All students at Berklee College of Music enter with a principal instrument.
No matter what major you end up pursuing, you will complete at least four semesters of private instruction, labs, and ensembles with this instrument. This fulfills your performance core requirement.
The woodwind family includes the:
- bassoon; and
- bass clarinet.
Find Your Expression
From the orchestra to the jazz trio, Berklee's Woodwind Department provides a community that allows you to be the best woodwind player you can be. With 18 faculty working in the department, you’re going to find someone who understands your musical goals and helps you develop them to their fullest expression.
Katie Webster Named the 22nd Jimmy Lyons Scholar to Berklee
What Will I Learn?
Berklee prepares you for today's music by building on traditional aspects of learning. Woodwind Department instruction emphasizes a solid foundation in the standard technical challenges of professional performance. This includes the basics—breathing, embouchure, articulation—as well as theoretical studies involving scales, chords, arpeggios, and repertoire. In addition, advanced styles, improvisation, and interpretation are studied.
Upon completion of the performance core, students will:
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and traditional styles into musical interpretation;
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and instrumental technique into their daily practice routines;
- demonstrate technical proficiency on their principal instrument;
- demonstrate the ability to sight-read music in a variety of styles;
- play music in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
- play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation; and
- apply knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation.
Applicants must audition with their chosen instrument when applying to the college. Learn more about auditioning with a woodwind instrument.
Once accepted, you will audition with the Woodwind Department to get your ensemble ratings. These are used for placement into private instruction and ensemble courses. Learn more about placement auditions.
Curriculum and Courses
All students complete four semesters to fulfill their performance core requirement:
- Private Instruction 1—Woodwinds
- Private Instruction 2—Woodwinds
- Private Instruction 3—Woodwinds
- Private Instruction 4—Woodwinds
Specialized labs bring together players of similar performance levels and provide training in specific aspects of woodwind performance. The labs cover a range of genres and styles.
Browse instrumental labs in our course catalog.
Through ensembles, you will hone essential performance skills and techniques. They help you to broaden your stylistic range, to expand your network of musical friends and colleagues, and to gain diverse group-playing experience.
Ensembles are offered in multiple sections for varying levels of ability. You choose the group and style that appeal to you. Your eligibility is determined by ongoing auditions that measure your growth as a performer.
More than 350 faculty-supervised ensembles rehearse weekly at Berklee.