Music Technology Innovation
When I started teaching remixing, it meant something totally different than what it means today. Then, it meant redoing musical parts and getting a better mix. Now it means preparing a dance, trance, jungle, or house remix. Today, many remixers are DJs, and studying their work is how I learned about using the turntable as a musical instrument. In 1997, one of my students brought in a video of a championship DJ competition. It just blew my socks off, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to do that!’ I bought a pair of turntables, set them up in my basement, and started practicing—much to the chagrin of my family. They thought I’d totally lost it.
People take it for granted today that jazz is serious music worthy of the same disciplined study as classical music. But when Berklee began teaching jazz improvisation in the 1940s and rock guitar in the 1960s, most other music schools perceived those musical forms as a threat to ‘serious’ music. It’s the same situation with hip-hop and turntablism today.
I think this is an important cultural movement. Hip-hop has been widely misunderstood and misrepresented in the media. To me, it is urban folk music that originated in the Bronx. DJs are the musicians of the culture, and the turntable is their instrument. The level of performance is incredibly high, and the creativity involved in developing different techniques is amazing.
- Director of Music Technology Innovation at Berklee College of Music’s Valencia Campus
- B.M., North Texas State University
- M.M., Western Kentucky University
- Twenty-five years experience as a record producer, engineer, session player, music director, studio designer, recording artist, and DJ.
- Webber’s innovative teaching has helped propel his students to the top of the international music charts—garnering multi-platinum records and Grammy awards in pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, country, bluegrass, folk, classical and Latin categories.
- Composer and turntable soloist of the Stylus Symphony, a groundbreaking work that combines a full orchestra with hip-hop, trip-hop and dub step.
- Produced and engineered albums for a wide-range of artists, including a recent collaboration with DJ Premier and Nas for the Re:Generations Music Project, a film professor Webber appeared in alongside Erica Badu, Skrillex, Mos Def, and the Doors.
- Emmy Award-winning composer
- Author of Turntable Technique: The Art of the DJ, the first book to teach the turntable as a musical instrument, as well as DJ Skills: the Ultimate Guide to Mixing and Scratching.
- Appearances on CNN, NBC, NPR, and CBS, and in the New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine.
- Music Production Analysis, Webber’s course for Berklee Music Online, won 2010’s international “Best Online Course Award” from the University Continuing Education Association.
- Authored dozens of articles and cover stories for Mix Magazine, Re-mix, and Electronic Musician.
- Designed several recording studios.
- A multi-instrumentalist who often contributes guitars, keyboards, banjo, mandolin and turntables to his productions, Stephen has recorded with Mark O’Connor, and Meshell Ndegeocello, and performed with Bela Fleck, Grandmixer DXT, and Emmylou Harris.
- Conducted film scores at Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Ranch