Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production

Music Production and Engineering at BerkleeThe 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

Note: New entrance requirements are effective spring semester 2016.

  1. Students who have declared contemporary writing and production as their major and received a grade of B or better in each of the following classes may continue in the major: MTEC-111: Introduction to Music Technology; AR-111: Arranging 1; and HR-112: Harmony 2 . For the purposes of the contemporary writing and production major declaration, entering student placement into AR-112: Arranging 2 (or higher) or HR-211: Harmony 3 (or higher) is equivalent to receiving a grade of B or better in AR-111 or HR-112, respectively.
  2. Students who receive a grade of less than B but more than D (e.g. B-, C+, C, or C-) in these classes will be removed from the major and deregistered from contemporary writing and production concentrate-specific classes. They must then meet the following requirements to re-declare the major: 
    —For MTEC-111: Students must take another technology class (such as MTEC-112, MP-110, EP-210, EP-225 or EP-250), and get a grade of B or better. Students who do not receive a grade of B or better need to see the department chair.

    ​—For AR-111 and HR-112: Students must receive a grade of B or better in their next arranging course, AR-112: Arranging 2. Students who do not receive a grade of B or better in AR-112 need to see the department chair.

  3. While these courses are not repeatable for credit, students who receive a D in any of these classes (MTEC-111, AR-111, and HR-112) must repeat that class and receive a B or better before re-declaring the major. The higher grade will count towards the student’s GPA. 


What the Program Gives You

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.
Required Courses

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-333: Studio 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
  • One advanced technology elective
  • Completion of the graduation portfolio.
  • Passing grade on the music preparation proficiency.