Lisa Thorson

Professor

"Everything that I've learned as a professional comes into my teaching. How to deal with stage fright, how to negotiate a contract, how to talk with side people on a gig, how much rest you need, how much water you need to drink, what kind of food you need to eat, how much you need to keep studying, where you find an agent, what you do with a record label, how you put together a recording…. I mean everything."

"Another important component is that the students know I'm an experienced professional and have paid my dues. Whether they're working on an MP&E project at four in the morning or traveling with Berklee as performers or even as assistants on scholarship tours, they know that I've done that. I've been up to four o'clock in the morning recording, or I've been on the road with travel delays and had to sing on five hours of sleep, or I had a cold and still had to do the gig."

"I challenge students to do things that they might not normally do, whether it's in lessons or classes, with an eye and an ear toward them developing their personal style and not being cookie cutters. I wholeheartedly encourage creativity and finding a personal voice and style, but I am also very practical about what it takes to succeed as an artist. Almost everything that I teach, including vocal technique, has an improvisational component. I encourage stretching beyond comfort zones, because that is the point at which you discover possibilities and learn new things. My approach is positive and students feel comfortable diving in and trying new things."

"Because people come from a lot of different backgrounds, being approachable is very important. I feel it's my job as a teacher not only to give them information, but also to help them wade through a new educational experience. What's really different about Berklee is that there are so many different paths you can take, and you don't have to make a decision about what you're going to do in your first year of study. We have so many options you can nurture your passion or find a new one. Like life, nothing is pre-programmed."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.F.A., Boston Conservatory of Music
  • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • Performances with Sheila Jordan, Harvie Swartz, Kenny Wheeler, Linda Hopkins, Steve Grossman, and Herb Pomeroy
  • Extensive festival, club, and concert appearances internationally with her quintet, JazzArtSigns, the New Directions Quartet, and a tribute to the Boswell Sisters
  • Recordings include five as leader, including the 2003 release Out to Sea and 1999's Resonance on GM Recordings
  • Clinician for numerous festivals, colleges, and jazz workshops