Songwriting Faculty

Jon Aldrich

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-8101

"A hit song is actually somewhat formulaic—the repetitiveness, the rousing section that leads us to that ever-so-hooky thing that we call a chorus—those things seem to happen over and over in hit songs, whether we like to admit it or not."

Erin Barra

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-6913

"My teaching style is engaging. I like to make things fun and get everyone involved in the learning experience."

Sarah Brindell

Associate Professor, Songwriting
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-2745

"I want my students to understand how important it is to throw themselves into the fire—to build the confidence to go up to other musicians and say, 'Hey, I'm good; you should play with me.'"

Ben Camp

Assistant Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-6883

"Each student has unique needs in order to wrap their minds around fresh new concepts. My job is to find out what those needs are and meet them for each and every student." 

Daniel Cantor

Assistant Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-6235

"It matters not what technology you use or whether you use technology at all. All that matters is that you arrive at a recording that has the sonic and emotional impact that enhances the song."

Susan Kean Cattaneo

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-8125

"Our job is to provide a nurturing environment, a creative place where students feel free to express their musical ideas. I think we build confidence, and I think we help students find ways to continue to be creative once they leave Berklee. The muse doesn't always strike. How do you generate that creative idea when you don't have it? I think if you have the tools to generate the ideas, you'll find your muse. If you want fame, that's great; that's the icing on the cake. But you really should be writing songs and making your music because you want to finesse your craft, because you have a message to deliver to the world as a songwriter. And I believe I can show you ways to do that clearly and concisely."

Kara DioGuardi

Herb Alpert Visiting Scholar, Songwriting

Brian "Raydar" Ellis

Assistant Professor, Songwriting
Also affiliated with:: Ensemble | 617 747-2845

"Initially in class, musicians will be trying to show off everything they know, but hip-hop is more a process of finding that groove and locking it in, playing your role. It's really more a test of restraint."

Melissa Ferrick

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-6975

"I feel like there is a huge population of original singer-songwriters at this school, who are playing guitar and playing piano and writing songs, who are here on scholarships for violin and voice, who are extraordinary musicians, and they don’t know what to do. They want to do their own music, but they haven’t figured out what department they fit in. I want to make sure that there’s a place for that in the Songwriting Department. It’s the only place in the world that you can get a degree in songwriting. And I want to make sure that the next 17-year-old girl who doesn't know who she is yet and is terrified and is writing these songs in her bedroom, saving her own life, has a place she can go where someone’s going to say, this is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. And you’re great. Yes, play that song live for us."

Brad Hatfield

Associate Professor, Songwriting
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8043

"I do my best to help students identify their strengths then challenge themselves to work outside their comfort zone and collaborate. I have found a team-oriented approach to be a fast track to sustained success in the field of songwriting for film and TV."

Bonnie Hayes | 617 747-6311

“We want to make successful songwriters and successful musicians, but the soul of it is in the connection to others and the good it does in the world. Music makes communities stronger and it makes people soulful, which is what we want.”

Jimmy Kachulis

Professor, Songwriting
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8240

An accomplished composer, arranger, and conductor, Kachulis has worked with legendary artists such as George Coleman, Jon Hendricks, John Lewis and Martha Reeves.

Scarlet Keys

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-8455

"I create an environment in the classroom that is relaxed, fun, and creative because although craft is an intellectual pursuit, creativity needs to run rampant. It’s like a child learning to walk; it needs to have the freedom to try things out, to play and discover itself."

Jack Perricone

Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-2385

"Berklee-trained songwriters have a deeper understanding of melody writing, lyric writing, harmony, and arranging than the average 'street' writer, and that's what gives our graduates an edge. And, through classes that offer regular critiques of their work, our students learn how well their songs are communicating and how to deal with criticism-as well as the importance of rewriting."

Ivan Sever

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-2393

"I think I've been fortunate to experience firsthand the unprecedented revolution in recording technology. I still remember walking into a recording studio for the first time and feeling a kind of reverence for the place: the subdued lighting, the noiseless rush of cool air, and the smell of tape stock. I also remember witnessing my first digital recording session and being in awe of this invisible and mind-boggling new way of capturing sound."

Mark Simos

Associate Professor, Songwriting | 617 747-3129

"I don't stand in front of the class dissecting students' songs. That style of critique reinforces the false notion that there is just one way of writing a good song, oriented towards following mainstream conventions. What about the song that's going to come along every once in a while—like John Hartford's Gentle On My Mind—that breaks every single rule and is a brilliant song?"