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.

ILWD-312

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 5, ET-211, and HR-211, HR-213, or HR-215
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

This course focuses on the study of atonal or "free" improvisation, over structured harmonic continuity, through the use of triads. The four triad groups are used (major, minor, augmented, and diminished). They are played in random sequences where the concept of any triad over any chord is implemented. This gives the improviser complete harmonic and rhythmic freedom over the flow of traditional chord structures. After the study of triadic freedom with only one half step in between each triad group, the student moves on to the study of George Garzone's RCA (Random Chromatic Approach). This concept restricts the improviser to play chromatically up and down the length of the instrument, without expanding larger than a major third as the widest interval. Once students master the RCA, a combination of the four triad groups is used with the RCA played in between each triad to give the sound a kind of bebop flow. With the four triad groups and the RCA, this sound is placed over the harmonic continuity to cause a random harmonic non-sound, based off of the twelve-tone row.

ILWD-321

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

The study of the flute as a doubling instrument for all majors, from beginners to more advanced instrumentalists. Fundamentals of embouchure, breathing, intonation, articulation, and technique are studied, using representative methods, études, and solos. Emphasis is placed on establishing good practice routines. 

ILWD-322

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

The study of the clarinet as a doubling instrument for the woodwind principal. Fundamentals of embouchure, breathing, and technique are presented using representative methods, ‚études, and solos. Emphasis is placed on doubling situations.

ILWD-323

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

Preparation for a career as a theater and pit musician, including Broadway shows, Las Vegas, Hollywood, cruise ships, and film. Study of all woodwind instruments and techniques with concentration on tone quality, intonation, and facility. Instruments include: clarinets (piccolo, soprano, bass and contra-alto); saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone); flute/piccolo; and oboe, English horn, and bassoon. Discussions will include instrument setup and arrangement, reeds, and performance problems, and other related topics such as resumes, musician contracts, and percentages for doubles.

ILWD-324

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Walter Smith
Semesters Offered: Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILWD-323
Department: WWND
Location: Boston Campus

This course continues ILWD-323 and prepares students for a career as a theater and pit musician, including Broadway shows, Las Vegas, Hollywood, cruise ships, and film. This course covers double reed instruments, with concentration on tone quality, intonation, and facility. Instruments include: oboe/English horn and bassoon.

ILWD-331

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

The study of the MIDI wind controller as a doubling instrument. Fundamentals of technique are presented with representative literature and MIDI sequences using various kinds of synthesized voices. Instruments will be provided for student use. Students are recommended to have an intermediate level of woodwind experience.

ILWD-341

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

A study of the core works essential for any professional flutist's repertoire. Through an interactive master class setting, students will learn performance practices in a wide range of styles, including baroque, classical, and 19th-century; explorations of extended and experimental techniques found in 20th- and 21st-century compositions for the flute; and selections from flute music from around the world. Students will work with their own accompanists, including piano, guitar, and harp, and perform frequently, including in an end-of-semester in-class or public concert.

ILWD-342

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

The art of phrasing is becoming a lost skill. What makes a good musical phrase? What makes musical interpretation convincing? With the advent of computer-generated files such as Finale, the ability to understand and notate the language of music is diminishing with each generation. Although it is classically based, the ability to translate notated music into a breathing phrase transcends style; interpretation is a critical element of good musicianship. In this class, students will learn the classical definition of phrasing, and use musical ‚études to improve the execution of musical sentences. They will improve their understanding of scores and interpretation through the study and performance of written music.

ILWD-346

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

This course studies the characteristic rhythms, articulation, phrasing, and improvisation techniques necessary to perform and interpret music in various Brazilian styles. Students learn creative and effective use of these skills in their own improvisational style. Students will discern and use jazz and Brazilian style articulations appropriately, and understand how they can be used in improvisation. They will be able to improve their technique and improvisation skills that relate to those styles.

ILWD-355

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 course for advanced woodwind students wishing to improve their sight-reading skills. Reading exercises will cover a wide range of styles including swing, bebop, funk, Latin, odd-meter jazz, and various studio styles. The course will draw heavily from the required text Creative Reading Studies by Joseph Viola. Other materials to be used include selected ‚études, transcribed solos, and exercises designed by the instructor(s). The course will focus primarily on line reading, although exercises that target chord-change reading may also be included.

ILWD-380

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

An intensive performance lab that prepares students for professional auditions for musical organizations, particularly orchestras. Learn to recognize what is necessary to successfully prepare, study, and practice for auditions. Weekly mock auditions and study of audition repertoire will help the student become more confident with the audition process. Students will also learn to evaluate performances by serving on the mock audition committees.

PFSS-381

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

The analysis of the history of woodwind instruments (saxophone, flute, clarinet) in jazz. Emphasis is placed on the various styles of major players. The study of woodwind players including Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Lester Young, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Frank Wess, Andy Kirk, Benny Goodman, John LaPorta, Gerry Mulligan, and others, through tapes, articles, and transcriptions.

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