Kevin Belz

Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments

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Kevin Belz is a versatile and well-rounded musician with years of playing experience including extensive touring both internationally and nationally. Some of the names he has recorded and/or played with include New Orleans piano great and legend Henry Butler, Susan Tedeschi from the Tedeschi Trucks Band, blues great Duke Robillard, Ellis Hall of the Tower of Power band, Mighty Sam McClain, and Handy Award nominee Toni Lynn Washington, to name a few.

Along with his full schedule at Berklee teaching jazz, rock, and blues styles, Belz also has a full schedule of playing live shows and records in and around the New England area. He has been a regular faculty member at Berklee for 11 years.

Career Highlights
  • Performances with Paula Cole, Catie Curtis, Ellis Hall, Mighty Sam McClain, and Susan Tedeschi, among others
  • Recordings with Journey and Mighty Sam McClain
  • Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts scholarship
  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
In Their Own Words

"In class, there's a lot of playing. I feel it's important just to play rather than writing scales on the board. The emphasis is on improvising, playing, and listening. I'll play the song, I'll go over the parts, and we'll play and try to incorporate what we listened to."

"I try to teach the way I learned how to play. I use more ear-type training than music and handout sheets. In the real world, on gigs, 90 percent of the time you just get a CD to learn tunes. I have the students transcribe songs, not necessarily writing them down but a lot of learning by ear, a lot of call-and-response stuff, transcriptions off records and CDs."

"I try to give students the tools they really need. For guitar players, they're not going to front their whole band all the time. It's very important that they know how to back up a singer. They can't play everything they know all the time. I teach them not to play sometimes, not to overplay, and to really listen. It's great to know a lot and to have the acrobatics and gymnastics on the guitar, but a lot of times you don't need that, and it's good to know the subtleties. I stress the subtleties of playing more than anything."

"I emphasize the roots of music a little more than the more contemporary stuff. For artists such as John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan, rather than trying to sound like them, I dig a little deeper into the roots of the blues and check out some of the guys that they may have listened to. This helps to get a wider perspective of what the blues is all about and where its roots are coming from."

"Sometimes during a midterm or a final, students will say they're too tired, that they could have played so much better. I tell them that when you're really playing, when you're out gigging, that's how it is. You have to perform no matter what."