Gilson Schachnik

Associate Professor
Class of 
1996
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Gilson Schachnik is an associate professor in the Ear Training Department and adjunct faculty in the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Gilson toured the country with Rosa Maria and Patricia Marx. He also recorded jingles for BASF, Playboy magazine, and TV Cultura.

After receiving a scholarship in 1990, Schachnik moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to attend Berklee and graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition. Since then, he has performed with Peter Erskine, Harvey Mason, Claudio Roditi, Bill Pierce, Miguel Zenon, Antonio Sanchez, and many others.

Schachnik joined the faculty in 2002, and wrote Beginning Ear Training. In 2010, he and Brazilian drummer Mauricio Zottarelli formed the group Mozik, releasing their first recording, Mozik. Since then the group has performed extensively in the U.S. In addition to being an active performer in the Boston area, Schachnik has been a member of Berklee's audition team and has performed auditions and given master classes in Canada, Brazil, and Palestine.

  • Career Highlights
    • Leader of the Gilson Schachnik Group
    • Member of the groups Soul of Boston and the Herman Johnson Quartet
    • Performances with Claudio Roditi, Bill Pierce, Paulinho Braga, Mick Goodrick, Luciana Souza, and others
    • Recordings with Romero Lubambo, John Lockwood, Jerry Bergonzi, Cafe, Miguel Zenon, and Antonio Sanchez
    • Released Raw on Brownstone, nominated for a Best of Boston Music Award (1998)
    • Produced soundtracks for Playboy magazine, BASF tapes, the children's television show Ratimbum, and the feature film Fogo e Paixao
  • Education
    • B.A., Fundacao Getulio Vargas
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"I've been playing professionally since I was 21 years old. I started accompanying singers at nightclubs in Brazil. I also had some experience composing commercial soundtracks. I worked at the time for the biggest soundtrack studio in Sao Paulo. After coming to study at Berklee, I started playing with a salsa-merengue band based in Worcester. I've played in jazz, R&B, and funk bands."

"My approach, I think, is very pragmatic. How can I teach things that are going to be practical? How do we make ear training relevant, instead of being some academic or abstract course that students have to take, but don't understand why? I try to demonstrate examples of things I've transcribed. Throughout my career, I've been playing diverse styles. In my classes, I use funk, R&B, Latin, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban."

"Of course, one's first-hand experience with different styles is going to affect how you teach. I try to only use music that I have first-hand experience with. I feel that's what I can teach best."