Berklee Partners with IDB to Expand Music Education Opportunities in Latin America

By 
Brian Gonzalez
October 10, 2016
Press release
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Final concert from a Berklee Latino program
Pamela Hersch

Berklee Latino, Berklee's Spanish-language program, returned to Bogota, Colombia, last week with partner the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Berklee, IDB, and local private, non-profit, and governmental organizations teamed up to cover the program fees, travel, and lodging expenses for more than 60 youth from underserved communities that could not otherwise afford to attend. IDB’s $670,000 grant to the institution—through the Korean Poverty Reduction Fund—establishes the Berklee/IDB Interactive Music Education Partnership to help bring music education to talented students in the region as the college expands its work in Latin America.

The Berklee/IDB partnership is the first initiative that employs Berklee’s renowned curriculum via three synchronized components: Berklee Latino clinics, Berklee PULSE® Music Method, and specialized Berklee MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The partnership will also allow for the translation of selected material into Spanish and integration of fully licensed contemporary Latin music.

The collaboration was established by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno; Juan Luis Guerra '82, Grammy Award-winning Berklee alumnus; Ann Kreis, Berklee global ambassador; Berklee President Roger H. Brown; and Cindy Albert Link, Berklee's senior vice president for institutional advancement.

“IDB’s goal to improve lives in Latin America aligns with Berklee’s core value to make a positive impact on the lives of young people through music, making the bank and the college ideal strategic partners as Berklee develops music education programs in the region,” said Link. 

Berklee Latino offers Spanish-speaking musicians the opportunity to explore the essence of Latin American music and experience Berklee’s curriculum in their own country through master classes, clinics, and ensembles. The college piloted the program in Mexico and has since expanded it to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Berklee Latino has already demonstrated results above and beyond expectations. “We are creating a powerful ecosystem of partnerships, ensuring student success, and a sustainable, scalable program,” added Link.

The Berklee PULSE Music Method is a unique and innovative online music education portal that gives students and teachers access to Berklee curriculum no matter where they live. “Coupled with the training of the teachers to use PULSE and providing computers to the local schools, we are creating an unprecedented opportunity for thousands of young people across the continent to experience music education at no cost,” said Lee Whitmore, Berklee's vice president for education outreach and social entrepreneurship. In addition, Berklee Online—Berklee’s online extension school—will translate 10 existing online classes into Spanish and Portuguese and will develop two additional MOOCs through EdX and Coursera platforms.