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Master in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration)

Introduction

The Master of Music in Contemporary Performance with a concentration in production is designed to give advanced instrumentalists and vocalists of any style the confidence and skills in performance and production technology to take their careers to the next level.

It is distinctly contemporary in its content and approach, and embraces the principal musical movements of our time, allowing students to master their own style while discovering others. Students develop a strong artistic identity through frequent performance opportunities, private instruction, and ensembles. Throughout the program, students become adept at pre-production, recording, and mixing processes through ample firsthand experience in state-of-the-art studios—ready to meet the unique demands facing the artist of tomorrow.

Program Highlights

Contemporary Approach

The program is style-independent and is open to advanced performers from a wide variety of genres and styles, such as jazz, Latin, world music, pop, rock, classical, electronic and fusion, among others. Through hands-on playing and recording experience, you'll expand your musical horizons and learn to work with diverse and dynamic musicians.

Production Technology

Students spend ample time on pre-production, recording and mixing processes in our state-of-the-art recording studios and scoring stage designed by the Walters-Storyk Design Group. By the end of the program, you'll feel confident in any studio setting.

Live and Recorded Performance

Through private instruction, ensembles, the performance forum, and frequent performance opportunities, students work with faculty and visiting artists to develop their artistic identity to shine on stage or in the studio.

Who We Are Looking For

We seek highly skilled and creative instrumentalists and vocalists from all styles of contemporary music who wish to develop their live performance career further while also immersing themselves in the production process and experience.

Ideal candidates will:

  • enter the program with a substantial level of instrumental or vocal technique and musical skill, seeking to expand their experience through further exploration of familiar and new styles including fusions of genres;
  • have a deep motivation to learn and apply strategies for music production (including the pre-production, recording and mixing processes) to their craft, with a focus on artistic identity and intent;
  • have a strong interest in learning and applying new performance technology, electroacoustic instruments and video into their live and recorded performances.

Program Information

The master of music degree in contemporary performance offers advanced studies to instrumentalists and vocalists who demonstrate excellent musical proficiency and desire to develop their performance career in any style. Through the program, advanced musicians have the opportunity to develop their artistry in a wide array of performance projects. Students work with master musicians in a variety of genres, such as Flamenco, salsa, rock, Afro-Cuban jazz, electronic music, and more. Through applied lessons, ensembles, master classes, and course work, students deepen their understanding of the harmonic and stylistic practices associated with their chosen area of performance.

Students also learn to master the technological and entrepreneurial skills that are essential for the contemporary performer. Through the study of music business and production, students develop strategies for producing and marketing their performance projects. Students’ projects may take a variety of forms: a recording project, a lecture/demonstration, a grant proposal, a website marketing plan, or another option of students’ devising. This program is distinctly contemporary in its content and approach, and embraces the principal musical movements of our time.

Program Purposes and Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the program students will:

  1. Synthesize the harmonic and stylistic practices associated with their chosen area of performance
  2. Synthesize the skills required of performers in a variety of contemporary music settings
  3. Perform music in contemporary musical styles
  4. Create and improvise music
  5. Develop strategies for producing and marketing their performance projects
  6. Synthesize their artistic identity, vision and intent in their performance work
  7. Apply technology to recording and distributing their music

Culminating Experience

The culminating experience is the final project that students present at the end of the program and is related to their concentration. Through the culminating experience, students make a creative contribution to, and/or define and solve a problem that exists in, the profession. It is a major part of the master's program, and represents the educational journey students take throughout the year. Projects take shape and evolve throughout all three semesters, and the final presentation can be a research project, a creative work, or a practical project.

Culminating Experience Timeline

  • Semester One: Students propose their culminating experience to their advisor and program director.
  • Semester Two: Students revise and refine their proposal and get final approval from their advisor. Students also work with their advisor to form the culminating experience committee for their project.
  • Semester Three: Students complete and present their final project to the culminating experience committee.

For more detailed information about the culminating experience, you may reference pages 48-51 of the 2014/15 Graduate Bulletin.

Culminating Experience Examples

Several Miles to Ramanujam

M.T. Aditya Srinvasan's culminating experience, titled 'Several Miles to Ramanujam - A study in the application of Indian rhythmic concepts for western musicians,' sought to identify Indian rhythmic structures and ideas that would be useful as compositional, improvisational and accompaniment ideas for other genres of music (with specific reference to jazz). The idea emerged out of an observation that western musicians use similar rhythmic ideas, but not always consciously and without exploiting the rhythmic potential of a composition. Watch M.T.'s TEDxTalk on the Rhythm of Intent.

Stories in Chinese Tango

Yu Lu's culminating experience was a combination of tango, jazz, and Chinese culture. Yu had always loved Tango and had experience playing both traditional tango and new tango by Piazzolla. She wanted to spread tango further in Chinese society so she composed tango with jazz harmony and Chinese lyrics. The biggest challenge she had was to make the harmony and lyrics work smoothly with tango rhythm, so she did a lot of research on Tango groove, which eventually became a big part of her final presentation.

