With an array of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as summer, international, and precollege offerings, Berklee College of Music provides options for students of all levels to explore and achieve their artistic, academic, and career potential.
Five- and six-part writing for instruments. Application of voicings in seconds, thirds, and fourths. Upper-structure triads, clusters, and other nonmechanical voicings derived from chord scales. Extensive score analysis.
An introduction to writing and production techniques in hip-hop styles. Topics include the social and cultural aspects of hip-hop music as it pertains to the music's origins and early pioneers, the analysis of stylistic and musical characteristics, and instruction in the use of sequencing software in hip-hop production.
Expanding on the material introduced in Arranging 1, this course focuses on a more in-depth study of stylistic approaches of creating and writing grooves for the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and percussion) and how different styles work together and influence each other. Original techniques and practical approaches to creating grooves will be presented through listening analysis, original writing techniques, as well as methods used to create hybrid grooves. Styles to be covered include: funk, rock, soul, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, electronic, and Brazilian, which includes some selected Caribbean styles. Some production analysis will be included to identify soundscapes and instrumentation as they relate to style.
Conceptualizing, writing, and producing vocals; contemporary writing and production techniques for vocal groups of different sizes; working with vocals in live situations versus the recording studio environment; writing background vocals above a band versus a cappella vocal writing. Creating vocal band effects will also be explored. Range considerations, timbre, vocal production, and notation for various size vocal groups; writing and production techniques and considerations for recording studio situations.
Composition of music for radio and television commercials. Emphasis on means of creating suitable product image. Working with, and alteration of, given lyrics. Some lyric writing. Determining proper instrumentations. Timing considerations.
The Directed Study – The Artist Showcase Ensemble is a course designed to be an intensive 15-week professional concert. There will be a limit of two accepted proposals for this course each semester as these courses will need intense departmental and college dedication, focus, preparation, and resources. The lead student submits the approved application and proposal and is responsible for leading the rehearsals, delegating responsibilities, communicating week-to-week goals, planning the final performance, and promoting the final performance. These sections are created to support students who desire a show of covers or original music within the pop idiom. The assigned/selected faculty is responsible for mentoring the lead student in their directorial role, and assisting students with coordinating equipment and/or performance needs with the Ensemble Department and/or College, as necessary.
The directed study application process is as follows:
Attend mandatory directed study meeting held during each midterm week
A performance class to help pianist/vocalist and guitar/vocalist solo performers develop repertoire and stage presence. Weekly in class performances and critiques will help the student with developing a groove while singing by systematically working through straight eighth, swing eighth, straight sixteenth, swing sixteenth, and triplet subdivisions. Some classes will be videotaped so that the students can watch and learn. Practice techniques will be discussed, as well as how to choose a song, how to choose the right key, how to program a set, and the art of auditioning. Original repertoire may be used, but the music of artists like Billy Joel, Elton John, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, James Taylor, and John Mayer will also be covered.
The Vocal Recording Session Ensemble is designed for vocalists to develop strong communication skills when leading musicians in a studio session. Students work with the basic, overdub, and mixing engineer. Each engineer may have a different approach and with individualized coaching from the professor, students have an opportunity to lead their project (song) in the studio. Vocalists learn the proper terminology to address recording engineers before, during, and after each session. Lead engineers learn how to support and encourage the best performance from the artist, while coordinating with an assistant engineer. The basic engineer and the assisting engineers are responsible for setting up the studio and striking each recording session. Instrumentation set-up ranges from piano/keys, guitar, bass, drums, microphones, DI boxes, headphone mixers, etc. Each recording session includes a rhythm section and other instrumentation as needed. Vocalists contact/notify the basic engineer two days in advance regarding song style and instrumentation.
An ensemble for singers who accompany themselves and wish to advance performance skills, as well as reflect on their creative process. This course explores the best arrangements for solo performance, advancing instrumental skills, solo rhythm skills, personal commitment and motivation in performance, and dynamic choices in both voice and accompaniment. Group exercises include speed writing/arranging, reimagining a cover song, and song-swap covers. A midterm reflection paper in response to The War of Art is required.
Functional, extended, and bass line reharmonization. Incomplete chord structures and reharmonization of diminished chords. Application of the above techniques for writing turnarounds, introductions, interludes, modulations, and extended endings. Corrections of faulty lead sheets.
A lab for the non-guitar principal focusing on technique for the development of basic lead, comping, and soloing skills for effective performance. Students are required to provide their own acoustic or electric guitar.
A lab for non-voice principals designed to address the basic elements of singing: breath management, intonation, tone quality, and phrasing. Students will participate in periodic self-assessment, including videotaping of in-class performance.