"We want Contemporary Writing and Production graduates to be strong enough to work within any professional environment. We would like them to be able to say 'Yes!' to anyone who wants a project written, arranged, or produced in a contemporary music setting. I try to give students the life skills to allow them to do anything in the music world."
"Being versatile is extremely important. And Berklee is the ideal place to try everything. You're contained in a building where you live and breathe music, surrounded by 3,000 musicians who all love to play. You're exposed to all these different styles and musicians who can play those different styles. I always encourage my students not to work on what they already know. I tell them, 'You don't want to go out the door just knowing the same thing you came in knowing.'"
"I'm interested in making sure students 'get it' as opposed to just letting them survive on their own, so to speak. Sometimes students will do a project, and they don't get it right. They always have the opportunity to redo it, and I'll look at that new one and forget about the other one. In the music tech courses that I teach, it's very hands-on. So they dive into the software—they learn it however they like to learn—and I go over the technique. Then in Writing Skills, I drill them on the writing. It's just a lot of practice—it's kind of like ear training in that way. And the students invariably get it."
"Writing and singing, singing and writing—these are things I've done since I was very young. Now I teach vocal writing in the Contemporary Writing and Production Department. Here is the perfect place to give my students, many of whom are primarily instrumentalists, the inside scoop on writing and arranging for vocalists and vocal ensembles."
"I like making the content for the online classes. It's a more relaxed atmosphere, just sitting in your office deciding how best to present this material. Is it best presented with a video, with a piece of text, with a custom app that Berkleemusic makes for me? Some of the things I do online I can't do in the classroom. I do a series of videos where the student sees my hands on the keyboard, sees the Ableton program right there, and it has my voiceover. In the classroom I don't have a camera guy at my back. Another of the things I do is like a VH1 pop-up video. You watch the waveform of the tune, but every time that I hear something important, a little observation pops up."
"I get really fired up when I point out all the little magical things that different players in a band do, what makes a particular player's or arranger's contribution unique, and how that expresses something for the whole piece. It's important to really commit to learning everything that's going on inside that music and its context. You throw yourself into it, and when you come out, that's really when you learn. You can't just dip your toe in the water, you have to drink from the fire hose. Then you can decide how much you want to take away from the experience."
"A lot of the music that I wrote at Berklee as student projects in the '80s ended up on my solo albums. Many times I have told my students that if you put a lot into your time at Berklee, you can get a lot out of it. It's a great place to begin working on your dreams."