Academic Calendar

The master's program runs from September to August. To see the academic calendar for the current academic year, click here.

2014/2015 Graduate Bulletin

The graduate bulletin contains all the information relevant to Berklee Graduate programs for the current academic year. Program information may change year to year.

2014/2015 Graduate Studies Bulletin

Courses

The following are the courses students take over three semesters (fall, spring, summer) to complete the master in contemporary performance (production concentration). There is an optional internship that takes place the fall after graduation for those who want to do an internship through Berklee for credit.

  • Total Credits: 39/40 with optional internship
  • Total ECTS: 72/74 with optional internship

Required Course
Elective Course
Optional Course

Fall 2014 - Semester 1

Production Concepts for the Contemporary Performer

  • PS-522
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

The course is a project-based, experiential learning exercise that will arm students with powerful tools and strategies in music production. Artist identity, vision and intention will provide direction for a recording project that will give students first-hand experience in the preproduction, recording and mixing process. Recording sessions will take place in a variety of venues, from professional recording studios with a large-format console, to project studios, to home recording set ups. Students explore the ways that the recording process can best serve their own professional and artistic goals, while collaborating with musicians and engineers.

Artist Project Management

  • PS-532
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course prepares artists to build sustainable careers. Students learn to be innovative in the way they promote, distribute and monetize their own creative products. In this project-based course, students develop of a wide set of business-related skills. Students focus on their own professional projects in order to develop knowledge and skills in three essential areas: 1) project management and finance, 2) contract management and negotiation, and 3) social media management. Through this project-focus, students learn the connections between the creative and business aspects of the music industry. They also enhance their ability to manage projects and to manage their careers.

Masters Performance Forum

  • PS-619
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This is a performance workshop in which students learn interdisciplinary approaches to music-making. Students also explore various concepts of aesthetics, with a focus on developing their own aesthetic philosophy. Students will learn to critique each other as they present their own musical projects to the class for feedback and advice. Joining this discussion with students will be guest lecturers and artists-in-residence from a variety of diverse backgrounds: performers, composers, scholars in liberal arts, music educators, music therapists, artists working with Berklee's Global Jazz Institute, American Roots Music Program, Africana Studies Program, and more.

Private Instruction/Recording Projects

  • PIMM-550
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

The private lesson fosters close collaboration between student and instructor. Together, the student and private teacher develop a plan for enhancing the student's musical vocabulary and deepening his/her understanding of a particular genre of music (e.g. Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, bluegrass). Under the guidance of his/her private teacher, the student completes a variety of assignments that hone his/her interpretative skills, including playing standard repertoire for his/her instrument or voice; transcribing and analyzing recordings by acknowledged masters of the style; memorizing and performing complex melodic and rhythmic patterns; improvising over a variety of style-specific chord progressions; arrange songs for small ensembles; and experiment with tuning systems.

Contemporary Studio Ensemble

  • ENDS-550
  • 1 credits/2 ECTS
  • Note: students take this course three times (fall, spring, and summer).

This course enables students to enhance their ensemble-playing skills, deepen their knowledge of a particular style and its associated repertory, and develop their individual performance identities. Students develop their ability to create and perform music in a particular style. Working under the direction of a senior faculty member, students complete exercises that enhance their intonation, articulation, and improvisational skills in an ensemble context. Students learn to maintain stylistic integrity by developing their awareness of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic practices associated with a particular repertory.

Basic Keyboard Techniques 1

  • ISKB-221
  • 1 credits/2 ECTS
  • Note: this is a required skill class. Students are placed by exam, and may test out. Credits do not count in program total.

Principles of Music Research

  • GS-510
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS
  • Note: Optional electives do not count in program total.

Principles of Music Research introduces the tools of music scholarship, including reference and research materials in both book and electronic forms. Students develop the skills, attitudes, and understanding to research and write about music by learning how to approach various types of scholarly study within music and by increasing their proficiency with music library resources. Projects and assignments will be tailored to the individual needs of the student working towards his/her culminating experience or thesis project. Students learn advanced information seeking, assembling a literature review, evaluating current research, writing and documenting sources professionally and ethically, distinguishing primary and secondary research, and finding and applying for funding sources. Students taking this course should have the ability to recognize, identify, and define an informational need; seek basic information in a strategic way; locate and access basic information; and evaluate information sources for essential levels of quality and relevance.


Spring 2015 - Semester 2

Masters Advanced Performance Forum

  • PS-622
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

PS-622 continues the learning that began in PS-619, Masters Performance Forum. In this performance workshop, students continue to learn interdisciplinary approaches to music-making. They explore various concepts of aesthetics, with a focus on developing their own aesthetic philosophy as they critique each other. The course provides a platform for students in the contemporary performance master's program to launch the execution phase of their culminating experience project. The course also provides a framework for project management, including planned milestones, visiting artists, and material strategies to incorporate students' projects into tangible career opportunities.

