Tom Appleman

Assistant Professor

"I've always been around music and music teachers, even when I was younger. My dad taught at Berklee—and still does—so I would often sit in on classes. When I went to school here, I really enjoyed ear training, and I realized the more [ear training] I did, the better my playing was. That's why I taught ear training: it gives you the connection between the music on the paper and the ability to hear it internally."

"I compose my own music. It's a style I would call funk jazz. I also do a lot of cover gigs downtown, in places like Faneuil Hall. I primarily play the bass, sometimes the keyboard, and sing. We play a lot of current pop hits, and I bring those tunes into class and show my students what's coming through the Top 40 market. I show them what people like to hear at bars, what people like to dance to, and what songs are the big hits at night."

"I also bring in songs from the past 20 years, songs that people know, and we really look at the music so the students can understand the songs on a different level. We do a lot of singing in class, a lot of rhythm. I'll have some music playing in the background and I'll point to certain rhythms, and the students will clap over the consistent beat that's going on in the background."

"I'm supplying my students with a solid base for their music careers. My main goal is for them to be able to hear what else is going on in a musical situation. Whether it's a certain chord change, a certain grove, a certain rhythm, they'll be able to hear it and respond to it. It gives you the base you need to experiment with your voice; it lets you hear what you want to play." 

 

Career Highlights

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Leader of Nickels and Dimes Band and Redline
  • Member of Mark Morris and the Catunes, Unity, Triple Threat, and Re-mix Trio
  • Performances with Kid Rock, JoJo, Robbie Krieger, the Drifters, Missing Persons, Brian O'Neal, Marco Benevento, the Slip, and Lettuce
  • Recordings include Money and Tell Me Why by Nick Panasevich (produced by Ray Bardani and Leo Sacks); Spread the Seed and Before, During, and After by Epileptic Disco; Transfarmerfunktet and Bumpercropofunk by the Jazz Farmers; and Peregrin by Peregrin 
  • Voted Boston’s Best Bass Player by Soundcheck Magazine (Vol. VII, 1996)
  • Appeared at Disneyland, on Carnival Cruiselines, and at events for the NFL