Contemporary Writing and Production

The student majoring in contemporary writing and production will study composition, arranging, scoring, and production techniques and approaches—and will learn to apply these skills and concepts by writing for and overseeing the production of a wide variety of instrumental, vocal, acoustic, and electronic combinations, ranging from small workshop groups to a studio orchestra in live performance situations and recording studio environments. The student will explore contemporary concepts and techniques of arranging and sound production in both the analog and digital domains and will gain valuable experience by being able to create, arrange, and produce projects using MIDI workstations and the Berklee recording studios. Interpersonal and other situational skills will be developed as the student works with performers, "clients" (i.e., instructors and other students), and studio personnel in a variety of creative settings as music writer, conductor, and/or producer.

The student will be presented with many opportunities to develop the ability to recognize, analyze, and evaluate musical concepts of jazz, pop, rock, and other contemporary music idioms and styles through the study of quality compositions and arrangements. Interacting with faculty who are also professional writers, arrangers, producers, and conductors, the student will develop techniques and skills that will enhance the creative adaptation of his/her musical projects. Applying the writing and production concepts and techniques learned, the student will complete a graduation portfolio of at least four pieces, which will demonstrate understanding of traditional and contemporary writing and production styles.

The contemporary writing and production major will develop the skills and knowledge to function as a professional writer, arranger, and producer under a wide variety of conditions and music industry environments.

Entrance Requirements

The program is open to all interested students. Students may begin in the program as early as their second or third semester.

Prerequisite courses for the early concentrate courses include:

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a major in contemporary writing and production, students will:

  1. Analyze and transcribe music in a variety of contemporary styles;
  2. Arrange music in a variety of contemporary styles for ensembles of varying size and instrumentation;
  3. Synthesize and apply knowledge of contemporary styles to the composition of original music;
  4. Record performances using both analog and digital tools;
  5. Produce a professional quality recording on a digital audio workstation (DAW); and
  6. Coordinate and supervise a studio recording session.
Read more about this program

30 credits for the major:

  • AR-112: Arranging 2
  • CW-171: Groove Writing
  • CW-191Sequencing and Production Techniques
  • CW-211: Writing for Small Ensemble
  • CW-216: Vocal Writing
  • CW-222: Introduction to Writing and Production for the Recording Studio
  • CW-261: MIDI Applications for the Writer
  • CW-311: Writing for Large Ensemble 1
  • CW-361: Sound Processing Applications for the Writer
  • CW-411: Writing for Large Ensemble 2
  • CW-422: Advanced Production for the Writer
  • CW-498: Directed Study
  • LMSC-208: Principles of Music Acoustics
  • 2 credits Approved Specified Electives
  • 1 Advanced Technology Elective
  • Completion of the graduation portfolio.
  • Passing grade on the music preparation proficiency.
Assessment Evidence

Students demonstrate their learning through the following assessments:

  1. Arranging and composition projects. Work is submitted in written notation and/or recorded form for evaluation by the course instructor.
  2. A music preparation proficiency exam. Students must apply their ability to communicate information in a variety of standard forms of musical notation (e.g. orchestral score, lead sheet).
  3. Participation in the annual student concert. The CWP department sponsors an annual showcase for student work. Students contribute original compositions and arrangements.
  4. Creation of a professional website. As a requirement of their Directed Study (CWP-498), CWP students build an online portfolio to showcase their work.
  5. Evaluation of a portfolio. In their final semester, students submit a Graduation Portfolio for review by a panel of CWP faculty.