Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) | Berklee Valencia Campus

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Master of Music 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 are looking for highly skilled and creative instrumentalists and vocalists from all styles of contemporary music who wish to develop their performance career further while also immersing themselves in the recorded production process and experience.

Ideal candidates will:

  • Enter the program with a very advanced level of instrumental or vocal technique and musical skill;
  • Desire to expand their experience through further exploration of familiar and new styles including fusions of genres;
  • Be deeply motivated to learn and apply strategies for recorded music production (including the preproduction, recording, and mixing processes) to their craft, with a focus on artistic identity and intent; and
  • Demonstrate 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 (production concentration) offers advanced studies to instrumentalists and vocalists who demonstrate excellent musical proficiency and a desire to develop their individual artistry and performance career regardless of style or instrument. Through the program, advanced musicians have the opportunity to develop their artistry in a wide array of performance and recorded 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 coursework, 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 recorded production, students develop strategies for producing and marketing their performance projects. Students’ projects may take a variety of forms: a recording project, a concert, 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:

When students complete the Master of Music in contemporary performance (production concentration), they'll have the ability to:

  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 performance work; and
  7. Apply technology to recording and distributing music.

Culminating Experience

The culminating experience is the final project that students present at the end of the program and is related to their career direction. Through the culminating experience, students make a creative contribution to and/or define and solve a problem that exists in the profession. Working in close consultation with their advisor, the performer’s culminating experience will fall into one of three categories—a creative work, a practical project, or a research project—and may take a variety of forms such as a recording project, a concert, a lecture/demonstration, a grant proposal, a website marketing plan, a video lesson series, or another option of students’ devising. All projects include supporting materials that 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 their music, using a recording project to supplement the grant proposal application. Students are required to meet with their advisors on a regular basis to assess their progress. The final project must be defended before a faculty committee chaired by the student's advisor.

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 26-29 of the 2016/2017 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

This master's degree program runs from September to July. View the academic calendar for the current academic year.

2016/2017 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.

2016/2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin

Courses

The master of music program at Berklee College of Music is designed to be completed in three semesters of study–or one full academic year: fall, spring, and summer semesters. 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: 40/41 with optional internship
  • Total ECTS: 72/74 with optional internship

Required Course
Elective Course
Optional Course

Fall 2016 - Semester One

Production Concepts for the Contemporary Performer
  • PS-522
  • 3 credit(s)

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.

Masters Performance Forum: Production
  • PS-619
  • 3 credit(s)

In this seminar and performance-based course, students learn interdisciplinary approaches to music-making and explore concepts of aesthetics, with a focus on developing their own aesthetic philosophy and artistic identity. Students perform and analyze their own music projects; they learn to evaluate and critique each other; and they learn to respond to feedback and advice. Students collaborate with classmates, guest lecturers and visiting artists from a variety of diverse styles and backgrounds: performers, producers and educators, among others. They synthesize rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic vocabulary from a variety of musical styles. 

Private Instruction 1
  • PIMM-550
  • 3 credit(s)

The private lesson at the master’s level focuses on developing the student’s artistry. An additional emphasis is the evolution of the student as a musician. Students study jazz etudes with a broad representation of various styles within the wider jazz idiom. This may include sub-genres, such as Latin jazz, blues, bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, etc. Studies include exercises and song study as students develop agility and stylistic acumen, while also building instrumental skill. Students master advanced studies in stylistic components, such as jazz vocabulary in improvisation, phrasing, and the study of great artists. Students also study harmonic and stylistic practices. This work culminates in the development of a marketable recording, an online presence, and the establishment of the student as a well-rounded artist.

Contemporary Studio Ensemble
  • ENDS-550
  • 1 credit(s)

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).

Spring 2017 - Semester Two

The Artist as a Startup
  • PS-532
  • 3 credit(s)

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 Advanced Performance Forum: Production
  • PS-622
  • 3 credit(s)

PS-622 continues the learning that began in PS-619 Masters Performance Forum: Production. In this seminar and performance-based course, students continue to learn interdisciplinary approaches to music-making and explore concepts of aesthetics, with a focus on developing their own aesthetic philosophy and artistic identity. Students perform and analyze their own music projects; they learn to evaluate and critique each other; and they learn to respond to feedback and advice. Students collaborate with classmates, guest lecturers and visiting artists from a variety of diverse styles and backgrounds: performers, producers and educators, among others. They synthesize rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic vocabulary from a variety of musical styles.