Applied Advanced Production Projects

  • PS-624
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course provides a structured approach to the many aspects of record production. Through project-based, experiential learning exercises, designed to arm students with powerful tools and strategies in music production, this course enables students to create a recording that may serve as an essential piece of their culminating experience. Students gain first-hand experience in the preproduction, recording and mixing process. Recording sessions take place in a variety of venues, from professional recording studios with a large-format console, to project studios, to home recording set ups. Students further explore how the recording process best serves their individual artistic and professional goals, as they collaborate with musicians, technologists, and stakeholders involved in developing material for record company release.

Private Instruction/Recording Projects

  • PIMM-600
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

The private lesson fosters close collaboration between student and instructor. Together, the student and private teacher develop a plan for enhancing the student's musical vocabulary and deepening his/her understanding of a particular genre of music (e.g. Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, bluegrass). Under the guidance of his/her private teacher, the student completes a variety of assignments that hone his/her interpretative skills, including playing standard repertoire for his/her instrument or voice; transcribing and analyzing recordings by acknowledged masters of the style; memorizing and performing complex melodic and rhythmic patterns; improvising over a variety of style-specific chord progressions; arrange songs for small ensembles; and experiment with tuning systems.

Contemporary Studio Ensemble

  • ENDS-550
  • 1 credits/2 ECTS
  • Note: students take this course three times (fall, spring, and summer).

This course enables students to enhance their ensemble-playing skills, deepen their knowledge of a particular style and its associated repertory, and develop their individual performance identities. Students develop their ability to create and perform music in a particular style. Working under the direction of a senior faculty member, students complete exercises that enhance their intonation, articulation, and improvisational skills in an ensemble context. Students learn to maintain stylistic integrity by developing their awareness of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic practices associated with a particular repertory.

Basic Keyboard Techniques 2

  • ISKB-212
  • 1 credits/2 ECTS
  • Note: this is a required skill class. Students are placed by exam, and may test out. Credits do not count in program total.

Elective

Choose one elective (see descriptions in the elective section).
Principles of Music Research

  • GS-510
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS
  • Note: Optional electives do not count in program total.

Principles of Music Research introduces the tools of music scholarship, including reference and research materials in both book and electronic forms. Students develop the skills, attitudes, and understanding to research and write about music by learning how to approach various types of scholarly study within music and by increasing their proficiency with music library resources. Projects and assignments will be tailored to the individual needs of the student working towards his/her culminating experience or thesis project. Students learn advanced information seeking, assembling a literature review, evaluating current research, writing and documenting sources professionally and ethically, distinguishing primary and secondary research, and finding and applying for funding sources. Students taking this course should have the ability to recognize, identify, and define an informational need; seek basic information in a strategic way; locate and access basic information; and evaluate information sources for essential levels of quality and relevance.


Summer 2015 - Semester 3

Culminating Experience/Thesis

  • PS-695
  • 6 credits

Working in close consultation with their advisor, students develop a music performance, production, and marketing plan for a recording of their own music. They also complete a promotional package, to consist of a recording of their recording and supporting materials. Those supporting materials may take a variety of forms: a student might build a website to promote a recording, for example, or draft a grant proposal for a public performance of his/her music, using a recording project to supplement the grant proposal application. Students are expected to meet with their advisors on a weekly basis to assess their progress. The final package must be defended before a faculty committee chaired by the student's advisor.

Private Instruction/Recording Projects

  • PIMM-650
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

The private lesson fosters close collaboration between student and instructor. Together, the student and private teacher develop a plan for enhancing the student's musical vocabulary and deepening his/her understanding of a particular genre of music (e.g. Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, bluegrass). Under the guidance of his/her private teacher, the student completes a variety of assignments that hone his/her interpretative skills, including playing standard repertoire for his/her instrument or voice; transcribing and analyzing recordings by acknowledged masters of the style; memorizing and performing complex melodic and rhythmic patterns; improvising over a variety of style-specific chord progressions; arrange songs for small ensembles; and experiment with tuning systems.

Contemporary Studio Ensemble

  • ENDS-550
  • 1 credits/2 ECTS
  • Note: students take this course three times (fall, spring, and summer).

This course enables students to enhance their ensemble-playing skills, deepen their knowledge of a particular style and its associated repertory, and develop their individual performance identities. Students develop their ability to create and perform music in a particular style. Working under the direction of a senior faculty member, students complete exercises that enhance their intonation, articulation, and improvisational skills in an ensemble context. Students learn to maintain stylistic integrity by developing their awareness of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic practices associated with a particular repertory.

Elective

Choose one elective (see descriptions in the elective section).
Principles of Music Research

  • GS-510
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS
  • Note: Optional electives do not count in program total.

Principles of Music Research introduces the tools of music scholarship, including reference and research materials in both book and electronic forms. Students develop the skills, attitudes, and understanding to research and write about music by learning how to approach various types of scholarly study within music and by increasing their proficiency with music library resources. Projects and assignments will be tailored to the individual needs of the student working towards his/her culminating experience or thesis project. Students learn advanced information seeking, assembling a literature review, evaluating current research, writing and documenting sources professionally and ethically, distinguishing primary and secondary research, and finding and applying for funding sources. Students taking this course should have the ability to recognize, identify, and define an informational need; seek basic information in a strategic way; locate and access basic information; and evaluate information sources for essential levels of quality and relevance.


