Alumni Beat

Karen Bell


I want to begin my first column of the new decade by wishing you all the best for 2010 and by taking a moment to review the highlights of late 2009. In December 2009, we held holiday parties in 11 of our alumni chapters. Thanks go to our dedicated chapter leaders for helping to create these great events. Below we've featured some pictures from various events. To view additional photos posted by members of the Berklee community, visit

Alumni Profile: Dave Pierce '92

Mark Small


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The 8th Annual Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium: A Rap with Talib Kweli

The Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium, presented by the Berklee Music Business/Management department, features a celebration of one of the most influential genres of music in today's record industry. This event will include a panel discussion with several prominent hip-hop/urban music industry executives and showcase performances by selected hip-hop/urban artists. The event will include a rap with Talib Kweli (interviewed by faculty member Brian "Raydar" Ellis). Sponsored by the Professional Education Division and Office for Diversity and Inclusion. 

The Woodshed: Scatting Without Fear

In my 35 years of teaching vocal improvisation, I've never encountered a student who, with some basic training, was truly incapable of scat singing. When faced with the prospect of using their voice to improvise, many students express unfounded feelings of fear and intimidation. Overcoming this psychological barrier adds another dimension of challenge to teaching improvisation. With that in mind, here are some simple, non-intimidating vocal exercises that I use to teach novice improvisers.

The Original Musical Instrument

Expert Testimony: Given by Professor Jeff Dorenfield to Mark Small


Despite a tough economic climate and well-known music industry woes, Professor Jeff Dorenfeld of the Music Business/Management Department is upbeat about the future for musicians - especially in the field of live performance. While record sales have declined, receipts for major tours have soared.

Not Your Grandfather's New Music

Mark Small


Playing For Life


As greater demands are placed upon today's vocalists and instrumentalists, physical injuries have become more prevalent. The ability to deliver a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to Bird to Aretha and the need for improvisational skills in various styles and ensemble settings often take precedence over a healthful, noninjurious technique. Indeed, many musicians may consider a slight ache or pain normal until it becomes unbearable or, worse, threatens to halt a career.

Need a Lyft? Get Your First Two for Free

Moving in? Moving out? Need a ride to the gig and back? Running late to class, or just want to go out for a drink without the drive?

Take a Lyft!