Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Bryan Parys

Bach for the Beasts: Berklee Performs at the Franklin Park Zoo

UAREAVIOLIN-10Kathleen Chen ’17 is a first-semester student studying jazz violin performance and music production. She works for the Movement at Berklee, a student-run program that reaches out to the community through performance outreach, youth mentorship, and musical instruction.

Over the weekend, I played a gig in which the audience was the main attraction at the venue. The audience also did not clap after performances, or completely understand what I was doing with my instrument—because they consisted of tigers, kangaroos, and lemurs.

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Maria Wadman: Promoting a Student Culture of Giving

Maria WadmanMaria Wadman ’17 is a sixth semester student studying performance with a minor in Latin Music Studies. Her principal instrument is voice, with her secondary instrument being hand percussion. She’s works in the Berklee Fund office and is the founder of Berklee’s Student Philanthropy Group, a group mostly dedicated to getting students accurate information about how funding and philanthropy works at our school, and demystifying the finances of Berklee.

I have a lot of people ask me why I give to Berklee’s annual fund.

“You’re a student!”

“You pay tuition!”

“You work for the Berklee Fund”

I’ve been working in the Berklee Fund office since my first semester at Berklee. First it was just a job—I was calling alumni and parents, soliciting donations. I’d always done philanthropic work and enjoyed it, but to be honest, it wasn’t what drew me to the Berklee Fund. I just needed a job. But, the more time I spent at work the more involved I got. Inspired by my supervisor, team members, and the idea of giving, I began to do research and really understand what we were doing—we were making Berklee a better place for present and future students. After my first semester I became a supervisor and have never dreamed of another job.

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Rocket Science, Spaced Learning, and Songwriting

Ben Camp, Assistant Professor of Songwriting

Ben Camp, Assistant Professor of Songwriting

Ben Camp is an assistant professor of songwriting at Berklee, and author of bencamp.com. He is signed to Sony/ATV as a songwriter and has written for artists on Columbia, Sony, and Universal. In this post, Camp details his innovative methods for increasing students’ ability to gain—and remember—new educational concepts.

Songwriting isn’t rocket science.

But these unlikely bedfellows do have one thing in common: they both require a firm grasp of the fundamentals—whether it’s song form and similes, or algebra and calculus.

So, here in Berklee’s Songwriting Department, we teach those very basic building blocks of Songwriting—rhyme schemes, metaphors, song form—right from the first class we offer.

But teaching something once doesn’t mean that it’s been learned for life. I’m less concerned what my students remember on the midterm, and more concerned with what they remember three months, three years, or three decades after my class.

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Professor Jetro Da Silva: Remembering Andraé Crouch

Jetro Da SilvaJetro Da Silva is an artist, educator, producer, and researcher. Da Silva’s experience, training as a keyboardist, producer, and arranger has increased his opportunities to work with people such as: Whitney Houston, Jamie Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Pastor Andraé Crouch, Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, the Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight, Brandy, Sheila E., Namie Amuro, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Kem, Celine Dion, Patti Austin, Emilio Santiago, Monica, Mary Mary, and many others.

Earlier this month, Grammy-winning gospel pioneer Andraé Crouch passed away. Crouch received an honorary doctorate from Berklee and collaborated with the likes of Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, and Madonna to name a few, and is responsible for the recording career of Walter Hawkins and the Winans. Here, Berklee professor Jetro Da Silva shares his thoughts and memories on his friend and mentor.

I first met pastor Andraé Crouch back around 1994/1995 when I first attended the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) as a featured artist for Technics music instruments, supervised by Dan Slick, director of marketing for the company. Someone very dear to me whom I met while still a Berklee student offered me this opportunity. Those days, I was the music and choir director for the Roxbury Presbyterian Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Here is what is ironic: my intention was to take this opportunity to go to California and visit Pastor Crouch’s church and invite him to do a concert at Roxbury Presbyterian Church. While at the NAMM show, I was playing the Technics keyboards and learning the technology with people like Brian Alli and Christopher Halon who are now very important folks at Roland. In one of my breaks, I decided to take a walk and call Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ to find out the time of their services on Sunday. “Pastor Crouch is at the NAMM show with his sister Sandra Crouch,” they said.

“Really?” I asked.

“He will be at the Hilton Hotel attending a worship service and Quincy Jones will also be there,” they told me.

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Professor Jetro Da Silva: Racism Beyond the Headlines

Professor Jetro Da Silva (far right) stands with Berklee president Roger H. Brown (middle) and members of the Laboriel family.

Professor Jetro Da Silva (far right) stands with, from left: Abe Laboriel Jr. ’93, Abraham Laboriel Sr. ’72, Berklee president Roger H. Brown, and Mateo Laboriel ’03.

Jetro Da Silva is an artist, educator, producer, and researcher. Da Silva’s experience, training as a keyboardist, producer, and arranger has increased his opportunities to work with people such as: Whitney Houston, Jamie Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Pastor Andrae Crouch, Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, the Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight, Brandy, Sheila E., Namie Amuro, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Kem, Celine Dion, Patti Austin, Emilio Santiago, Monica, Mary Mary, and many others.

Last week, the Berklee community gathered to reflect and respond to developments in the Ferguson, Missouri coverage. Berklee professor Jetro Da Silva was among those who shared thoughts and personal experiences. The following post from Da Silva builds on those initial thoughts.

I remember when I first met our dear college president, Roger H. Brown. He was very enthusiastic when he found out that I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and with a great smile he said something like (I am paraphrasing here), “I have an impression that Brazil has less of the stark racism than we have in the U.S.?” I responded saying, “No, Roger—I am sorry to disappoint you, but this is not true.” I could see in his face an expression of disappointment or surprise.

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