Fall 2015 - Semester 4 (Optional)

Optional Internship

The optional graduate internship (GS-595) takes place in the fall following graduation. Read more about the optional internship in the career development section.

Electives 2014/2015

Students in contemporary performance (production concentration) choose two electives to take. Electives are centered around technology, business, production, and general music topics. Students choose the electives that best fit their career goals and interests. The semester that electives are offered vary each year.

Online and Social Media Management

  • MB-615
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course provides a comprehensive analysis of online and social media options available for the promotion of entertainment products and services. Students review the plethora of online tools for marketing, including online advertising, social media campaigns, social media etiquette, and games and contests. Students learn to create a total branding plan for an entertainment asset. The capstone of the course requires students to create an integrated online media plan for the promotion of a new entertainment product or services.

Music Technology for the Writer

  • MTI-511
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

Electronic Production and Live Performance

  • MTI-523
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course explores topics in electronic production and live performance techniques related to modern music and sound design. Students will be introduced to MIDI programming and processing with Max/MSP, advanced control techniques of audio and synthesis devices (in Ableton Live through Max and Max for Live), and aesthetic considerations in the production and live performance of electronically produced music. Students will explore strategies for integrating performance and production, resulting in a greater creative method for production and greater technological augmentation of performance. Students will develop their own dynamic computer/controller based music performance system and demonstrate it in a final performance and presentation.

Electronic Dance Music Composition

  • MTI-613
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course explores topics in electronic production and live performance techniques related to modern electronic dance music production, sound design, arrangement, and performance. Students generate content and create their own music while learning how to use Ableton Live Suite. Students learn to analyze electronic music, and explore techniques for remixing, performing, and creating electronic music.

Contemporary Arranging

  • AR-511
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

In this course, students explore the musical concepts of melody, rhythm, harmony and form as applied to the principles and techniques of writing and arranging for the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, basic percussion) and a lead-line in a solo instrument, two horns (trumpet, alto or tenor sax) or voice. Students learn about the conceptualization process of combining individual components to create a musically satisfying arrangement. Students also learn various contemporary musical styles and the musical concepts that comprise them, including writing from the bottom up" (groove-driven) and "top down" (working with a melody in a lead instrument or voice). Students will complete writing assignments that incorporate combinations of acoustic, electronic, and/or MIDI instruments

Contemporary Ear Training

  • ET-511
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

In this course, students will strengthen their command of rhythm and tonal, modal, and chromatic melody and harmony through singing, movement, recognition, dictation, and transcription. They will survey and experience a variety of ear training techniques and practices drawn from a variety of traditions, including Western classical music, jazz and blues, and West African and Indian musical cultures. Students will explore applications of ear training skills to vocal and instrumental performance including improvisation, interpretation, ensemble rehearsal, and music teaching. Each week's classes will include singing and dictation practice, rhythmic performance and movement, guided dictation and recognition activities, and discussion of methods, problems and solutions. Notated and recorded music examples used in class will come from a variety of styles, genres, cultures, and eras. Students complete ten singing and rhythm performance practice assignments, ten online and CD dictation and recognition practice assignments, two transcription projects, and two multitrack home recording projects.

Contemporary Harmony

  • HR-511
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course is a study of the pervasive harmonic language and techniques of popular American song. The goal of this course is to foster an understanding of the harmonic ideas that have carried American music through the latter half of the last century, and to discover harmonic alternatives to the traditional tonal systems that pervade American popular music of this time. Students come to understand the contextual relationship between melody and harmony through observation of different song forms from different styles of popular music, including show tunes, jazz standards, blues, rock/pop/R&B, and through-composed works in the jazz idiom. Harmonic options, both diatonic and otherwise, will be observed through study of the scale(s) that relate to the chord/tonality of the moment.

Topics in Improvisation

  • PS-621
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

Topics in Improvisation is a course that can be tailored to various musical styles, including rock, pop, blues, and more. Students will explore the melodic styles and content of improvised solos through history, listening, ear training, shared student transcriptions and analyses, practice assignments, and creative performance projects. Students increase their knowledge of the musical choices, issues, and possibilities they face as improvisers. They learn the historical context of their own original work. Students will improve their musical ear and the connections among their musical imagination (inner hearing), aural perception, musical notation, and instrumental performance. They will develop their skills in transcription and analysis, with the goal of gaining a greater command of musical materials for use in their own music. They will experience ways in which the work of improvisers in the past can inspire their contemporary creative work in the present.

