“Songwriting should be fun. If you want to be successful at it—or anything else, for that matter—you’ve got to put in your 10,000 hours of practice, of trial and error, of falling down and getting up. The time I have with my students is just a drop in the bucket, but I try to keep the tone light, and the experience as enjoyable as possible, to make it easier to have fun. I also try to keep the atmosphere family-like—my own experience as a Berklee student showed me how important it is to create a community of people who support each other, work with each other, and grow with each other.
“I want to inspire my students to pursue their passion, not force them to do something they’re not passionate about. So a big part of my curriculum is having them create, and push themselves to be as productive as possible with their creativity. We listen to students’ favorite songs so they can hear the tricks, the formulas, and the math behind them. Their ‘a-ha moments’ all help them grow a little faster. All my examples are from modern radio—that’s the music I know, too, since I’m just two or three years older than my students.
“To succeed as a songwriter takes tenacity and a good sense of your strengths and what you need to work on. It also takes knowing where to look, in order to get what you want and need to go in the directions that the business takes. Hearing ‘no’ is almost your baseline; rejection is where you start, by turning that negative energy into more drive and passion. It’s no different from what any business entrepreneur must do. You have to prove to people that you’re worth the bet. You have to know how to play by the rules, how to bend them when you need to, and how to do what it takes.”
- B.M., Berklee College of Music, magna cum laude, 2012
- Has over 50 cuts with both pop and electronic dance music acts
- Publishing deal with London-based production company Audiofreaks