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Born and raised in the southeastern United States, Rebecca Cline has lived in Boston since 1999. After graduating from the University of North Carolina in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Studies and a minor in music, she spent several years living and traveling in Cuba, Brazil, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music in 2001.
Currently a professor at Berklee, Cline has taught Latin jazz and mixed-styles ensembles, Cuban piano classes, and jazz studies at the college since 2003.
She is the author of Latin Jazz Piano: Clave, Comping and Soloing, published by Berklee Press. She has traveled independently and with Berklee to conduct workshops in Asia (Malaysia and China), Europe (Italy and Spain), South America (Brazil and Ecuador), and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic). She performs regularly with the Rebecca Cline Trio, and has performed and recorded with the band Mango Blue for more than a decade.
“I am a white woman from the southeastern United States who has lived in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Brazilian Amazon—all for the purpose of studying music. I hope to inspire students through the example of my having immersed myself in the cultures of the musical styles I have studied. Learning the language, the gestures, the slang, and many of the customs of Puerto Rico and Cuba has helped me immeasurably to understand the nuances of the music. Forming lasting friendships and close professional relationships with people from both islands has enabled me to experience the music organically.”
“In addition to gaining performance skills, I hope students will come away from my classes with a clearer idea of how they can take responsibility for achieving their own musical goals. For example, I try to model the importance of learning directly from recorded music instead of from lead sheets. In order to choose a repertoire that best suits the performing ensemble, based on instrumentation, cultural relevance, resonance, aesthetic preferences, current ability, and other factors, I often transcribe arrangements from recordings. Students are encouraged to rely heavily on the source recording as they learn their parts. Through participating in this approach, I hope students will prioritize learning music from recordings rather than from lead sheets as they continue in their careers.”