Stage Performance Workshop

  • PS-625
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

In this workshop, vocalists and instrumentalists develop and perfect the skills necessary for live performance. They explore the concept that good performances involve not only excellent musicianship but also a high level of stage presence and audience interaction. Students explore the different kinds of stage performance techniques that are appropriate in different settings. They investigate concepts of musical and artistic interaction with the audience, and explore different kinds of audiences. They also explore performance as communication. They evaluate strategies to communicate musically through their music and their body. Additionally, students synthesize concepts of acting and persona creation that are part of every performance. In-class performances will be recorded and critiqued for effectiveness in movement, presentation, and overall performance. Students learn skills and strategies for microphone and rehearsal techniques, lead sheet preparation, stage presence, programming, audience interaction, persona development, and more. Students also learn strategies for effective auditioning. Students will give special consideration to the technical aspects of performance (e.g. acoustics, achieving an appropriate mix for the venue, and recording live performances). At the end of the semester, the class will hold a recital.

Music Video Production

  • MTI-543
  • 3 credits/6 ECTS

This course provides musicians with the tools and techniques to create compelling, creative music videos, especially using "guerilla" techniques (self-produced, low budget). The course introduces the fundamental techniques of music video production and provides practical hands-on experience for producing professional music videos. Students learn by doing as well as by study. They analyze different techniques and methods of planning and production and put them into practice as they create their own videos.


*Course content is subject to change.

Visiting Artists & Faculty

In order to give students a broader understanding of the music industry, we host industry-leading artists and faculty from Boston on campus to give lectures and workshops related to specific challenges and opportunities in the industry. Faculty visiting from the Boston campus frequently come to Valencia for special workshops and presentations. In many cases, students from all master's programs are welcome to attend all visiting artist and faculty sessions, regardless of program.

Visiting artists and visiting faculty change each year. Here are some of the visiting professionals who have visited campus in the past on behalf of contemporary performance (production concentration):

Visiting Artist: Eddie Gómez

Legendary Puerto Rican double-bassist Eddie Gómez visited campus to receive an honorary doctoral degree in a ceremony held at the Palau de Les Arts auditorium and to give some master classes to our students.

Visiting Artist: John Blackwell

John Blackwell Jr. visited campus to offer a clinic to the entire student body. Blackwell Jr. is a recognized drummer and a Berklee alumnus. His recordings and performances include Patti LaBelle, Prince, The New Power Generation, Justin Timberlake, P Diddy, among many others. Blackwell talked about his musical background, his Berklee years, and the importance of adding business skills to his professional career.

Visiting Artist: Patrice Rushen

Well known for her Grammy-nominated single 'Forget Me Nots,' American composer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, music director and vocalist Patrice Rushen visited our campus to speak about her experience in the music industry, and to coach students musically. She ended her week long visit with a performance that featured our students.

Visiting Artist: Abraham Laboriel Sr.

Bass extraordinaire, Abraham Laboriel Sr., has been featured on more than 4000 recordings. Abe spent a few days with graduate and undergraduate students sharing his wisdom and knowledge on music and on life.

Visiting Artist: Miguel Zenón

Multiple Grammy nominee, Guggenheim Fellow, MacArthur Fellow and Berklee alumnus Miguel Zenón is widely regarded as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation. During his visit, he shared his musical journey, music composing process and influences with students at our campus.

Visiting Professor: Christiane Karam

Christiane Karam, assistant professor of voice at our Boston campus and founder and leader of the Annual Berklee Middle Eastern Festival, visited our campus and dropped in on the graduate middle eastern music ensemble headed by saxophone legend Perico Sambeat.

Visiting Professor: Yoron Israel

Yoron Israel is Assistant Chair of the percussion department at our Boston campus. He brings unique influences and experiences in Jazz and various other musical styles having played with musicians such as Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Burrell and Abbey Lincoln, among others. He spent a week at our Valencia campus, sharing ideas and guiding ensembles.

Visiting Professor: Pat Pattison

Pat Pattison gave one of his legendary master classes where he worked on the students' original songs, improving them by applying his Stable/Unstable technique. Pattison is one of the professors of Lyric Writing and Poetry at Berklee's Boston campus. He is also the author of Songwriting Without Boundaries, Writing Better Lyrics, The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, and The Essential Guide to Rhyming. Pattison also gave a clinic called 'Writing Better Lyrics' together with Clare McLeod.

Visiting Professor: Jim Kelly

Visiting professor from our Boston campus's guitar department, Jim Kelly, visited Valencia and interacted with our students for a week-long residency.

Outside the Classroom

When you are on campus, you'll find yourself in the midst of a multitude of cultures, backgrounds, and styles. Berklee is well known for the diversity of students and faculty, and on the Valencia campus we celebrate the musical creations and cutting-edge ideas that come from this blend of culture and backgrounds.

Master's students come from all over the world, and bring a wide range of experiences to share on campus during the year-long program in Valencia. Students are the center of campus life, as they turn classrooms into laboratories and collaborate on innovative projects with students in other master's programs.

Collaboration with Other Programs

It’s not just the faculty and visiting professionals that inspire, at Berklee you will be surrounded by and collaborating with talented peers, musicians, and composers from around the world, both in the contemporary performance (production concentration) program, and from the other masters’ degrees on campus in music technology, scoring, and music business. It is in this collaboration that opportunities begin to form, relationships are built, and your creativity and ability to innovate are put on center stage.

