John Arcaro

Assistant Professor

"My dad was my first influence as a kid; he played and sang classic standard tunes every night after work. As a child I was always listening, always trying to imitate, and was actually training my ears without knowing it. That shaped my learning style; I'm always processing music by ear. I often get ideas listening to others perform, both at Berklee and outside the college."

"I encourage my students to go with their own learning styles rather than adopting someone else's. And I say, never be discouraged by someone better than you; just put in the time to develop yourself without fighting it. In my private lessons, I try to get inside my students' heads to find out what they're hearing and understanding, to see what they can play, and then help them take it to the next step."

"How to inspire a student—or whether I'm even supposed to inspire—is always a mystery. Sometimes I just play for them and that gets them excited. I also try to go hear my students perform, and go out of my way to give them positive feedback, because we're all our own harshest critics."

"I want my students to enjoy what they're doing. I try to get them to show me that joy, and to bring in a piece of music they want to play. It's not that I don't want them to play classics, but success really comes when you're working on things you're passionate about. And I want my students to take what they enjoy doing and do it better."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • National and international pianist, recording artist, and clinician
  • Jazz performances with Boston Musica Viva, Nick Brignola, Richie Cole, Hal Crook, Alan Dawson, Paquito D'Rivera, Jon Faddis, Fred Lipsius, Bob Mintzer, Bob Moses, Jimmy Mosher, Rebecca Parris, Gray Sargent, Carol Sloane, Ed Thigpen, Bill Watrous, Phil Wilson, and others
  • Shows with Diahann Carroll, Pat Cooper, Vic Damone, the Drifters, the Four Aces, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Jimmy Tingle, and Fred Travalena
  • Recordings with Garrison Fewell, George Garzone, Jamey Haddad, Skip Hadden, John Lockwood, Jimmy Madison, Michael Moore, Jack Pezanelli, Bill Pierce, and Mark White; on Brownstone, BCM, and TBA
  • Artist-in-residence, Centro-Cultural Costariccense Norteamericano, Costa Rica
  • Pianist at major jazz festivals with the Jack Pezanelli Quartet alongside artists such as Richie Cole, Maynard Ferguson, Shirley Horn, and Rebecca Parris
  • Pianist for special performances of The Moses Project by composer Walter Robinson with special guest artists Vox One