Sean K. Skeete

Assistant Chair

"My approach to teaching is encouraging students to share what their needs are. For me it's really important to have a colearning atmosphere. What do you need, where are you at? Once I assess that I can meet their needs. I stress proactivity. Ask questions. Challenge things. I want you to be fully engaged. We're not going to waste fifteen weeks—not with me. It's too much money."

"Sometimes students have unique voices, but they're really afraid to put themselves out there. I try to create an environment to draw that out there. If the only thing they get is the sense that I'm totally free and liberated, regardless of what mistakes I make when I play or what other people are thinking, everything else is just gravy. Yes, we've got to get the note accuracy, the rhythmic accuracy, but those to me are secondary, because the lesson I want them to have is intent versus content. I want some feeling, some attitude, some life experience in their playing. That's what makes music music."

"I've been mentoring with City Music since I started teaching here, five years ago. It really just lines up with my life philosophy, which is engaging and inspiring the next generation. Whether or not I'm doing it at Berklee I'm doing it somewhere, because it's part of the way I was raised. I was one of those City Music students at one point, involved in the five-week program. Now I go back and help out the students that are coming behind me and help the program to expand and grow."

"I do about two to three gigs a week, locally and sometimes abroad. They vary. Next month is the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but next week is somebody's wedding. I'm always thinking in terms of students going out and working. These are the skills that you've got to have together to go out and work. Because it doesn't make any sense to get in debt at Berklee and then leave here and work at McDonald's. You get an opportunity here that many kids around the world would like to have, and you've got to take advantage of it."

Career Highlights

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Performances with Oleta Adams, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Teodross Avery, Freda Battle, Walter Beasley, Blue Man Group, Boston Pops, Boston Symphony, Will Downing, Stephen Hurd, Rueben Rogers, Stomp, Vinx, and Marvin Winans
  • Recordings include Elan Trotman's Memories and the George Russell Trio's Schlickness