Curriculum


Your education at Five-Week is provided by Berklee's world-class faculty. Classes generally take place between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Some classes and activities may meet in the evening. All participants will be given individual student schedules during the first week of the program.

Your classes will include:

  • Private instruction—A half-hour lesson each week on your principal instrument.
  • Instrumental labs—Three hours each week of instrument-specific courses to develop instrumental craft, style, and technique.
  • Ensembles—Two hours each week, including instrumental and vocal groups performing in jazz, hip-hop, rock, funk, pop, fusion, R&B, musical theater, country, and other contemporary styles such as bluegrass, Afro-Cuban, salsa, and world music. EDI students will choose from EDM, ambient, hip-hop, and electro-pop performance styles.
  • Musicianship—Four hours each week to develop your musical ear, performance, reading skills, and musicianship.
  • Theory in performance—Three hours each week studying the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements of music and how they relate to your instrument (including voice).
  • Performance perspectives—Two hours each week; performances and clinics that will introduce important career and performance instruction, information, and insight from some of the finest performers and songwriters in the music industry. Notable artists who have recently visited the Five-Week Program include John Mayer, the Bad Plus, John Blackwell, Terence Blanchard, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Billy Bragg, Guthrie Govan, Paula Cole, Larry Carlton, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Larry Coryell, Lalah Hathaway, Richie Havens, Lettuce, Wyclef Jean, Patty Larkin, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Patrice Rushen, John Scofield, T.M. Stevens (Shocka Zooloo), Susan Tedeschi, and many more.
  • Final week concerts—All students will perform this week before members of the Berklee community, faculty, fellow students, and any guests you invite. Final week concerts are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, and conclude at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 11. More than 300 student ensembles, led by Berklee faculty, perform in concerts during the final week. Students will know when and where they will perform by the second week of the program. All of these concerts are open to the public; family and friends are welcome to attend. Final week concerts will take place in one of the college's performance venues, including the recital halls, Cafe 939 and the 1,220-seat, world-class Berklee Performance Center. Berklee Performance Center concerts are scheduled for the evenings of August 9, 10, and 11.
  • Visiting artists—Lectures and demonstrations by performers, songwriters, film composers, music business experts, and music professionals from every sector of the industry. Notable artists who have recently visited Berklee include Amanda Palmer, Livingston Taylor, Jane Ira Bloom, George Duke, Melissa Ferrick, Dawaun Parker, Trina Hamlin, Will Kennedy, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, Bernard Purdy, Noel Redding, Derek Trucks, and many more. Visiting artist clinics are open to all students. The visiting artists are announced at the start of the program.

Electives

The following is a list of electives available to students in the Five-Week Summer Performance Program. These electives are special features of the program that allow students to explore various career possibilities and additional areas of study.

  • Songwriting—This lecture class will examine song form, strategies for creating melodies, and effective use of harmony to create forward motion in songs. Lyric writing, as well as tips to help the creative process, will be discussed with the instructor and guest lecturers. Because technology has allowed the easy exchange of ideas and files, strategies and tools for improving both your songwriting and production values through collaboration will be demonstrated. Lastly, an overview of how songs are currently used in film and TV (and other visual media) will be discussed, along with the tools you’ll need to place your songs and start earning royalties in this growing area of opportunity for songwriters.
  • Survey of Production Styles—This course will explore how a modern song is taken from inception to full mix. It includes discussion of song form, songwriting, and how to invoke the best performances from players on the spot. This course also addresses the creative use of modern microphone and recording techniques, the use of outboard and computer processing such as reverb, equalizers, and compressors, and basic mixing techniques. Strong interpersonal skills are needed. An open mind and active participation are required.
  • Scoring for Visual Media—This course will provide an introduction to the exciting world of scoring for today’s visual media. Using a wide variety of examples from film, video games, television, and commercials, this class will give the student a behind-the-scenes look at the process of composing and producing musical underscore, from traditional linear scoring to the cutting-edge nonlinear techniques used in current-generation video games and interactive media.
  • Jazz Composition and Arranging—This lecture class will introduce you to composing and arranging techniques used by important jazz artists. Topics include the process of creating and harmonizing melodies, orchestration, song and arrangement form, and music analysis.
  • Music Business—This course will provide an introduction to the music business. Students will gain an understanding of how their creative works are protected by U.S. copyright law and promoted by publishers. The contractual relationship between artists and record labels will also be reviewed with discussions on how to set-up and manage a small business (business formation, band agreements, etc.). Artists' management and their relationship with the recording artist will be explored. Students will also learn why touring is the holy grail of the music business, showing how artists and promoters budget for a successful outcome.
  • Electronic Production and Design: Producing Music with Ableton Live—Ableton Live is a powerful tool that allows musicians to develop musical ideas in a unique, non-linear environment that presents a fundamentally different way of working from other software used in music production. In this workshop, students will learn to create new musical ideas and produce electronic arrangements using software instruments and effects that come with Live. Emphasis will be placed on developing the basic skills that can be used to write and produce new works as well as create remixes and prepare songs for electronic performance.
  • Groove Essentials for All Instruments—Examine many of the essential grooves that continue to define contemporary music. The styles examined may include funk, hip-hop, and music from Brazil and Cuba. Music examples and scores will be examined to analyze the rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic components of each style. Documentaries will be shown to support the historical and social aspects of these styles with an emphasis on the innovators who made them popular.
  • Exploring the Artist Within—This unique class, designed for vocalists, songwriters, soloists, and composers will help you get in touch with your artistic identity. A series of innovative exercises will allow you to discover your true musical voice and to find your own style. No matter your voice or instrument, this class will give you tools to hear your world and embrace your place in it.

