All students at Berklee College of Music study a principal instrument and will ultimately select a major in their second semester. We offer 12 diverse majors; many students choose performance, the largest major at the college.
No matter what major you end up pursuing, you will complete at least four semesters of private instruction, labs, and ensembles with this instrument. This fulfills your performance core requirement.
The brass family includes:
- baritone horn;
- French horn;
- trombone (bass);
- trumpet; and
What Will I Learn?
Berklee prepares you for today's music by building on traditional aspects of learning. Instruction emphasizes a solid foundation in the standard technical challenges of professional performance. This includes the basics—breathing, embouchure, articulation, and valve or slide technique—as well as theoretical studies involving scales, chords, arpeggios, and repertoire.
Upon completion of the performance core, students will:
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and traditional styles into musical interpretation;
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and instrumental technique into their daily practice routines;
- demonstrate technical proficiency on their principal instrument;
- demonstrate the ability to sight-read music in a variety of styles;
- play music in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
- play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation; and
- apply knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation.
Applicants must audition with their chosen instrument when applying to the college. Learn more about the auditioning with a brass instrument.
Once accepted, you will audition with the Brass Department to get your ensemble ratings. These are used for placement into private instruction and ensemble courses. Learn more about placement auditions.
Curriculum and Courses
All students complete four semesters to fulfill their performance core requirement:
- Private Instruction 1: Brass
- Private Instruction 2: Brass
- Private Instruction 3: Brass
- Private Instruction 4: Brass
These group lessons bring together brass players of similar skill levels and provide training in specific aspects of brass performance such as reading, section playing, and improvisation. Most of the teaching materials used in these labs are created by the very Berklee faculty who will be teaching you.
See instrumental labs in our course catalog.
Through ensembles, you will hone essential performance skills and techniques. They help you broaden your stylistic range, give you experience playing with a variety of groups, and expand your network of musical friends and colleagues.
Ensembles are offered in multiple sections with varying levels of ability. You choose the group and style that appeal to you, and your eligibility is determined by ongoing auditions that measure your growth as a performer. This system enables you to move into more advanced ensembles as you develop your skills.
More than 350 faculty-supervised ensembles rehearse weekly at Berklee.
Ear for the Past, Voice of the Future
Whether it's classical, jazz, or a variety of other styles, you'll find expert faculty in the Berklee Brass Department that will meet you where you are and help you cultivate your own voice. You'll learn to steep yourself in tradition as well as use your own story as a way to discover a fresh, new sound.