Recommended Reading List

Entering students may find the following books useful in preparing for their course work prior to entering Berklee. These recommended method books and materials are intended to be used as guides. It is not Berklee's intention that students purchase any of these books before their attendance at the college.

Contact the Berklee College of Music bookstore by telephone at (617) 747-2402; by fax at (617) 267-0765; or by e-mail at for information about ordering any of these titles.

In addition to the reading list, we have provided a list of theory topics for review, which supplement additional information about preparing for the Berklee curriculum found throughout this section.

Recommended Books for Music Study

Writing Skills and Arranging

  • Music Notation by Mark McGrain
  • Berklee Arranging 1 and 2 Workbooks by Bob Doezema

Ear Training

  • Berklee Ear Training 1-2 Workbooks by Scott McCormick & Rick Peckham
  • Berklee Ear Training 3 Workbook by Greg Badolato, Steve Prosser, and Scott MCormick
  • Berklee Ear Training 4 Workbook by Larry Monroe
  • Jazz Ear Training by Jamey Aebersold
  • Training the Ear by Armen Donelian
  • Contemporary Ear Training by Mark Harrison
  • Rhythmic Training by Robert Starer
  • Intervallic Ear Training for Musicians by Steve Prosser
  • 1st Steps to Ear Training by William Curtis

Contemporary Theory and Harmony

  • Summer Performance Program Theory Handbook, by Bob Doezema
  • Practical Theory Complete by Sandy Feldstein
  • How to Master Music by William Fowler
  • Basic Materials in Music Theory by Paul Harder
  • Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine
  • Berklee Music Application and Theory Workbook by Joe Mulholland and Tom Hojnacki
  • Berklee Harmony 2, 3 Workbooks by Barrie Nettles
  • Berklee Harmony 4 Workbook by Steve Rochinski
  • Study Supplemental for Music Application and Theory by the Harmony Department
  • Study Supplement for Harmony 2 by Barbara London
  • Study Supplement for Harmony 3 and 4 by Barbara London

Traditional Theory and Counterpoint

  • Tonal Harmony by Stefan Kostka
  • Harmony by Walter Piston
  • Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads ... by John and Joyce Clough
  • Basic Harmonic Progressions by John and Joyce Clough
  • Tonal Counterpoint Workbook by Rick Applin
  • Sensible Counterpoint by David Fuentes

Theory Topics for Review

Prepare to demonstrate the following topics in every key, verbally, written on manuscript paper (in both clefs), and on your instrument.

  • Major Scales
  • Key Signatures
  • Intervals and their inversions
    • perfect,
    • major,
    • minor,
    • augmented,
    • diminished,
    • double augmented,
    • double diminished,
  • Triads
    • major,
    • minor,
    • augmented,
    • diminished,

For intermediate-level study, all of the above, plus the following:

  • Seventh Chords and their inversions
    • major 7,
    • minor 7,
    • minor 7 (b5),
    • dominant 7,
    • dominant 7 (sus 4),
    • dominant 7 (b5),
    • major 6,
    • minor 6,
    • augmented 7,
    • diminished 7,
    • minor major 7,
  • Minor Scales
    • natural minor,
    • harmonic minor,
    • melodic minor,
  • Modes
    • Ionian
    • Dorian
    • Phrygian
    • Lydian
    • Mixolydian
    • Aeolian
    • Locrian

We also recommend that you use a piano or keyboard to help you understand these concepts.

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