"I want students to enjoy the process, and the rest will come. To take students out of their comfort zone, I might ask them to throw the song into a completely different key. Or make them play with only one hand, if they're a piano player, to hear the space in the song. Or ask them to play the whole song up two octaves, or take out all the vibrato, or, for the guitar player, to use an alternate tuning. It's not that the crazy version of a song is the best alternative; it just sends them down a different road so that they come out somewhere fresh on the other side."
"My teaching style is engaging. I like to make things fun and get everyone involved in the learning experience. One of my top priorities is making sure I give my students everything I can to prepare them for working in the current state of the music industry. I want students to leave my class feeling like they've learned useful new skills, which they are inspired to use in their writing and creative process."
"My time [as a student] at Berklee was extremely nurturing. The atmosphere was so inspiring, everyone working so hard to really be able to play at the highest level possible. Antonio Hart and I were roommates for a period, and did a lot of playing together, and grew together. In 1988, my curiosity was piqued by electronic music, programming, and synthesis. I dedicated time learning how to program drum machines and synthesizers, and started learning how to produce popular music."
"I teach a contemporary styles ensembles. Over the course of the semester, we play everything from modern pop to straight-ahead jazz and everything in between. In ensemble playing, you need to be generous musically. You need to listen to the other people. You have to play like a team. If you're not playing as much for the other people in the group as for yourself, that's a problem. You have to have musical humility, to think about the song first. The song is the focus, not the guitar solo."
"The best thing about teaching or learning how to play music is the balance between technical information and whatever your heart and soul feels. Hopefully the technical information is only the vehicle for what you're really trying to do. I want my students to stay focused through the ups and downs, and to trust in what they believe in. I try to reinforce that they should learn as much as they can and be as versatile as possible, because the competition is very high. I also tell them to respect and learn from the past as they're trying to go forward."
"The technology and tools of music synthesis are changing at an incredible speed. Berklee has been really good at making sure that students have the latest tools in their hands, both in the studios and through the Berklee laptop program. No matter what the tool, however, faculty know and impart upon the students the commonalities of all of those tools. We don't teach just the button pushing for today's technology, but how to achieve effective music and sound design with any set of tools. We want students to sit down at the newest synthesis software tool, and say, 'I know what I'm looking for; the question is, where are they hiding it?'"
"Times have changed a lot, and the music industry has changed a lot, but if you're a really well-rounded player, the industry and the times can continue to change as much as they want to; you'll be fine. My personal musical passion is within the jazz idiom, be it mainstream or straight-ahead; however, being well rounded and versatile is what allows me to play a rap gig with a back-beat track and smoke it. The skills are always applicable."
"I think students come to Berklee for many of the same reasons. They find role models they can identify with. Our job is to provide the fundamental training for young musicians to succeed in the world they live in."
"Sometimes ideas can come at the most random times. For me, it's mostly when I'm lying in bed at night or driving in the car. I'll either stay up in the dark singing through the melody line I have created until I get it right, or I'll find the sound recorder on my cell phone and recite the lyrics that pop in my head in between shifting gears in my car. Bizarre, yes, but when something inspires you, you have to grab hold of it, because you never know, it could be your next hit."