e.g. "Tuba"

Matthew Nicholl

mnicholl@berklee.edu | 617 747-8456

"I understand what skills a writer needs to survive, and those are what I try to teach. To make a living and have a high professional quality of life, one needs to be able to write good music quickly. In the Contemporary Writing and Production Department, we train students to deal with any situation they might encounter as professional writers. The curriculum is not focused on any particular style. Instead, we deal with typical situations in which writers may find themselves in the music industry, be it music for radio, TV, electronic games, or multimedia; arranging and production for live performance and recording; writing original music; or producing other artists."

Andrea Pejrolo

Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses)
apejrolo@berklee.edu | 617 747-8437

"At Berklee in general, and in our department especially, we strike the right path between the traditional composition and arranging techniques and the technological aspect of production. We teach the latest technology in terms of production, recording, and sequencing, but we also provide our students with the traditional orchestration techniques for acoustic ensembles, tools that are extremely valuable these days to any professional musician. I always strongly encourage my students to stay updated on new musical trends, new arranging techniques, new styles, and new technologies. Technology should be regarded as a tool to improve the quality of music and to help develop new musical idioms, but it is imperative for the student to sustain a balance that includes strong musicianship"

Jeff Perry

Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses)
jperry@berklee.edu | 617 747-8689

"I try to relate the class topics to real-life situations, what I had to go through, what I did professionally. This is the project that I want you to do, these are the guidelines. I'm the client, you're the artist. This is your job. You can also do another version of it that's more artistic for yourself, but you need to be able to fulfill the professional aspect of it. When you're out there writing jingles and the client wants it a specific way, you have to do it that way. Or you won't get called again."

Mark Poniatowski

"Being versatile is extremely important. And Berklee is the ideal place to try everything. You're contained in a building where you live and breathe music, surrounded by 3,000 musicians who all love to play. You're exposed to all these different styles and musicians who can play those different styles. I always encourage my students not to work on what they already know. I tell them, 'You don't want to go out the door just knowing the same thing you came in knowing.'"

Ron Reid

rreid@berklee.edu | 617 747-8331

"I encourage all my students—particularly the arranging students—to experience as much live music as possible. It's really not only about what you can achieve with your computer and your sequencer. You have to go listen to bands, talk to musicians, ask them a lot of questions, become friends with them. Music is about experiencing it—getting to know people personally and learning how they develop their individual sounds."

Loudon Stearns

Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses)
lstearns@berklee.edu | 617 747-8606

"I like making the content for the online classes. It's a more relaxed atmosphere, just sitting in your office deciding how best to present this material. Is it best presented with a video, with a piece of text, with a custom app that Berkleemusic makes for me? Some of the things I do online I can't do in the classroom. I do a series of videos where the student sees my hands on the keyboard, sees the Ableton program right there, and it has my voiceover. In the classroom I don't have a camera guy at my back. Another of the things I do is like a VH1 pop-up video. You watch the waveform of the tune, but every time that I hear something important, a little observation pops up."

Jeri Sykes

Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses)
jsykes@berklee.edu | 617 747-8670

"I do a lot of work in musical theater and I worked as a designer for theater as well. I'm very fond of theater music and I play show tunes in class. That kind of music is very highly arranged, and comes in all kinds of styles, so it's great for arranging classes."

Gates Thomas

gthomas1@berklee.edu | 617 747-2531
  • B.A., Northwestern University
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist, violinist, and conductor
  • Performances with Choral Chameleon, Rosemary Clooney, Paula Cole, Bill Conti, Christian Fabian, Matt Garrison, Abe Laboriel Jr., and the New American Orchestra of Chicago, and Sadao Watanabe
  • Recordings with Gary Burton, Jim Hall, m-pact, and John Scofield

Chrissy Tignor Fisher

ctignor@berklee.edu | 617 747-2479

"I want students to be able to experience what it's actually going to be like in the real world versus just a classroom setting. I want their work to be able to used either as a portfolio or as professional work. Maybe if they've never done technology before, by the end of my class they'll be able to excel in that, or at least be able to get work in that field, because the most important thing, especially for Contemporary Writing and Production majors, is being able to be versatile, and being able to do several different things."

Nicholas Urie

nurie@berklee.edu | 617 747-6340

"I make a living doing the things that I teach in class. I write arrangements of jazz and pop music for recordings, concerts, and television broadcasts. I speak passionately about the subject because it is not a theoretical exercise for me; I am living it. I try to make my classroom reflect my reality in the professional world. I assess my students given where they are in their education, but I also try to assess them as someone outside the Berklee community would. They’ll get two grades from me on their projects: the student grade and the grade they would get outside of Berklee. I like to think of myself as their client. From week to week I am commissioning them, and I expect them to wow me every time."