Berklee in Los Angeles: It's All in the Song

It’s All in the Song: Writing, Production, and the Business of Music

Presented by Berklee College of Music and sponsored by Santa Monica High School


Announcement: Students who complete both programs, Berklee in Los Angeles: It's All in the Song and Berklee in Los Angeles: Contemporary Performance Program, will receive a $100 rebate.

July 22-26, 2014

What's the program like?

The Berklee in Los Angeles program will guide the aspiring musician in a variety of aspects in songwriting, stage performance, production, and the business of music.   

Through both individual and team efforts, students will work through the processes and techniques involved in writing, producing, and marketing a song from conception to completion. Lectures and ensemble sessions will range from song form and lyric analysis to using various tools to facilitate the creative process, including introductions to music software and the fundamental procedures of a recording studio. Berklee’s Music Business/Management Department will tie it all up by introducing you to the business tools necessary to compete in today’s ever-changing music industry. The program will take place on the campus of Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California. This program has a limited enrollment; we encourage you to apply early in order to secure a space.

Santa Monica High School
601 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, California 90405


Who are the instructors?


Special Guest Lecturers:

Dawaun Parker

Dawaun Parker is an American record producer and artist. After attending Berklee on a full scholarship, Parker got his start professionally as a staff songwriter and producer for Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label. Under the aegis of Dr. Dre, Parker has written and produced for Eminem, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Snoop Dogg, among others. Parker contributed several songs on Busta Rhymes' No. 1 album, The Big Bang, as well as Jay-Z's return record, Kingdom Come, which included the single "Lost Ones." In 2009, Parker co-wrote the No. 1, Grammy award-winning single "Crack A Bottle" by Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent, and co-produced nearly every track on Eminem's album Relapse, which also won the Best Rap Album. Parker earned his third Grammy by again working with Eminem in 2010 on the album Recovery. At the top of 2014, Parker executive-produced ETHER, the debut project from Phil Beaudreau, the first and flagship artist on Parker's imprint High Renaissance. Most recently, Parker earned another Grammy nomination for being a producer on the Album-of-the-Year-nominated good kid m.A.A.d City by Kendrick Lamar.

Drew Waters

Drew Waters is an electric bassist, composer, educator, and recordist. Waters was formerly a professor in the SUNY system and assistant professor at CSU Monterey Bay, where he was head of the recording technology program. More recently, he was vice president of Studio Operations, Archives and Strategy at Capitol Records. He is now VP of Archives, North America, for Universal Music Group.





Neil Diercks

Michael Farquharson

David Franz

Don Gorder

Nancy Morris

Carolyn Wilkins

What's the schedule?

Clinics generally will run from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and there will be evening activities which may include concerts and open mic sessions.

  • Songwriting Production:

    Learn the craft and the art of creating and producing a song from our master teachers. Study song forms. Explore the various musical elements of melody, harmony, and rhythm. Learn how to make your lyrics work with the melody of your song.  

  • Recording Techniques:

    Students will discuss a variety of topics that will familiarize them with the basic techniques of recording and production as they apply to the needs of the songwriter. 

  • Performance Techniques:

    Vocalists and instrumentalists will develop their live performance skills, rehearsal techniques, and stage presence. Students will have the opportunity to perform for the class and receive feedback from faculty and peers.

  • Music Business:

    Berklee’s Music Business/Management Department will present classes that focus on music business for bands and artists, including strategies for getting a record deal, the business and legal issues pertaining to record companies, music licensing and copyright, contracts, music promotion, and artist management.  

  • Special Lectures:

    In the past, lecture topics have included music sequencing and notation software, lead sheet writing, audition techniques, recording, and improvisation. Students will receive information in their acceptance materials about signing up. 

  • Closing Ceremony and Scholarships:

    This concert event will end with each student receiving a certificate for completing the program. Berklee will also announce some scholarship awards for those students demonstrating exceptional talent in the program and through their live audition and interview.

Instruments and Equipment

During the course of the program, students will have the opportunity to perform their own songs. There will be rhythm section players available to assist you in the performance of your song in class and in concert. We advise that all instrumentalists except keyboardists and drummers bring their own instruments. Drummers should bring sticks and brushes. Guitar and bass amps, drums, and keyboards will be provided for performances and the performance class. Vocalists should bring a low-impedance microphone and a cord.

Optional equipment may also include a laptop computer with music notation, sequencing, and recording/production software (e.g. Finale, Sibelius, GarageBand, Logic, Pro Tools, etc).

Remember to bring your songs. We advise that you put them into lead sheet format (melody, chord changes, and lyrics).  

Where will I eat and sleep?

Students are responsible for researching and booking their own lodging. There are a number of lodging options within walking distance. Students are encouraged to research these options online. Lunch will be included as part of the program. Students are responsible for their own breakfast and dinner.