Courses for BGJI Students

The BGJI curriculum is composed of ensembles, workshops, private study, and interdisciplinary seminars, and is designed to build a community of creativity. Here's a sample list of courses:

ILGJ-375 Danilo Pérez Performance Lab (1 credit)

An advanced lab for Berklee Global Jazz Institute students that will meet for five three-hour sessions per semester. The meetings will be scheduled at the beginning of each semester by the instructor. The lab will focus on creativity and finding your own voice, technique, improvisation, and ensemble playing. See chair for schedule. The class will present a recital as a final project. 

ENGJ-404 Global Jazz Ensemble (1 credit)

Please note: This course is for performance majors who are accepted in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute only. The global jazz ensemble is designed for high-level student performers who are focused on their development as jazz instrumentalists. This ensemble will perform a wide range of jazz styles,  including swing, bebop, free, avant-garde, and contemporary. Students will gain ensemble experience through weekly performances that focus on group interaction, swinging, dynamics, phrasing, as well as individual and group improvisation. Emphasis will be given to hearing and expressing your musical ideas with stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.

PSGJ-321 Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation: Global Jazz (2 credits)

Please note: This course is for performance majors who are accepted in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute only. This course explores the relationship between improvisation and harmonic context and includes analysis of harmonically sophisticated music using analytical techniques from HR-212. Students learn how to use chord scales in improvisation and analysis of recorded jazz solos, and discuss specific harmonic idioms and their related improvising styles. Students examine the solos of John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Woody Shaw, and other influential soloists.

LHUM-310 Creativity and Expression in the Arts (3 credits)

In this course, students explore the artistic and creative processes involved in jazz and examine the connections among jazz and different modes of artistic expression, including the connections among jazz performance and visual art forms. Students analyze the ways that different art forms influence their music performances and compositions. Students evaluate the expressive qualities found in music and other art forms, including dance, visual arts, literature, film, and more. Students refine their own personal aesthetic through reflection, research, inventive performance, improvisation, composition, and analysis. This course is team taught by a faculty member from Liberal Arts and Sciences and a faculty member from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

PSGJ-498 Preparatory Global Jazz Forum (1 credit)

Please note: This course is for performance majors who are accepted in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute only. This course is the first in a two-course sequence, with the second part being PSGJ-499, the Global Jazz Forum. This preparatory forum is a seminar style assembly for early semester BGJI undergrad students. The objective of the preparatory forum is community learning, critical thinking in interdisciplinary aesthetics, and building the foundations for the Global Jazz Forum. Over the course of the semester, this course will host and present students' special musical projects, BGJI artists in residence, and BGJI faculty workshops, as well as special topic presentations from faculty of the Performance Division, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Music Therapy, and Composition departments.

PSGJ-499 Global Jazz Forum (1 credit)

Please note: This course is for performance majors who are accepted in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute only. This course is a seminar style assembly for the student body of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and the second course in the two-course Global Jazz Forum sequence. The objective of the Global Jazz Forum is community learning and critical thinking in interdisciplinary aesthetics, building on the skills learned in PSGJ-498. The Global Jazz Forum hosts and presents students' special musical projects, BGJI artists in residence, and BGJI faculty workshops, as well as special topic presentations from faculty of the Performance Division, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Music Therapy, and Composition departments. 

PS-498 Directed Study in Improvisation (1 credit)

This course is a high-level playing class that explores the various melodic roles of the instruments. Course materials and instruction address how to construct and improvise pattern-organized melody lines on the chord progressions of standard jazz songs using symmetric scales, chord couplings, interval patterns, and melodic cells. Emphasis is placed upon students learning how to practice and perform music that includes the techniques learned in the classroom and from the recommended reading.

PSGJ-375 World Percussion for Global Jazz (2 credits)

Please note: This course is for performance majors who are accepted in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute only. This unique BGJI course focuses on binary (2/4, 4/4) and ternary (6/8, 12/8) rhythm structures from Ghana and (time-permitting) South Indian metric concepts. Includes hands-on playing of ensemble instruments (bells, shakers, drums), singing traditional songs, and developing heightened independence using “harmonic time” (HT).

Harmonic time is a three-tiered body orchestration: first, stepping to the pulse while wearing ankle bells; second, setting up counter clapping/sticking patterns; and third, speaking African and Indian vocal patterns to internalize musical time, groove, and mathematics. This method allows one to “feel” how parts combine rather than relying on the intellect to "hear" combinations.