"Many of the technical tools and methods used today in the recording studio are quickly going to become obsolete, and it's important for the contemporary music production and engineering student to have an education that's going to allow them to not only change with the new technologies, but help invent them as well. I think it offers a student the opportunity to create careers in all segments of the audio industry."
"I want to create, in my classroom, an environment that closely mirrors my experience in the real world. I'm a former recording artist, a producer, an engineer. . . . I've managed, I've done tour support, I've done live sounds. . . . So I want to teach my students how to survive in the music business and put them in as many realistic situations as possible. If you're going to take advantage of this educational process, you need to investigate as many of those tangents as possible. You never know when one of them might be the one that opens the door.
"A good producer needs perspective above all else. You need to be clear about what you've been hired for, what the artist's real goals are, what is possible and what is not within the confines of budget, ability, time, and personalities. And you need to be able to step back and know when to stop."
"Recording music is taking part in a kind of alchemy—you're transforming intangible, cerebral ideas into something real, something physical. It's a sort of magic. And you're working with material that is personal, emotional. Appreciating that and being sensitive to it is one of the most important things we can teach. Studio work is social. You can't do it without the technical knowledge, but you can't do it well without fostering a good creative environment. That's something I really want to pass along, because it isn't something that books can really teach, but it's the kind of thing that gets you work or not; it's the kind of thing that gets a record made well or not."
"We try to broaden the students' experience as much as possible. The work they may do on an alternative record, or a country record, or a jazz record, may support them later on when they're doing urban pop, just for ideas. Some of the more creative guys out there have a pretty good musical base. They've worked in a lot of arenas. They know not only how to get good vocals out of people, but also what works for the song. This is what's going to separate them from the kid down the street with the laptop and the beatboxes, who's got his stuff all over the Internet."
Vice President for Curriculum and Program Innovation, Academic Affairs,
"My teaching style has always been one that encourages self-reflection and discovery. I like to push my students to be self-motivated. For me, it isn't about the grades they will receive, but rather the knowledge and skill set they can build on. Assignments always have the capacity to be completed to the level the student is capable of, and by witnessing other students' work, they can see different approaches to the same task. I'm never expecting to see students complete their assignments in exactly the same way as their peers."
"I'm teaching MP-320, Producing for Records. Really, it's a full semester with one goal. The first half, they do demos of a couple of songs, and the second half, they do a full recording. That means a little detours with different songs, maybe, or trying out different things, but in the second half, they get their studio time, and they get really focused. They pick their own artist. It's got to be a Berklee song and a Berklee artist. It's all connected with the engineering class and the mix class. It's a project with three different courses involved, so they're all integrated and coordinated."
"If a course is working, my students are going to learn more about how their brains work, their instincts, their strengths, what's compelling to them, and what they gravitate towards. Students are required to articulate their goals and plans, then critique their own and each other's work. It sounds easy enough, but is often quite a challenge. Trying to describe what we're doing and why, and attempting to understand other students' motivations, often reveals biases and discontinuities in our own perspectives and assumptions. 'Why?' is often the hardest question."
"With more than 24 years of music industry experience in London, Los Angeles, and Boston as a recording engineer, mixer, and producer, and more than 7 years of teaching audio, I bring a depth of technical knowledge in both the analog and digital realms and a wide breadth of professional music industry experience to the instruction of music production and engineering."
“As far back as I can remember I always knew I would end up doing something music-related, but it wasn't until I discovered music production and engineering that I truly found my voice. It fits like a glove, since it blends a highly creative and philosophical endeavor with a highly precise, tangible, and technical craft, and the convergence of those elements go totally in line with my personality and passions. I’m drawn to understanding people, emotions, and things, to figure out how to use and combine elements for an emotional outcome. That’s what I do in this profession: I communicate with musicians as human beings, try to really understand the emotional connection that moved them to make music, and figure out how to capture and bring out 110% of their message (and in doing so, also my own).”
"The ongoing goals for the Music Production and Engineering Department are centered in three critical areas: curriculum, faculty, and facilities. Every topic, class, and assignment has been evaluated for its relevance, emphasis, timing, and balance. And with 12 studios operating 22 hours per day, seven days per week, it is critical to maintain a state-of-the-art technical infrastructure."
