Minor in Performance Studies in Latin Music

The performance studies in Latin music minor will enhance a student's knowledge of the rhythms and techniques of Latin music, while also exploring the sociological, political, and anthropological contexts in which Latin music's various contingencies developed.

Designed for all instruments and ensemble ratings, the minor includes foundational rhythm courses as well as more specific advanced ensembles for different subsets of Latin music, including Brazilian, Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, and others. Global Sight Reading and Advanced Rhythmic Solfege, Bata Rhythms and Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming, and Survey of Latin American Hand Percussion are just some of the labs and ensembles that are a part of this minor.

Students will also choose from a variety of history and analysis and liberal arts classes to enhance their knowledge of Latin music's diverse range, such as Contemporary South American Music, and Cuban Culture, Music, and Society as well as Latin music–specific harmony and writing courses to deepen their aural and structural understanding of the genre. Upon completion of this minor, students will have a well-developed understanding of both the performance aspects of Latin music and the history and cultures from which it was born and continues to thrive. Learn more about Latin music at Berklee.

Entrance Requirements

Students must take LENG-111 Introduction to College Writing. Upon completion of LENG-111, please follow the regular declaration of minor procedure as outlined in the Registration Guide. This minor is managed by the Professional Performance Division.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a minor in performance studies in Latin music, students will:

  • play Latin rhythmic patterns (e.g. clave) on a variety of percussion instruments;
  • demonstrate the ability to play in Latin ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic emphasis;
  • understand differences and similarities among Latin musical styles of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America;
  • understand the role of each individual instrument in the context of Latin music;
  • compose music in a variety of Latin styles;
  • improvise in a variety of Latin styles; and
  • synthesize knowledge of Latin music history and repertory into one's own personal performance. 
Curriculum and Courses

Percussion Lab (choose one from the following; at least 1 credit)

  • ILPD-357 South American Rhythms for the Drum Set (1 credit)
  • ILPD-373 Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drum Set (2 credits)
  • ILPD-424 Caribbean Rhythms for Drum Set (1 credit)
  • ILPH-293 Afro-Caribbean Rhythms and Percussion for Non-Percussionists (2 credits)
  • ILPH-354 Batá Rhythms/Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming Lab (2 credits)
  • ILPH-357 Afro-Caribbean Rhythms and Percussion (2 credits)
  • ILPH-359 Brazilian Rhythms and Percussion (2 credits)
  • ILPH-371 Advanced Afro-Cuban Rhythms and Percussion (2 credits)
  • ILPH-429 Contemporary Techniques for Pop Percussion (1 credit)
  • PFSS-347 Survey of Latin American Hand Percussion Styles (2 credits)

Ensemble (choose one from the following; 1 credit)

  • ENGB-220 Contemporary South American Folkloric Music (1 credit)
  • ENGB-301 Caribbean Music (1 credit)
  • ENLT-200 Introduction to Latin Jazz (1 credit)
  • ENLT-201 Brazilian Instrumental Rating 3 with Vocals (1 credit)
  • ENLT-210 Cuban Moves and Grooves (1 credit)
  • ENLT-220 Latin/Afro-Cuban Styles (1 credit)
  • ENLT-221 Brazilian Instrumental Rating 4 with Vocals (1 credit)
  • ENLT-222 Afro-Cuban Music Rating 4 (1 credit)
  • ENLT-223 Afro-Cuban Traditional and Folkloric Music (1 credit)
  • ENLT-300 Latin/Afro-Cuban Jazz (1 credit)
  • ENLT-301 Brazilian Instrumental Rating 5 with Vocals (1 credit)
  • ENLT-302 Latin Music Recording Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENLT-320 Afro-Cuban Music Rating 6 (1 credit)
  • ENLT-400 Merengue and Bachata Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENLT-401 Salsa Ensemble (1 credit)
  • ENLT-402 Latin Jazz Originals (1 credit)
  • ENPH-291 Berklee Steelpan Ensemble (1 credit)
  • PSIM-341 Improvisation in the Latin/Jazz Idiom (2 credits)

Latin Music History (choose one from the following; 2 credits)

  • MLAN-342 Contemporary South American Music (2 credits)
  • PSW-346 African Diaspora: South American Music (2 credits)
  • PSW-361 Brazilian Musical Styles (2 credits)

Latin Culture and Society (one course; 3 credits)

  • LMAS-260 Cuban Music, Culture, and Society (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose two or three courses; at least 3 credits)

  • CW-217 Writing in Folkloric Latin Styles (2 credits)
  • CW-225 Writing in Salsa Styles (2 credits)
  • CW-313 Advanced Writing in Latin Styles (2 credits)
  • ENPN-246 Afro-Cuban Piano Montunos Ensemble (1 credit)
  • HR-241 Harmony in Brazilian Song (2 credits)
  • ILBS-261 Intro to Latin Jazz Bass Playing (1 credit)
  • ILBS-262 Brazilian Bass Lab (1 credit)
  • ILBS-361 Latin Bass Lines (1 credit)
  • ILGT-360 Advanced Brazilian Guitar Styles (1 credit)
  • ILPH-391 Steelpan Techniques for Percussionists (1 credit)
  • ILPN-243 Advanced Stylistic Comping - Latin (1 credit)
  • ILPN-247 Improvisation in Afro-Cuban Piano (1 credit)

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