Kris Adams

Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail

For media inquiries, please contact Media Relations

Vocalist Kris Adams is the author of Sing Your Way Through Theory: A Music Theory Workbook for the Contemporary Singer. Her recording credits include two television specials for PBS and four CD releases: This Thing Called Love, Weaver of DreamsLonging, and We Should Have Danced all on Jazzbird Records. Adams has shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Wayne Escoffery, Lee Musiker, Cameron Brown, Billy Drummond, Bill Pierce, Harvie S, Jay Leonhart, and Michelle Hendricks. She has performed and given clinics in New England, New York, and Los Angeles in the U.S., and also in Brazil, Germany, and Italy, including recently at the Fara Sabina Jazz Festival alongside Jonathan Kreisberg, Kevin Hays, Rueben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson.

Career Highlights
  • Active vocalist and band leader
  • Performances and recordings with Paul Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, Harvie Swartz, and John LaPorta
  • Clinician and adjudicator
  • Artist in residence, Centro-Cultural Costariccense Norteamericano, Costa Rica
  • Faculty member, School of Continuing Education of the New England Conservatory of Music and Wellesley College
  • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
In Their Own Words

"Most schools teach only classical harmony. Berklee has a system that started with the Schillinger method, and the harmony program is unique to Berklee. The harmony that you're studying in my department is based on popular music of the past 100 years, as opposed to Bach's voice leading (which is very good and necessary to understand the music from that era); we're using tunes that are more current. The Harmony Department has a tune file committee that comes up with songs all over the map: Brazilian tunes, jazz tunes, country tunes, R&B tunes, all kinds of stuff, even classical."

"As a singer, I can share a different perspective with students. Singers and drummers usually do things by ear. Drummers are dealing with rhythm, and a lot of times they say, 'Why do I need to know this stuff? I'm just a drummer.' But if you talk to famous drummers who write and lead bands and compose, it's a lot more."

"I'm just finishing up a book for singers about learning the major key signatures. I recorded a CD where I sing all the major scales with the note names. It's exactly what I do in class."

"I also try to get students to play piano. You have to know the note to play it on the piano, so it's a good reference. Guitarists picture their fret board, horn players picture their fingering, and it's important for singers and drummers to picture the keyboard."