Eric Byers

Assistant Professor
617 747-2834

"I'm a strong believer in process; you learn by doing. So starting in the first few weeks of my arranging classes, students arrange something every week. I don't really think you can learn much about any art form without actually getting your hands dirty. I want my students to gain the ability to notate, transcribe what they hear, and put down on paper what's in their heads. I don't know if you can really develop an idea unless you have the the skills to articulate what you're hearing inside your head."

"I believe very strongly that hearing is the most important aspect of the core material we cover. Harmony is not a math game. If you cannot hear and reproduce concepts vocally, on your instrument, and through composition, they're of no use. Here there's an overlap with ear training, as I think there should be."

"I think some students have a certain mindset that thrives on 'architectural thinking.' I was that kind of student. For others, the theoretical end is not so interesting. So I try to bring in diverse styles of musical examples throughout the semester that will sound a lot like the music my students would like to create. I hope they'll recognize that these concepts are used every day in all of the music they listen to."

"When it comes to project day, I tell my students that I hope they'll give me stylistic breadth, including jazz, electronica, hip-hop bass beats with a harmonic component. . . . I love it when students can demonstrate the concepts they learn in ways that I hadn't imagined."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Duquesne University
  • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • Guitarist
  • Leader, New England Conservatory Honors Improvisation Ensemble
  • Performances with Eric Byers/Jesse Flack Duo, Gamelan Galak Tika, Modern Times, New England Conservatory Big Band, George Russell Jazz Ensemble, and Titilayo Ngwenya Ensemble, Blue Pantry Records
  • Recording with Dave and Maureen Budway, Jazz the Budway, Corona Records