Outside the classroom, contemporary performance students may find themselves working with students from the music technology innovation master's program to put an electronic track on a new arrangement, or get some extra insight on sound engineering and mixing. Students from the master in music business and global entertainment work with performers to gain experience in promotion, marketing, and artist management, while students in the master in scoring for film, television, and video games often look to contemporary performance students for help to record their compositions in the studio. In addition, students from many programs on campus are musicians and enjoy coming together to perform at events on and off campus.

Performance Opportunities

From day one, students in the master in contemporary performance (production concentration) program will find a plethora of performance opportunities available on campus. Beyond the coursework of the program with ensembles, recording, and private instruction, there are extracurricular activities that everyone on campus is welcome to join. In addition, Valencia is a vibrant music city, with a number of clubs and bars that enjoy collaborating with Berklee students.

Coursework in Performance

Each semester students' coursework includes intensive practice in performing. Coursework includes private instruction, ensembles, the performing forum, and recording projects.

  • Private Instruction: Students take a 3-credit class with their private instructor each semester. Instructors are assigned to students based on instrument and style.
  • Music Technology Collaboration: Contemporary Performance students are paired with students from the music production, technology and innovation program. Each semester the students work together on recording and production projects throughout the year both in their courses as well as their culminating experience and other projects.
  • Ensembles: Each semester students participate in an ensemble under the direction of a senior faculty member. Ensemble styles change each semester, and adapt to the students' needs and experience. Some past examples of ensembles include a Salsa/Latin ensemble, a Mediterranean ensemble, Contemporary Jazz ensemble, and Funk/Groove ensemble.
  • Masters Performance Forum: This is a performance workshop in which students learn interdisciplinary approaches to music-making. Students work on developing their culminating experience project and present ideas and music for critique and feedback. This is also the place where students get the chance to interact with visiting artists.

Extracurricular Performing Opportunities on Campus

The campus is full of life, and there's always something you can get involved in. Extracurricular activities are optional and vary from year to year. Some opportunities are open for all students to participate, while others are on an audition/application basis.

  • Events: There are opportunities for select students to perform in many on-campus events such as orientation, graduation, ensemble performances, events at the City of Arts and Sciences, etc.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Extracurricular activities are completely optional for students, take place outside of class time, and vary year to year. Past examples of such activities include a batucada group, flamenco workshop, a choir, Valencia DJ Collective, ensembles, etc.

Performing In and Around Valencia

Music has always played an important role in the culture and people of Valencia, and since Berklee arrived here a whole new music scene has developed. Students are responsible for finding and participating in gigs and shows around Valencia on their own, but many bars and clubs are very open to collaborating with Berklee students.

'Bordering the Mediterranean on Spain’s east coast, Valencia has long been the nexus of Western, African, Hispanic and South American cultures, the various musical traditions blending with the local.'

Valencia’s Newest Sounds of Music

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Performing Outside Valencia

These performing opportunities are not part of the official curriculum, and the opportunities change from year to year.

  • Conferences: There are many music-related conferences located throughout Europe and Spain each year. Students are encouraged to pursue performing opportunities at conferences, and students in the past have participated in EmTech, MIDEM, and TEDxBerkleeValencia. Most of these opportunities have a selection process such as an application or audition the student must submit.
  • Miscellaneous Opportunities: Throughout the year, various opportunities may arise where students have the chance to perform outside of Valencia, either as official representatives of Berklee College of Music or on their own. Past opportunities have arisen for students to travel and perform to Madrid, Brazil, and Taiwan. Most of these opportunities are invitation-only.

Berklee Performances


Berklee's Performance at the Valencia Open 500

Berklee's Performance at the Valencia Open 500

During the Valencia 500 tournament's final ceremony a group of Berklee students performed an original arrangement of the well-known tune by Tina Turner, 'The Best.' Vocalist Daniel Omphroy, a student of the Master in Global Entertainment and Music Business, won the competition that took place at the Valencia campus to select the performer for this prestigious event. Joining him on stage were contemporary performance classmates Alexey León Reyes (saxophone), Cassandra Allen (vocals), and study abroad student Jana Sustersic (vocals).

'Days of the Dragon' - Innovation: ¡En Vivo!

'Days of the Dragon' - Innovation: ¡En Vivo!

Ricardo Curto, a pianist and a student of the graduate performance program, played his composition, 'Days of the Dragon' on our campus during an event held in the Palau de les Arts' Aula Magistral auditorium.

Volando Voy Studio Recording

Volando Voy Studio Recording

Graduate students from the performance, music business, and music technology programs got together to produce, engineer, and mix 'Volando Voy.' It's a song composed by Kiko Veneno, which was first published in legendary flamenco artist Camarón de la Isla's album titled 'La leyenda del tiempo' in 1979.

