Woodwinds Courses

The courses at Berklee are continually reviewed and evaluated to be sure they consistently reflect today's musical needs. In classes such as Survey of Woodwind Styles, you will learn the history of your instrument and analyze its present-day challenges, and pursue an in-depth study of styles and techniques. Take a look at some of the courses you can experience as part of your study.

ENSB-361

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Woodwind and French horn principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 4 or written approval of course chair
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

Woodwind ensembles for advanced players (flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and French horn) emphasizing the development of classical chamber music performance skills.

ENWD-343

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Flute principals
Prerequisites: None
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

This course focuses on rehearsal and performance techniques of flute ensemble literature encompassing baroque, romantic, Latin, and world music for flutes. Emphasis is placed on sight-reading, interpretation, intonation, and ensemble playing as part of a flute section in flute choir music. The choir will have the opportunity to perform local outreach concerts. 

ENWD-351

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

Rehearsal and performance of traditional literature for clarinets with an emphasis on reading and interpretation. Includes clarinet choir materials in three, four, and five parts.

ENWD-361

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Ensemble rating 4434
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

A saxophone ensemble performing a mixture of traditional and 20th-century music for soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone.

ENWD-375

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Woodwind principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 5 (saxophone principals) or saxophone doubling abilities and written approval of course chair (non-saxophone principals)
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

Students in this advanced saxophone quartet will focus primarily on preparing for performances, not on sight-reading. The quartet will perform pieces in a broad range of styles from jazz to classical to student and faculty originals.

ILWD-110

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

In this course, classically trained woodwind students will gain hands-on experience with jazz nomenclature, chord/scale relationships, basic woodwind jazz articulation, jazz vocabulary, and standard jazz repertoire. This course emphasizes helping classically trained performers gain the confidence to improvise and uses classical concepts and terminology to bridge the gap into the jazz world before introducing the jazz terminology. In-class playing assignments will give students practice in the application of theoretical, technical, and stylistic improvisational skills. Specific stylistic woodwind concepts are reinforced through the study and performance of selected transcribed solos.

ILWD-211

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Woodwind principals
Prerequisites: None
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

A lab designed to give beginning and intermediate woodwind students hands-on experience with jazz nomenclature, chord scale relationships, basic woodwind jazz articulation, jazz vocabulary, and standard jazz repertoire. In-class playing assignments will give students practice in the application of theoretical, technical, and stylistic improvisational skills. The study and performance of selected transcribed solos will support learning of specific stylistic woodwind concepts.

ILWD-213

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

This course teaches students how to produce a crystal clear sound on saxophone (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone) and clarinet (soprano and bass). Topics covered include: embouchure and lip placement, airstream flow and movement, intonation, longtone exercises, volume control and performance, low volume playing, subtone, overtone and harmonics, mouthpiece/reeds usage, projection, and maintaining consistent practice routines even while traveling. Students will develop the discipline necessary to use a correct practical routine which will help them develop a strong and solid sound, and will also acquire the flexibility to apply this knowledge in a creative way. 

ILWD-215

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith (Woodwind)
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

This course examines jazz with a focus on understanding the provenance of the music itself; in this case, the African continent, and in particular West African countries such as (modern day names) Benin, Togo, Senegal, and others. This class will focus on exploring the music of some of these cultures and in particular students will discuss and learn the rhythms that connect the music from these countries to their musical culture here in the United States and in the Americas. They will learn rhythms such as bembé and Abakuá and others, and how these are connected to jazz music.

ILWD-217

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

In this course, students will learn how to use technology as an extension of their instrument in a solo setting. In-depth presentations and hands-on interaction with a wide variety of FX pedals are combined with required weekly lab use to provide students with an extensive survey of sonic possibilities. Students learn to use preamps, equalizers, harmonizers, delay, reverb, envelope filter, chorus, phasers, and compressors in coordination with a loop station culminating in a solo performance as the class’s final. Various assignments and projects along the way will help refine students' visions for the final exam.

ILWD-219

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

This course focuses on the study and application of the improvisational approaches developed by John Coltrane during his first three periods: hard bop, tonic systems, and modal jazz. For each of the three periods, Coltrane’s improvisational vocabulary, harmonic and rhythmic approach, repertoire, and unique techniques will be covered. Students will gain a working understanding of these various approaches as well as an ability to apply them to their own music in their own way. In-class playing, transcriptions, handouts, and systematic approaches will be covered. Transcriptions will be analyzed in class.

ILWD-311

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Woodwind principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 4
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

A continuation of ILWD-211 Woodwind Improvisational Lab 1, designed for the intermediate woodwind principal. Continued work with chord scales, jazz articulation, and standard jazz repertoire; study and performance of jazz solo transcriptions.

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