Nedelka Prescod

Assistant Professor

"Unison is a spiritual submission because you’re asking people to come together as one. It’s not just about music, it’s about humanity. Ensembles create opportunities for teamwork that submits to the greater good. My students are also there to get something for themselves, so the challenge for me is to make it personal. But even when you’re focusing on one person, you can engage everyone by saying, let’s try this on everyone and see how it fits."

"I try to create a safe space by saying that we’re not here to judge because we’re all here to learn. I want my students to learn how to trip and sometimes fall, but learn how to get up, in this space. When I started started out with improv, my students said, ‘We’ve never done this before.’ So we started tiptoeing, then people started taking chances and realized, ‘Oh—this is as much my space as it is yours,’ and warmed up to one another."

"Your art and your talent are what you see life through, and are ultimately how you feel life. The most important thing is self-acceptance and ownership of that life, acknowledging the blessings along the way. I tell my students that we all have a prior life that no one here knew about; we didn’t even know about each other. When we leave this classroom experience, hopefully we can keep our connection, but each of us still has that life to live." 

"When searching outside of myself to better myself, a lot of times it was really about looking inside at what I already had and working with that: appreciating it, using it, polishing it, and refining it. Ultimately everything we need in terms of our music is about soul and about spirit. Use that, I tell my students, and make the music with that." 

Career Highlights

  • B.S., music education, New York University
  • M.A., music education, CUNY Brooklyn College
  • M.M., contemporary improvisation, New England Conservatory
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in progress
  • Groups include the SIX of US, a mixed pop and jazz ensemble featuring Nedelka Prescod (voice), Joseph Copeland (voice), Malcolm Campbell (keys), Ben Eunson (guitar), Parker McAllister (bass), and Charles Burchell (drums); and EARTH TONES, a contemporary music a cappella quartet featuring Nedelka Prescod, Arielle Armstrong, Joseph Copeland, and Michael Mayo.
  • Has performed or appeared with Jason Moran, Fred Hersch, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, Alicia Keys, Jonathan Nelson, Jason Nelson, Shedrick Mitchell, Ben Eunson, and the NEC Jazz Orchestra.
  • Performed at the Panama Jazz Festival 2014 (with Kevin Harris, Tom Patitucci, Marco Pignataro, Ehud Ettun, and Richie Barshay).
  • Recordings include Manifest by Nedelka Prescod, Beyond the Wall by Kenny Garrett, Seeds from the Underground by Kenny Garrett, Roots & Grooves by Jowee Omicil, and Mega by Antipop Consortium