Marty Walsh is an assistant professor in the Ensemble and Music Production departments at Berklee College of Music. A veteran of the Los Angeles studio music scene, he has worked as a guitarist with some of the biggest names in the business. The early 1980s found him on the hits "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton, "She Works Hard For The Money" by Donna Summer, and "Heartlight" by Neil Diamond, to name a few. He also recorded with John Denver, Eddie Money, Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, and Julio Iglesias, among others.
In 1985, Walsh played guitar on the Supertramp album Brother Where You Bound, and toured with the band in 1985–86 and again in 1988 after playing on their 1988 release Free as a Bird. Continuing to do recording sessions into the 1990s, he performed on three of LeAnn Rimes' albums, including I Need You, whose title track set the record for consecutive weeks (54) in the top 40. Walsh can be heard on the Freddie Jackson single "Until The End Of Time," which reached no. 1 on Billboard's R&B charts.
"There is nothing like experience as a learning tool. I draw 90 percent of what I use in my classes from my own background. My experience with some really wonderful musicians, in terms of performance and production, has given me a backlog of information I can draw on, be it music to work with in my ensembles or ideas I use in my production classes."
"In my MP&E classes, I try to look at many of the small details of production that otherwise would have a tendency to go unnoticed. In my ensembles, I like to be 'part specific.' I look at how the drums and bass are interacting. I look at how the harmonic instruments are interacting. Are they playing in appropriate registers? Are the parts complementing or fighting each other?"
"Once we get the tune up and running, the players have more liberty to embellish their parts—within the framework of the tune. The song comes first. All improvisational ideas are drawn from the song."
"To be a good ensemble player, the first thing you've got to have is good feel. If you can't perform with a good groove, it's useless. The second thing is interaction. Your individual performance is secondary to the way you fit with the band. The third is content. I am big on theme and development. Learn the song, the melody and the harmony, and base your playing on that content."
"Hearing my ensembles play better in the final performance than they did on day one of class is extremely rewarding. Listening to the final mixes of my music production students, when they have really taken a song from point A to point Z, and it sounds like it should be on the radio—well it doesn't get much better than that."