Júrame: Plácido Domingo Honorary Doctorate Ceremony

Júrame: Plácido Domingo Honorary Doctorate Ceremony

Contemporary performance students had the opportunity to perform for legendary Spanish tenor, Plácido Domingo, as he received an honorary doctoral degree from Berklee on the Valencia campus. In this video, our students perform 'Júrame,' a classic song by Maria Grever with faculty member Victor Mendoza on the vibraphone, who also arranged the piece.

Fuego Fatuo Studio Recording

Fuego Fatuo Studio Recording

Graduate performance student Luis Regidor Pain performs 'Fuego Fatuo,' a piece by the spanish composer Manuel de Falla on solo guitar. This is part of a musical piece titled 'El amor brujo' that includes other celebrated pieces such as 'Danza ritual del fuego.'

'Soul Power' (James Brown Cover)

'Soul Power' (James Brown Cover)

Contemporary performance program master's students perform the song 'Soul Power' at the Aula Magistral of the Palau de les Arts during the Groove Masters a Les Arts concert.

'Run' - Valencia Commencement Concert

'Run' - Valencia Commencement Concert

Graduate student Andrea Fraenzel (contemporary performance program) performs the song 'Run' at the 2014 Valencia Commencement Concert.

'Sodade' - Valencia Commencement Concert

'Sodade' - Valencia Commencement Concert

Graduate student Cassandra Allen (contemporary performance program) performs 'Sodade' at the 2014 Valencia Commencement Concert.

'Gora Jeci' - Plácido Domingo Honorary Doctorate Ceremony

'Gora Jeci' - Plácido Domingo Honorary Doctorate Ceremony

Our students had the opportunity to perform for legendary Spanish tenor, Plácido Domingo, as he received an honorary doctoral degree from Berklee on the Valencia campus. Graduate performance student Jelena Ciric (lead vocals) arranged a traditional Serbian folk song, Gora Jeci, and performed it along with her peers.


Career Development

Getting a master's degree from Berklee College of Music pushes you towards the next big step in your career, and the International Career Center is one of the resources you have to help get you there. The mission of the International Career Center is to provide expert guidance, cutting-edge resources, and professional development experiences to a diverse student body for the achievement of students’ music career goals. Rather than acting as a one-time job link, the overall focus is on music career management and helping students access resources and activities that are available and applying them to their own career paths. Read more about the International Career Center here.

Industry Events and Conferences

Succeeding in the music business is all about building your professional network and making connections with the right people. During your year at Berklee, you can attend industry leading events, such as EmTech or Sonar. You will learn strategies for building and maintaining your professional relationships, and connect with high-performing peers throughout the year.

Featured Events and Conferences (Optional)

Students are encouraged to take advantage of their time in Europe to attend or participate in the many music and performance-related conferences held in Spain and Europe. All conference participation and attendance is optional and students make all the arrangements to attend on their own. In some cases, students may be able to access special offers and student discounts through Berklee.

Sonar (Barcelona, Spain)

"Created in 1994, Sónar is a pioneering festival with a unique format and content. It's first class reputation as a leading reference for international festivals is by virtue of a carefully balanced cultural offering, combining a playful nature, the avant-garde, and experimentation with electronic dance music's newest trends."

12 Points Festival (Alternating European Citites)

"12 Points showcases young, creative and ambitious artists in jazz and related music from all points on the continent. Our mission is to assist and promote these emerging artists, bringing their music to new audiences."

Musikmesse (Frankfurt, Germany)

"Musikmesse in Frankfurt am Main is the world’s most important fair for musical instruments, sheet music, music production and marketing."

The Great Escape UK (Brighton, UK)

"The Great Escape (TGE) is a new music festival that showcases emerging artists from all over the world. Over 400 up and coming bands play in 35 Brighton venues, accessible on one wristband. It’s the first place to discover your new favorite band and see them in an intimate setting before they go on to headline major festival stages."

Midem (Cannes, France)

“Midem is the leading international business event for the music ecosystem where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, brands & talents come together.”

International Music Summit (Ibiza, Spain)

"The Ibiza International Music Summit (IMS) presented by dance music legend Pete Tong, is now revered as one of the world's most important music industry gatherings in the world. IMS signals the beginning of the Ibiza season. It is both a high level music industry conference attended by the global industry leaders in the dance music scene, alongside a week of the most aspirational dance parties on the island - the official launch of the Ibiza season"

TEDxBerkleeValencia (Valencia, Spain)

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxBerkleeValencia, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxBerkleeValencia event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized. Select students will have the opportunity help organize the event, while all students will be able to attend.

Optional Internship

Berklee College of Music’s optional graduate internship program supports Berklee master’s students who seek to integrate academic and professional experience after completing the coursework and culminating experience projects required in their specific master’s program. This optional program will take place during an additional semester, following the completion of all course work, and students will be charged a part-time comprehensive fee.

Note that students are responsible for securing their own internships and for securing all appropriate and required visa statuses. For more detailed information about the optional internship, you may reference pages 51-52 of the 2014/15 Graduate Bulletin.

