Alum

Sean K. Skeete

Position
Dean, Professional Performance Division
Telephone
617-747-2994

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Hailing from the vibrant musical landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, Sean Skeete has established himself as a distinguished drummer, educator, and administrative leader. His lifelong journey with rhythm began at the age of 3 when he discovered the drum kit at his father's church, sparking an enduring passion for music. Skeete's path led him to Berklee College of Music, where he earned a full scholarship, a testament to his unwavering dedication and skill. In Boston, he immersed himself in the city's rich musical scene and honed his craft, shaping a unique style that draws inspiration from Caribbean music, jazz, gospel, and R&B.

With over two decades of professional experience, Skeete is a versatile performer, infusing profound musicality into every note. He has shared stages and studios with renowned artists such as Take 6, En Vogue, LoCash, and Cece Winans, as well as performed with esteemed orchestras like the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. In addition to his performances, Skeete has dedicated himself to education, and he currently holds the position of dean of the Performance Division at Berklee. In this role, he is entrusted with overseeing a distinguished group of academic leaders, educators, and performers, offering the world’s largest and most innovative performing arts curriculum. Skeete's commitment to education goes beyond administrative duties. For over two decades, he has taught ensembles, provided private drum lessons, and led drum set technique labs at Berklee. Furthermore, his educational influence extends globally as he conducts music workshops and clinics, enriching the lives of aspiring musicians worldwide.

In every role—on stage, in the classroom, or as an administrative leader—Skeete's influence is immeasurable. His career is marked by pushing boundaries, nurturing students, and an unwavering belief in music's power to connect and inspire. As his journey continues, he leaves an indelible legacy that resonates far beyond the notes he plays.

Career Highlights
  • Performances with Oleta Adams, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Teodross Avery, Freda Battle, Walter Beasley, Blue Man Group, Boston Pops, Boston Symphony, Will Downing, Stephen Hurd, Rueben Rogers, Stomp, Vinx, and Marvin Winans
  • Recordings include Elan Trotman's Memories and the George Russell Trio's Schlickness
Education
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
In Their Own Words

"My approach to teaching is encouraging students to share what their needs are. For me it's really important to have a colearning atmosphere. What do you need, where are you at? Once I assess that I can meet their needs. I stress proactivity. Ask questions. Challenge things. I want you to be fully engaged. We're not going to waste fifteen weeks—not with me. It's too much money."

"Sometimes students have unique voices, but they're really afraid to put themselves out there. I try to create an environment to draw that out there. If the only thing they get is the sense that I'm totally free and liberated, regardless of what mistakes I make when I play or what other people are thinking, everything else is just gravy. Yes, we've got to get the note accuracy, the rhythmic accuracy, but those to me are secondary, because the lesson I want them to have is intent versus content. I want some feeling, some attitude, some life experience in their playing. That's what makes music music."

"I've been mentoring with City Music since I started teaching here. It really just lines up with my life philosophy, which is engaging and inspiring the next generation. Whether or not I'm doing it at Berklee I'm doing it somewhere, because it's part of the way I was raised. I was one of those City Music students at one point, involved in the five-week program. Now I go back and help out the students that are coming behind me and help the program to expand and grow."

"I do about two to three gigs a week, locally and sometimes abroad. They vary. Next month is the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but next week is somebody's wedding. I'm always thinking in terms of students going out and working. These are the skills that you've got to have together to go out and work. Because it doesn't make any sense to get in debt at Berklee and then leave here and work at McDonald's. You get an opportunity here that many kids around the world would like to have, and you've got to take advantage of it."