Susan Kean Cattaneo

Associate Professor
617 747-8125

"The wonderful thing about the Songwriting Department is that we are all passionate about our craft. As teachers, we are constantly reexamining what works in the classroom and what changes are going on in the songwriting market."

"With the songwriting major, there is initially a focus on developing musical and lyrical tools. I believe that a songwriter should develop a really strong foundation from which to work creatively. In Lyric Writing I, I try to build the bricks and mortar of this foundation. Then in Lyric Writing II and in Advanced Lyric Writing, the classes become more of a workshop format, where the students bring in their own songs as examples. The students get involved in the critique process. It's not just me up there talking."

"Our job is to provide a nurturing environment, a creative place where students feel free to express their musical ideas. I think we build confidence, and I think we help students find ways to continue to be creative once they leave Berklee. The muse doesn't always strike. How do you generate that creative idea when you don't have it? I think if you have the tools to generate the ideas, you'll find your muse. If you want fame, that's great; that's the icing on the cake. But you really should be writing songs and making your music because you want to finesse your craft, because you have a message to deliver to the world as a songwriter. And I believe I can show you ways to do that clearly and concisely."

Career Highlights
  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
  • B.A., Pomona College
  • Colead singer of acoustic duo with singer/songwriter Burtis
  • Colead singer of the Blackfish Band
  • Performed at Nectarfest Music Festival featuring Rickie Lee Jones, Bela Fleck, and Bob Weir
  • Wrote, performed and coproduced album of original songs
  • Writer/producer of television commercials and movie trailers for CBS, NBC, TNT, TBS, A&E, and others
  • Nominated for Emmy Award
  • Winner of New York State Broadcasters Award
  • Currently working as a Nashville songwriter