"The culture of Berklee, as well as the curriculum, recognizes that technology is every bit the instrument as is a saxophone, piano, guitar, or any other musical instrument. Students must be proficient on their tech instruments just as they would their musical instruments. But being a professional requires transcending the proficiency on your instrument and focusing on a deeper communication in creative and artistic ways. It is my goal to bring my students to that understanding."
"There's such a spirit of excitement, enthusiasm, and interest from the students, and it causes you to look very carefully and deeply into what you're doing. And in so doing, you get better at both roles. When I'm teacher, I'm also a recording engineer. I'm not one or the other. I find that those different roles—as an engineer and a mixer and a producer, as well as a teacher—they really feed one another."
"I teach exactly what happens in the real world, and I'll summarize what's going on in my recording studio that week—the good and the bad. I acquaint students with the business process; how we estimate how long jobs will take, how we do bids, what the competitive market place is like; how we engineer and master audio, what equipment we use. In the summer, I have an associate's program, where I'll hire four or five extra engineers from the student body, or from qualified applicants who send me resumés. I generally hire some of those students after graduation. Out of the six engineers I have working now, five of them are Berklee grads."
"You can know every parameter of every piece of gear that you work with, but if you can't make your time in the studio enjoyable to the artist or make them feel comfortable enough to create, you're not very useful. I tell my students that the job is probably 40 percent knowledge of the gear and how it's used and 60 percent being a psychologist."
"The big advantage of being here is to have the ability to try different types of technology—not only the latest one but the original ones at the same time. Not only the most expensive microphone but a cheap one and lots of them in between. The fact that I started my career in a third-world country and lived in another third-world country for several years gave me the perspective of being forced to work only with limited resources most of the time, trying to be creative with whatever you have, not whatever you would like to have."
"In the late '90s I produced a hit record with Barenaked Ladies. I took my royalty check and quit the music business, and in 2000 enrolled as a freshman at the University of Minnesota. I went to McGill University in Montreal to do my graduate work in music perception and cognition. This branch of psychology explores musical behaviors from the psycho- and neurological perspective, in other words, the what, where, how, when, and why of human musical experience. Berklee hired me to teach engineering and production, but also to help implement a more music-centric science program in the Liberal Arts department. They encouraged me to design courses in music cognition and psychoacoustics."
“Music production is almost like creative writing: You can’t teach someone exactly how to do it. You can give overall guidelines, but you have to let students learn by experience. I teach the philosophy behind good producing and the aesthetics of production—how to balance art and commerce. I particularly enjoy talking about the history of recording, which is really the history of 20th-century music—just a blip in the whole history of music. Recordings, and changes in the way we record music, affect the way we listen to and play music."
- B.S., Computer Science, Middle Tennessee State University
"From the production side, it's easy to lose sight of that ultimate goal by getting 'lost in the toys.' Obviously when you're in school it's important to try out a lot of different techniques, and to get facile with the tools. But ultimately we want to make the technology disappear—to be in service of the process and the creative moment. We're trying to get out of the way, to be masters of the tools and not slaves to them.
"In technology, the only thing we can count on is change. So we prepare our students to go on learning, long after they have their Berklee degree. We believe the best way to do this is to foster critical thinking and adaptability, and give them a broad foundation of recording practices. Our goal is to mold versatile, well-rounded musicians with critical-listening skills, interpersonal skills, and a wide range of technical knowledge, balancing historical context with state-of-the-art methods."
"People take it for granted today that jazz is serious music worthy of the same disciplined study as classical music. But when Berklee began teaching jazz improvisation in the 1940s and rock guitar in the 1960s, most other music schools perceived those musical forms as a threat to 'serious' music. It's the same situation with hip-hop and turntablism today."
"The foundation of the MP&E program at Berklee is musical as opposed to technical. The focus first and foremost is the song and the production. The knob twisting and button pushing is always contextualized. Most of our engineering classes serve production classes. Students in the production classes 'hire' engineers from the engineering classes. It mimics the real world in that way."
"Our students are encouraged to explore something as abstract, slippery, and hard to define as art and approach it from the standpoint of the aesthetic and the technical. They go fairly deep in both directions and that is unusual. Berklee's not just an art school and it's not just a trade school."