PODCAST: Inside Berklee—Jeff Dorenfeld and Jeff Apruzzese
Berklee's newest institute, the Berklee Popular Music Institute (BPMI), was founded by Jeff Dorenfeld, professor of music business/management, to take the idea of "education beyond the classroom" to the next level, both for performing artists as well as those on the business side of the equation.
The curriculum is designed as a one-year cycle and will officially begin this fall. This year, culling from a pool of 100 applicants, 18 students from a variety of majors will be paired with six artists to focus on everything from bookings, contracts, and media kits to studio recordings and stagecraft, culminating in the summer with a performance at a major festival such as Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Electric Daisy Carnival, and others. The institute's holistic approach to immersive education joins curriculum with frontline experience in the beating heart of the music industry. Your typical internship, this is not.
In many ways, BPMI is formalizing and expanding what Dorenfeld has been doing for years as the faculty advisor for Heavy Rotation Records, Berklee's student-run record label: choosing, recording, and booking festivals for Berklee-affiliated artists. And those festival slots are not easy to come by, which speaks to the reputation that Berklee and Dorenfeld have established. As Jeff Apruzzese, media and operations manager for BPMI, points out, it's unprecedented for these festivals to hold open slots for anyone, as they do for Berklee bands. "We're getting spots that other agents are fighting to get for their signed artists,” he says.
In this episode, Inside Berklee sits down with Dorenfeld and Apruzzese to hear more about how the institute came about, the value all Berklee students can gain from the institute (not just artists and business students), and how, as Dorenfeld says, BPMI artists "walk off stage better then they were when they walked on."
Producer: Bryan Parys
Engineer: Steve Xia
Recorded at the BIRN Studios