Berklee Partners with Nashville and Philadelphia Public Schools to Boost Music Education

By 
Nick Balkin
January 28, 2016
Press release
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Berklee is partnering with Nashville and Philadelphia public schools to enhance music education with a comprehensive online resource. Starting in January 2016, all music teachers in Metro Nashville Public Schools and the School District of Philadelphia will gain access to the Berklee PULSE® Music Method, an innovative contemporary music education platform that teaches popular styles through a collection of interactive lessons, games, music production tools, videos, and other resources.

The partnerships were forged last summer at Modern Band Rockfest, a national conference focused on advancing contemporary music in the U.S. public school system. Berklee has created PULSE accounts for 217 teachers in Nashville and 223 in Philadelphia, all of whom will receive ongoing training from local educators in each district, in coordination with the Berklee PULSE team.

PULSE is a key component of Nashville’s Music Makes Us initiative, which aims to strengthen music education through a contemporary curriculum that embraces new technologies and a more diverse musical landscape. “Berklee PULSE helps us reach our goals of music access and participation for all Metro Schools students,” said Laurie Schell, director of Music Makes Us. "In a diverse, urban school district, we understand how important it is for our students to be connected to learning. Berklee PULSE is a compelling enhancement to our existing resources.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Berklee and the team at Berklee City Music, who for decades have led innovation in preparing key contributors to music education and the music industry,” said Frank Machos, director of music education for the School District of Philadelphia. “The resources and opportunities available to our students through this new collaboration will ensure that our young musicians continue to build on Philadelphia’s rich musical legacy and produce future generations of world-class musicians.”

The Berklee PULSE platform is organized into four virtual rooms, each representing an important component of the program. The Study Room teaches music theory through a series of interactive games, books, videos, and quizzes. The Jam Room spotlights ensemble playing, allowing students to load songs into a multitrack mixer, access notation for any instrument played in the song, and create custom practice loops. The Practice Room is devoted to private lessons, offering a variety of instrument-specific practice tools and instructional videos from Berklee faculty. The Listen Room supports a massive media library with video workshops and performances from Berklee visiting artists.

For teachers, PULSE offers a deep curriculum of instructional resources, teaching aids that help incorporate these materials into lesson plans, downloadable sheet music, and a forum that facilitates collaboration with other PULSE educators.

In addition to Nashville and Philadelphia, Berklee City Music plans to expand PULSE to other school systems throughout the country. Administrators looking to explore integrating PULSE into their curriculum are encouraged to contact pulsehelp@berklee.edu.