Optional Electives

The following classes are in addition to the electives above. Seating is limited, and times may vary.

  • Singer-Songwriter Workshop—This class will provide an opportunity for singer-songwriters to write and perform their own songs and to learn the tools of the trade. The class will focus on the song: how it's created and how it is used to express and communicate the songwriter's feelings and stories to the audience. You will develop the tools and techniques used by songwriters today and participate in facilitated song critiques with your classmates. The class will culminate in a live performance.
  • Song Demo Production—This is a hands-on course with state-of-the-art DAWs (ProTools, Logic, and Digital Performer) along with keyboards, mics, and interconnectivity to all 12 stations to allow easy collaboration among students. The course will help students improve the overall production quality of their song demos and learn established tricks of the trade to facilitate worldwide collaboration. This elective is available by audition only. Registered students will receive more information in the spring regarding the application process.
  • Movement for Musicians—This course is designed to increase students’ awareness of their technical and creative abilities through investigating movement and how it relates to their stage performance. Students will be encouraged to explore their own capacity and range of movement, realizing its aesthetic, physical, and visual possibilities. The technique portions of class will emphasize increasing the body’s flexibility, strength, control, and awareness. Choreographic exploration will concentrate upon the use of space, dimension, time, rhythm, energy, and contrast through improvisation and development of movement phrases.
  • Five-Week Chorus—All levels of singers are welcome in this chorus, which features part-singing in styles ranging from pop/R&B to folk and jazz. The Monday and Thursday rehearsals lead up to a final performance in the Vocal Showcase at the Berklee Performance Center.
  • Poetry Slam and Performance—This workshop is dedicated to the art of slam poetry and spoken word. Great for songwriters, poets, or hip-hop artists, this is for anyone wanting to amp up their stage presence and work past performance fears. With equal emphasis on writing and performing, this high-energy class features special guest artists, writing and editing prompts, vocal exercises, and stage movement techniques designed to emphasize your own unique style.
  • Open Drum Circle—Drum circles are available to percussionists and non-percussionists alike. This weekly workshop provides an opportunity to develop skills using various percussion instruments from around the world.
  • Turntable Technique—Students will develop a basic skill set of turntable techniques: cueing, mixing, beat matching, cutting, and scratching. By tracing the transformation of the turntable into a musical instrument, students will learn of its development as a major expression of hip-hop culture and thus understand its prominence in contemporary music. The class will culminate in each student performing a DJ set by the fifth week.
  • Musical Theater Ensemble—This ensemble will focus on large and small ensemble musical theater literature. Strong emphasis will be placed on vocal technique, ensemble singing, and lyric delivery. Students will prepare, rehearse, and perform Broadway-style selections from a variety of productions leading to a performance at the end of the program.
  • Studio Performance—The first time in a professional studio can be daunting to say the least. This class explores all the details of being a performer in a recording session. We will discuss preparing for your session, who's who and their roles from engineers, producers, arrangers, and sidemen. We will discuss the differences between live performance and studio performance. Get suggestions and explore the subtle nuances of your voice or instrument, getting the best sound and performance in the studio environment. Every student will have the opportunity to record music of their choice under the supervision of the experienced producer teaching the course.
  • Social Media Marketing: Mastering the Art of Your Public Music Profile—The success of today’s artists relies not only on their technique and talent but also on two other essential components: marketing and a social media presence. This class will explore and lead each student toward a solid branding image, create a uniform and well-structured online presence, and provide an introduction to critical marketing tools and strategies.
  • Yoga for Musicians—Become a better musician through yoga. By integrating yoga into your practice routines, you will develop a more focused and concentrated mind for performance. You will increase awareness of how you use your body for proper posture and ease of movement while performing, helping avoid overuse injuries, and play with greater expression. These concepts, exercises, and practice routines present yoga from the musician's perspective, focusing on direct relationships between using yoga and creating music. You will learn to: practice meditation approaches and breathing techniques, play using healthy posture and technique, get more out of your practice through improved focus, use your breath to improve phrasing and ease performance anxiety, and play with deeper expression through inspiration.

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