Berklee Today

Lead Sheet

Berklee Adopts a New Mission Statement
By President Lee Eliot Berk

Over the past year and a half, Berklee has been conducting a review of its mission statement. This review occurs every 10 years and is coordinated with the college's long-range planning processes and reaccreditation requirements.

The review included meetings with representative groups that make up the college community, including faculty, students, staff, trustees, and alumni. Results of these meetings were posted on the mission review web site and summarized by a special subcommittee. Throughout the process, comments were invited from the community at large via the website. The final statement combines mission, objectives, and philosophy and was approved by the college's board of trustees on October 18, 2002.

I want to thank the entire Berklee community for its investment in this important process. We measure our success as a college by the extent to which we achieve our objectives. I am confident that the refreshed mission of our college will serve us well as a guide to our future goals.

The Berklee College of Music Mission and Philosophy The mission of Berklee College of Music is to educate, train, and develop students to excel in music as a career.

Developing the musicianship of all our students is the foundation of our curriculum. We believe that the lessons and qualities derived from that work - the self-discipline needed for excellence, the empathy required of music making, and the openness and inquisitiveness essential to creativity - are critical to achievement in any pursuit, musical or otherwise and that music is a powerful catalyst for personal growth, which is central to any collegiate experience. Our comprehensive curriculum is distinctly contemporary in its content and approach, and covers the principal musical movements of our time. Through a course of scholarly and practical learning experiences integrating performance and writing, our curriculum covers the variety of influential styles, relevant technologies, and career opportunities open to today's music professional.


  • To define and refine the individual talents of our students by providing a broad range of major programs offered by a distinguished faculty, and to prepare them for careers in music that reflect the diversity of expression and opportunities that defines music today
  • To enable our students to employ their musical education in a global society by providing a coherent liberal-arts curriculum that informs their thinking about issues that have shaped our time.
  • To encourage our students to appreciate and apply music's enormous force for the enrichment of society and intercultural understanding.
  • To cultivate a supportive learning environment by actively promoting a climate of respect for personal and cultural differences, and by offering a range of services and activities to support the needs of the student musicians who come to us from around the world.
  • To maintain the vitality of our college community by encouraging and supporting continuing professional development for all of its members.
  • To provide an environment in which all know that they are full and valued members of the community.
  • To value ethical behavior in all aspects of personal and professional life by establishing a community that values integrity in all relationships.
  • To retain our leadership position in music education and to ensure that our curriculum remains relevant by pledging to value academic freedom and innovation.

Philosophy Berklee was founded on two revolutionary ideas: that musicianship could be taught through the music of the time and that our students need practical, professional skills for successful, sustainable music careers. While our bedrock philosophy has not changed, the music around us has and requires that we evolve with it. For over half a century, we've demonstrated our commitment to this approach by wholeheartedly embracing change. We update our curriculum and technology to make them more relevant, and attract diverse students who reflect the multiplicity of influences in today's music. We prepare our students for a lifetime of professional and personal growth through the study of the arts, sciences, and humanities. And we are developing new initiatives to reach and influence an ever-widening audience. More than a college, Berklee has become the world's singular learning lab for the music of today - and tomorrow. We are a microcosm of the music world, reflecting the interplay between music and culture, and an environment where aspiring music professionals learn how to integrate new ideas, adapt to changing musical genres, and showcase their distinctive skills in an evolving community. We are at the center of a widening network of industry professionals who use their openness, virtuosity, and versatility to take music in surprising new directions.

New Trustee Neil Diercks '93

Neil Diercks '93
Photo by Bob Kramer

Berklee College of Music Board of Trustees Chair Allan T. McLean has announced the appointment of Nashville resident Neil Diercks '93 to the Berklee College of Music Board of Trustees.

Diercks is employed with Warner/ Chappell Music, Inc., where he began working as a production department intern in 1999. He currently serves as a manager overseeing A&R activities, generating publishing revenue, discovering writer and artist talent, and finding songs for major-label artists to record.

Since April, 2002, Diercks aslo has served as president of the Nashville Berklee Alumni Chapter, helping to strengthen ties between the college and the growing number of Berklee alumni living in Nashville.

Regarding the Diercks appointment, President Lee Eliot Berk said, "It's vital that the perspective of our alumni is represented among the college's trustees, our top policy-setting body. Neil Diercks has been assisting our alumni with the transition of moving from Boston to Nashville, and has been active in the annual Berklee trip to Nashville, which provides Berklee students and area alumni with an intimate view of the music industry in the city. His work with Warner/Chappell has given him an important, real-world take on what is useful for the careers of both alumni and students. We're thrilled to have his voice added to the board."

Of his appointment to the board of trustees, Diercks said, "Berklee occupies a pivotal place in the music industry. It provides an environment for students to develop their talents and becomes a springboard for launching a career in the industry following graduation. My time in Nashville has shown me that nurturing the relationship between Berklee and the music industry is invaluable to both entities. I look forward to continuing to increase my involvement with the college, alumni chapter, and Nashville music industry."