Performance Studies in Latin Music

The performance studies in Latin music minor will enhance a student's knowledge of the rhythms and techniques of Latin music, while also exploring the sociological, political, and anthropological contexts in which Latin music's various contingencies developed. Designed for all instruments and ensemble ratings, the minor includes both foundational rhythm courses as well as more specific advanced ensembles for different subsets of Latin music, including Brazilian, Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, and others. Global Sight Reading and Advanced Rhythmic Solfege, Bata Rhythms and Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming, and Survey of Latin American Hand Percussion are just some of the labs and ensembles that are a part of this minor. Students will also choose from a variety of history and analysis and liberal arts classes to enhance their knowledge of Latin music's diverse range, such as Contemporary South American Music and Cuban Culture, Music, and Society, as well as Latin music-specific harmony and writing courses to deepen their aural and structural understanding of the genre. Upon completion of this minor, students will have a well-developed understanding of both the performance aspects of Latin music and the history and cultures from which it was born and continues to thrive. Learn more about Latin music at Berklee.

Entrance Requirements


What the Program Gives You

Upon completion of a minor in performance studies in Latin music, students will:

  • Play Latin rhythmic patterns (e.g. clave) on a variety of percussion instruments
  • Demonstrate the ability to play in Latin ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic emphasis
  • Understand differences and similarities among Latin musical styles of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America
  • Understand the role of each individual instrument in the context of Latin music
  • Compose music in a variety of Latin styles
  • Improvise in a variety of Latin styles
  • Synthesize knowledge of Latin music history and repertory into one's own personal performance¬†
Required Courses

10-12 credits (6 courses) required for the minor.

Percussion Lab (choose one from the following)

  • ILPD-357 South American Rhythms for the Drum Set (1 credit)
  • ILPD-373 Afro-Cuban/Brazilian Rhythms for Drum Set (2 credits)
  • ILPD-424 Caribbean Rhythms for Drum Set (1 credit)
  • ILPH-293 Afro-Caribbean Rhythms and Percussion for Nonpercussionists (2 credits)
  • ILPH-354 Bata Rhythms/Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming Lab (2 credits)
  • ILPH-357 Afro-Caribbean Rhythms and Percussion (2 credits)
  • ILPH-359 Brazilian Rhythms and Percussion (2 credits)
  • ILPH-371 Advanced Afro-Cuban Rhythms and Percussion (2 credits)
  • ILPH-429 Contemporary Techniques for Pop Percussion (1 credit)
  • ILPH-459 Brazilian Rhythms and Percussion 2 (2 credits)
  • PFSS-347 Survey of Latin American Hand Percussion Styles (2 credits)

Ensemble (choose one from the following)

  • ENGB-220 South American Folkloric Music (1 credit)
  • ENGB-301 Caribbean Music (1 credit)
  • ENLT-200 Introduction to Latin Jazz (1 credit)
  • ENLT-201 Brazilian Instrumental Rating 3(1 credit)
  • ENLT-220 Latin/Afro-Cuban Styles (1 credit)
  • ENLT-221 Brazilian Instrumental Rating 4 (1 credit)
  • ENLT-222 Afro-Cuban Music Rating 4 (1 credit)
  • ENLT-223 Afro-Cuban Folkloric Music (1 credit)
  • ENLT-300 Latin/Afro-Cuban Jazz (1 credit)
  • ENLT-301 Brazilian Instrumental Rating 5 (1 credit)
  • ENLT-320 Afro-Cuban Music Rating 6 (1 credit)
  • ENLT-400 The Music of the Dominican Republic (1 credit)
  • ENLT-401 Salsa Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENLT-402 Latin Jazz Originals (1 credit)
  • ENMX-315 Studio Recording Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENPH-291 Berklee Steelpan Ensemble (1 credit)
  • PSIM-341 Improvisation in the Latin/Jazz Idiom (2 credits)

Latin Music History (choose one from the following)

  • LHAN-342 Contemporary South American Music (2 credits)
  • LHAN-345 Music and Cultures of Africa, Latin America, and South America (2 credits)
  • PSW-345 Seminar on Latin American Music (2 credits)
  • PSW-361 Brazilian Music Styles (2 credits)

Latin Culture and Society (choose one from the following)

  • LSOC-260 Cuban Music, Culture, and Society (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose two from the following)

  • CW-P217 Writing in Folkloric Latin Styles (2 credits)
  • CW-225 Writing in Salsa Styles (2 credits)
  • CW-P313 Advanced Writing in Latin Styles (2 credits)
  • ENPN-246 Afro-Cuban Piano Montunos Ensemble (1 credit)
  • HR-241 Harmony in Brazilian Song (2 credits)
  • ILBS-261 Intro to Latin Jazz Bass Playing (1 credit)
  • ILBS-262 Brazilian Bass Lab (1 credit)
  • ILBS-361 Latin Bass Lines (1 credit)
  • ILBS-364 Bass Lab Sight-Reading Latin Rhythms (1 credit)
  • ILGT-360 Advanced Brazilian Guitar Styles (1 credit)
  • ILPH-391 Steelpan Techniques for Percussionists (1 credit)
  • ILPN-243 Advanced Stylistic Comping - Latin (1 credit)
  • ILPN-P247 Improvisation in Afro-Cuban Piano (1 credit)
  • ILWD-345 Brazilian and Latin Flute Lab (1 credit)
  • PSBS-P345 Latin Jazz Masters (2 credits)