Rick Peckham

Professor
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Rick Peckham is an internationally known jazz guitarist, clinician, composer, and writer. He has performed with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Mike Gibbs, and Dave Liebman, and recorded the album Stray Dog as a member of the jazz collective Um, led by trombonist Hal Crook and occasionally featuring organist John Medeski. His recording, Left End—a set of original compositions mixed with collective improvisations—was recorded with drummer Jim Black and bassist Tony Scherr. In addition to extensive work in the U.S., he has led or played on tours in Ireland, Canada, Spain, and Germany.

Peckham, assistant chair of the Berklee College of Music Guitar Department, has been a faculty member since 1986, and was integral to the development of Berklee's ear training and musicianship curriculum. He organized the college's honorary doctoral tributes to Roy Haynes, Joe Zawinul, Jack DeJohnette, and John Scofield, featuring then-Berklee students Kurt Rosenwinkel, Matthew Garrison, Antonio Hart, Abe Laboriel Jr., Melvin Butler, and Seamus Blake. He is also a prolific and accomplished writer, recently releasing Modal Voicing Techniques, a best-selling DVD for Berklee Press.

  • Career Highlights
    • Internationally active jazz guitarist, composer, writer, and clinician
    • Frequent contributor to Down Beat and other magazines
    • Coauthor of Berklee textbooks for ear training and musicianship
  • Education
    • B.M., Ohio State University
    • M.M.Ed., University of North Texas State

In Their Own Words

"To me, the musician's responsibility is not only to get the sound out of your head and to the instrument, but actually into the mind of the listener—and there are a lot of things between your mind and the listener's. You need to know about sound production on your instrument, getting your sound recorded, and making that sound the best it can be."

"For the online course I teach for Berklee Online, I had to work with them to come up with a whole new means of conveyance. It's a lot like trying to improvise animation. But to set up this educationally interactive show—and then to have everybody file in from all over the world and to see it go as planned—was amazing."

"I'm more inspired by playing now than I ever have been, and I've always felt that way throughout my life as a musician. And this inspiration sort of feeds on itself. I was just watching a video of Django Reinhardt playing in the early 1940s. It's incredible to see him play, and it just makes me want to play."

"I run into many people at Berklee who feel as if they never had a choice about going into a career in music—it's something that found them. It's as if it's been wired into your DNA—the work you do to improve doesn't even feel like 'work' in the same way that you don't worry about carrying your arms and legs around with you every day. It's a part of you, and you're just moving ahead."