Possible Career Paths

These are some examples of the career paths graduates can pursue:

Performing Artist (Recording Artist/Group)

Performing artists specialize in the performance of music, either original or cover material. Their performing skill defines their marketability. The performing artist may work as a solo act with or without backing musicians, or be packaged as a group.
Session Musician

The session musician may be known as a studio musician, a session player, a sideman or woman, a freelance musician, or a backup musician. The main responsibility of the job is to back up the leader of a group in the recording studio, or possibly during a live performance, and play in a style or manner that the leader of the group or the producer desires. In addition to being a good musician, the session musician must be responsible, reliable, and easy to get along with. It is also important to know how to sight-read, be familiar with a number of different styles, and preferably be proficient on more than one instrument. Session musicians are usually hired by a contractor and paid an hourly fee set by the union (AFM). A session musician may work on various types of projects, including television and film scores, records, demos, jingles, and other music industry gigs.
General Business Musician

A general business (GB) musician may work as a freelance artist or perform with a general business group. These groups maintain a widely varying repertoire to allow them to perform in almost any situation, including weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs, private parties, corporate functions, and dance clubs. GB musicians cover material by well-known recording artists in many different styles, and tailor their repertoire to clients' expressed desires. Many general business gigs may be formal dress occasions, so tuxedos and formal dresses are a necessity. The largest amount of work can be found in performances of this type, and pay is generally very good. A general business band may work through one or more booking agencies and/or book themselves.
Orchestra/Group Member

An orchestra/group member plays a supporting role in a musical group as an instrumentalist. A vast knowledge of repertoire, musical skill, reading, and doubling ability are important qualities to develop, especially in the orchestral environment. Also important is the ability to play with a group, and to prepare and know the material before rehearsal. The responsibility of the orchestra/group member is to follow the directions of the group leader or conductor and perform prepared music, in performance and recording situations.
Vocal/Instrumental Soloist

A vocal/instrumental soloist is similar to a performing artist and may perform in much the same capacity. But this artist may also work as a contracted performer with a group or in a recording situation. For example, an orchestra, church group, or a recording ensemble may hire a soloist. When performing as a contracted soloist, the artist has a responsibility to rehearse and perform the selected music as directed by the group or project leader.
Background Vocalist

Background vocalists back up other singers and musicians on recordings, jingles/television commercials, or in live performances. They may work full-time or on a freelance basis, or travel with a performing act, holding responsibility for learning repertoire and attending rehearsals. Background vocalists must be versatile and flexible; those performing on recordings, jingles, or television/radio will need the ability to read music quickly and record it quickly with a minimum of errors. Harmony and improvisation abilities are a plus as well.
Producer

Producers work mainly with recording acts and record labels to produce records. They also work with composers and produce sound recordings for film, TV, and other forms of multimedia, as well. The producer supervises all aspects of the recording process—including contracting session players and overseeing the recording budget—and may also help the artist select songs to be recorded. Preferably, a producer should be an excellent musician with a lot of performing experience, and have a great depth of musical, acoustical, and studio technical knowledge.
Teacher

College/conservatory/university music educators may be hired for a variety of different positions. They may be brought into a school as a general music educator to teach areas of music theory, music arranging, music history, or vocal or instrumental performance. Educators are also hired to coach chamber music groups or to conduct choruses or orchestras.
Composer

Composers create instrumental pieces, either stand-alone or combined with lyrics. They may compose for a specific situation, such as film/TV composers who score/compose music to enhance videos or films, or they may compose for live performance and/or recording situations.
Songwriter

Performing songwriters create and perform their own music. They write both lyrics and music and seek to find success as the performer of their material. Performing songwriters may work as a solo act or as a leader of a group featuring their material.
Entrepreneur

A person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a music venture. Some common businesses started by music entrepreneurs are: recording studio facility, private teaching practice, performing band, booking agency, artist management, music retail, music publishing company, record label, etc.
Acoustic and Electronic Orchestrator

An orchestrator is responsible for transposing music from one instrument or voice to another in order to accommodate a particular musician or group, and writing scores for an orchestra, band, choral group, individual instrumentalist(s), or vocalist(s).
Arranger

An arranger provides musical arrangements of a musical composition or song for an artist, band, orchestra, or other ensemble. The arranger determines the voice, instrument, harmonic structure, rhythm, tempo, and other aspects of a song or composition based on the artist, producer, or conductor's specifications. Training in music theory, orchestration, composition, and harmony is required. An arranger should have experience as a copyist, writing music, and playing one or more instruments.
Conductor

A conductor’s main duty is preparing an orchestra or ensemble for the finest performance they are capable of presenting. This includes choosing the repertoire, managing rehearsals, and possibly planning an entire season of musical events, as well as handling the other business-related matters of an orchestra. A conductor must have a strong ability on an instrument (preferably piano), be able to sight read, and have a strong stage personality.
Copyist

A copyist transfers musical parts from a score onto individual parts. This person must have strong notation and transposition skills, training in music theory, and neat and accurate copy work.

FAQs


Q: Is the GRE or the GMAT required to apply for this program?

The GRE or the GMAT is not required to apply for this program.
Q: Can I transfer credits from another institution?

Credits may not be transferred to this program.