Kai Turnbull

Associate Professor
Class of 
1988
617-747-8401
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As assistant professor of music technology at Berklee College of Music, Kai Turnbull is a dedicated and experienced educator specializing in digital audio music production, MIDI programming, and sound design. At Berklee, he has taught hundreds of students to use the latest technology tools and techniques in desktop audio and video production.

His courses at Berklee cover popular and electronica music styles, using software tools such as Live, Logic, Reason, Digital Performer, and Pro Tools. He teaches courses in hard-disk recording, MIDI systems, songwriting production techniques, and Indian Music Concepts in Contemporary Synthesis Production, a new course that examines modern applications of traditional North Indian music. In that course, students use Live to produce Asian Underground remixes using a variety of classical Indian vocal and instrumental samples.

Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Turnbull has been a music technology faculty member at Berklee for more than 10 years. In addition to commercial film credits, Kai has two independent CD releases. He has performed in the United States and Europe, including an appearance on National Public Radio, and has served as a songwriter for Peer Music in New York.

  • Career Highlights
    • Audio and MIDI programmer and sound design specialist
    • Composer and performer in the United States and his native Scotland
    • Appearance on National Public Radio, Scotland
    • Songwriter for Peer Music, BMI
  • Education
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"I entered the field of electronic music because of the unique approaches it offers to the songwriter. A modern song production, for example, can be significantly enhanced through the application of interesting sound design. Currently, I have been studying the rich and diverse music of India and adapting concepts found in it to my own compositions. World music in general is gaining more exposure, and I think people's interest in this area will continue to grow over time."

"I try to approach my teaching from a variety of perspectives, since student learning styles are different. It's important to maintain a balance between linear thinking and the creative process, which is more intuitive. For me, what makes teaching interesting is emphasizing musical outcomes, so in my music technology classes I endeavor to show the student how the processes of logic and creativity can relate to one another."

"Technology is a tool and, ultimately, when mastered it can become transparent. It takes time and discipline to learn, of course, but this is no different from other musical skill sets. On the piano, for example, one develops technical proficiency through the practice of specific exercises and repertoire with the aim to ultimately express oneself fluently and effortlessly. It's the same way with music technology. You have to spend the time required to get the fundamentals—the principles that work behind it—to really know it inside and out, in order to support those unexpected and creative leaps of imagination."