strings Workshop (1 credit)
  • ENST-132 Banjo Improvisation Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENST-222 Acoustic Roots Improvisation Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENST-223 Wayfaring Strangers Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENST-253 Old Time Fiddle Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENVC-P212 American Negro Spirituals (1 credit)

Liberal Arts Courses (choose one from the following)

  • LHIS-213 Early History of the Americas (3 credits)
  • LHIS-214 Modern History of the Americas (3 credits)
  • LHIS-224 Africana Studies: Sociology of Black Music in American Culture (3 credits)
  • LHIS-225 Africana Studies: The Theology of American Popular Music (3 credits)
  • LHIS-226 Africana Studies: Biographies in Black (Music, Lives, Meanings) (3 credits)
  • LHIS-321 America From the Jazz to the Digital Age (3 credits)
  • LSOC-P230 Gender and Country Music (3 credits)
  • LSOC-341 Irish and Celtic Culture, Film and Music (3 credits)
  • LSOC-375 New Blues for the Old South: Southern Culture and Change (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose from any of the following or from the above lists)

  • HR-251 Blues: Analysis and Application (2 credits)
  • ILBS-271 Blues Bass Lab (1 credit)
  • ILGT-119 Guitar Styles Skills Lab: Django Reinhardt (section-specific elective; 1 credit)
  • ILGT-215 Bottleneck Blues Lab (1 credit)
  • ILGT-228 Fingerpicking Blues Guitar (1 credit)
  • ILGT-247 Steel Guitar Lab (1 credit)
  • ILGT-249 Slide Guitar Lab (1 credit)
  • ILGT-285 Country Guitar Lab (1 credit)
  • ILPD-239 Country Drumming Styles (1 credit)
  • ILPD-361 New Orleans Drumming (1 credit)
  • ILPH-353 Native American Drumming Lab (1 credit)
  • ILPH-354 Bata Rhythms/Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming Lab (1 credit)
  • ENPN-266 Gospel Keyboard Techniques Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ILPN-337 Blues Styles for Hammond Organ (1 credit)
  • ILST-121 Jazz Violin Lab (1 credit)
  • ENST-131 Harp Improvisation Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENST-132 Banjo Improvisation Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENVC-221 Vocal Jazz History Ensemble (1 credit)
  • LHAN-241 African American History, Culture, and Music 1 (2 credits)
  • PFSS-P363 Bluegrass Traditions and Contemporary Trends (2 credits)
  • PSPR-345 Country Music (2 credits)
  • PSPR-361 Motown (2 credits)
  • PSIM-221 Improvisation Techniques for the Blues Player (2 credits)
  • PSIM-327 Improvisation in the Jazz/Blues Idiom (2 credits)

Seven courses or 12 credits required for completion of the minor.

For more information, contact

Professional Performance Division
1140 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
617 747-6276
Dean: Matt Marvuglio, mmarvuglio@berklee.edu
Artistic Director: Matt Glaser, mglaser@berklee.edu
Manager of Performance Division Programs: Julia Cuellar, jcuellar@berklee.edu