Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Justin Poon (Page 1 of 3)

Victor Wooten Joins Kenny Werner at Effortless Mastery Clinic

I recently had the pleasure and privilege of attending a Berklee Effortless Mastery Institute clinic with guest artist and bassist extraordinaire Victor Wooten. The Effortless Mastery Institute, or EMI, is led by artistic director Kenny Werner, a pianist and a seasoned professional in the jazz scene who has performed and written for many jazz orchestras, won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and made more than 20 records as a bandleader. One of the main goals of the EMI is to help Berklee students reclaim their inner voice and their connection to music by teaching them how to overcome physical and mental obstacles that keep them from performing at their highest levels.

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Bierylo on Using a Moog System 55 Synth for ‘Nosferatu’

This past Friday, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performed, live to picture, a new score written by Berklee professor Sheldon Mirowitz and eight of his film scoring students, for the legendary silent horror film Nosferatu. The performance, conducted by the Boston Pops’ Keith Lockhart, featured world-class theremin player Rob Schwimmer, and Michael Bierylo, chair of Berklee’s Electronic Production and Design (EPD) Department, who performed on the famous Moog System 55 Modular Synthesizer.

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Sample Kings

37863_409686911221_6329760_nJustin Poon is an eighth-semester guitar principal at Berklee studying performance and electronic production and design. He is heavily involved as a performing musician, producer, DJ and sound designer. As a founding member of Affiliated Gallery, a creative design group based in Toronto, Justin is involved in film scoring and sound design. He spins a two-hour non-stop electronica music show every Thursday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on The BIRN. You can also check out some of his work as a guitarist here.

One of the more timeless methods behind electronic music production is sampling, a method that has been used by artists and producers of all styles. Sampling is the use of snippets of recordings that are cut up into pieces from various sources and reassembled—something like a collage—to create something new. Since sampling is such a popular method used by many masterful producers, one blog post isn’t enough to cover all of them, but here are some of my notable favourite records and artists that make use of sampling.

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Lamar’s Album Grows on You

billb-300x200Bill Banfield is a professor of Africana studies/music and society and director of the Center for Africana Studies and programs at Berklee. An award-winning composer, jazz guitarist, recording artist, and public radio show host, he has authored five books for Scarecrow Press on music, arts, cultural criticism, and history.

After much fuss from and persuasion by many of my students, I decided to take a deeper look at Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. With my first listen in a car riding home, I didn’t like what I heard. It was not just a repulsion of the language and the seemingly thug spirit it seemed to evoke in me, but the language as well and the images inside the CD booklet. I only saw the same dark, twisted, exploited, projected and closed, broken narrative of so many contemporary hip-hop records. But I pushed myself to listen again more deeply with an eye toward the art and arc, and reach of the music.

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Looking Back on Old Influences

37863_409686911221_6329760_nJustin Poon is an eighth-semester guitar principal at Berklee studying performance and electronic production and design. As a founding member of Affiliated Gallery, a creative design group based in Toronto, Justin is involved in film scoring and sound design. You also check out some of his work here.

I started playing guitar in the fourth grade, learning songs out of the same book that pretty much every guitar player at the time was using: the Hal Leonard Guitar Method Vol. 1. I still remember the exercises that got you into learning every string one by one, the basic open position chords, and how hard it was to go back and forth between C and G7. When I had finally discovered tabs, my mind was opened to learning any song I wanted to near-accuracy. By then, I was learning all the Blink-182 and Linkin Park songs I wanted.

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