John McGee

Position
Assistant Chair
Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail

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John Paul McGee is a masterful musician, dynamic preacher, producer, published author, and educator. At the age of 4, without any formal training, he began to play familiar hymns and church songs by ear. By age 11, he was studying piano and pipe organ at the New Shiloh School of Music, under the tutelage of the late Dr. Nathan Carter, and subsequently graduated in 2002 from Baltimore School for the Arts with an arts certificate in piano and opera studies. He began his career in church music at the age of 12 as full-time minister of music at Waters AME church in Baltimore. As a keyboardist, vocal arranger, producer, and songwriter, he has been privileged to grace stages across the world with many popular gospel, jazz, R&B, and classical artists.

Dr. McGee is a 2006 graduate of Bethune-Cookman College with a Bachelor of Arts in music with a concentration in piano performance. He is a May 2008 graduate of Liberty University with a Master of Arts in religion with a concentration in church ministries. He is a 2015 graduate of Emory University in Atlanta with a Master of Sacred Music degree with a concentration in pipe organ performance. He is a June 2021 graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta with a Doctor of Ministry degree with concentration in pastoral care and counseling. From August through December 2021, McGee was resident professor of music for Verto Education in Pahoa, Hawaii, and he began his appointment as assistant chair of the Piano Department at Berklee College of Music in January 2022.

Career Highlights
  • Executive vice president of Gospel Heritage Foundation
  • Featured pianist on the 2017 film A Question of Faith
  • Conductor and arranger for Orlando Ballet's 2018 production Contemporary Wonders: Love Is
  • Featured pianist and clinician, 2015 jazz tour of Colombia, Centro Colombo Americano 
  • Former vocal producer for EMTRO, a gospel record label
  • Published author of Elevate!: 21 Days of Reflection, Prayer & Worship 
  • Musical collaborations with Gary Motley, Kim Burrell, Sisaundra Lewis, Judith Christie-McAllister, Jonathan Nelson, VaShawn Mitchell, Anthony Brown, Earnest Pugh, and many others
  • Instrumental specializations in "gospejazzical" piano (a unique improvisatory fusion of gospel, jazz, and classical), Hammond organ, and pipe organ
Awards
  • 40 Under 40 Alumni Award, Bethune-Cookman University
  • Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), active learning certification
Education
  • D.Min., Interdenominational Theological Center
  • M.S.M, Emory University
  • B.A., Bethune-Cookman University, piano performance
In Their Own Words

"The Latin transliteration of the English word 'educate' is 'educare,' which means to draw out of. I believe that everything that a student needs to succeed is already inside of them, as an educator I become a curator of human and musical potential, helping the students to locate the excellence that is already within. I want every student who engages me as a chair or an instructor to know that in every meeting they have come closer to the realization of their limitless potential as a musician and scholar."

"Several years ago, I devised 'gospejazzical' as the original term to describe my unique improvisatory style of piano performance. Gospejazzical is an improvisatory fusion of the gospel, jazz, and classical musical idioms that I've developed over my many years as a professional in the three individual fields that I've fused. At one point, I felt as if I had to choose one of these three genres that I was highly proficient in to have a focused career; however, each of these fields make me the musician that I am. As an instructor, I aim to lead pianists into the understanding of the power of interconnectedness in musical styles and approaches to learning. There is no need for compartmentalization, but the educational process ought always to be one of exploration that allows students to emerge in the fullness of their unique selves."

"The Berklee Piano Department is the largest in the world for a reason. The exemplary caste of faculty that are skilled in nearly every known genre of pianism creates a magnetically energetic and diverse environment that allows students to discover and deepen their relationship with the piano, keyboard, and organ as instruments and their ever-evolving and emerging role in global music making."

"Berklee is the preeminent institution for the study of contemporary music of the African diaspora. Consequently, I find no better place for students to discover their place in the world as a human being who makes music. Historically, music of the African diaspora has been connected to hope and healing. I believe that any musician who desires to use music as a resource to help, heal, and bring hope to the world should study at Berklee College of Music."