Applied Advanced Production Projects
  • PS-624
  • 3 credit(s)

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 2
  • PIMM-600
  • 3 credit(s)

This second semester private lesson at the master’s level continues the work begun in the first semester. There is continued focus on developing the student’s artistry. An additional emphasis is the evolution of the student as a musician. Students study jazz etudes with a broad representation of various styles within the wider jazz idiom. This may include sub-genres, such as Latin jazz, blues, bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, etc. Studies include exercises and song study as students develop agility and stylistic acumen, while also building instrumental skill. Students master advanced studies in stylistic components, such as jazz vocabulary in improvisation, phrasing, and the study of great artists. Students also study harmonic and stylistic practices. This work culminates in the development of a marketable recording, an online presence, and the establishment of the student as a well-rounded artist.

Contemporary Studio Ensemble
  • ENDS-550
  • 1 credit(s)

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.

Summer 2017 - Semester Three

Culminating Experience in Contemporary Performance
  • PS-695
  • 6 credit(s)

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 3
  • PIMM-650
  • 3 credit(s)

This third semester private lesson at the master’s level continues the work of the previous lessons. There is continued focus on developing the student’s artistry. An additional emphasis is the evolution of the student as a musician. Students study jazz etudes with a broad representation of various styles within the wider jazz idiom. This may include sub-genres, such as Latin jazz, blues, bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, etc. Studies include exercises and song study as students develop agility and stylistic acumen, while also building instrumental skill. Students master advanced studies in stylistic components, such as jazz vocabulary in improvisation, phrasing, and the study of great artists. Students also study harmonic and stylistic practices. This work culminates in the development of a marketable recording, an online presence, and the establishment of the student as a well-rounded artist.

 
Contemporary Studio Ensemble
  • ENDS-550
  • 1 credit(s)

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.

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.

Advising

Master's Advising
  • GS-500
  • 0 credit(s)

Students work closely with their faculty advisor to conceive and develop their culminating experience—a practical, creative, or research project enabling the student to make a contribution to his/her field of study and to develop their academic and career goals. Meetings between the student and advisor begin during the first week of the first semester (or during orientation) and continue until the final week of the program. Students present ideas, receive feedback, advice, support, suggestions, guidance and more from their advisors as they design and execute their culminating experiences and plan their academic and professional careers. Advisors guide students in meeting the various deadlines and milestones required as students complete their culminating experience, prepare for graduation and prepare for their careers.

Fall 2017 - Semester Four (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 2016/2017

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.

Technology, Business, and Production Electives

Music Video Production
  • MTI-543
  • 3 credit(s)

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.

Digital Marketing and Social Media Management
  • MB-615
  • 3 credit(s)

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 credit(s)

In this course, students learn to utilize digital technology and MIDI to create musical arrangements of either original or existing thematic material using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Students focus on the musical use of technology and production aspects of a project, including the MIDI standard, signal flow of a MIDI and recording workstation, utilizing sound processing equipment, choosing appropriate sounds and combining elements from software synthesizers, and alternate approaches to quantizing and refining rhythmic grooves. Students learn aspects of mixing and production through practical applications of tools and techniques such as equalizers, reverbs, delays, flangers, and choruses, and dynamic processing units-compressors, noise gates, and limiters. Students learn ways to enhance writing in recording and mixing through the effective use of sound processing equipment. In addition to class meetings, students will be expected to schedule individual hands-on time for practice and assignments in the lab.

Electronic Dance Music Composition
  • MTI-613
  • 3 credit(s)

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.

Music and General Electives

Contemporary Arranging
  • AR-511
  • 3 credit(s)

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 credit(s)

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 credit(s)

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 credit(s)

In this course, students explore different topics in improvisation in 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. The titles of individual sections of PS-621 identify the theme of that section. Individual course descriptions are available to registering students at https://www.berklee.edu/graduate-studies/graduate-topics-courses.

Performance Pedagogy
  • PS-631
  • 3 credit(s)

Through this course, advanced instrumentalists and vocalists learn effective teaching and clinical skills. Students learn to analyze group and individual skills; structure lessons, clinics, and rehearsals; and assess student progress. Students also model teaching scenarios with peers and engage in active professor-moderated feedback. As they apply models of music instruction, students explore educational philosophies, objectives and methods. Students master principles of educational psychology, models of music pedagogy, and various teaching techniques, with special emphasis on jazz pedagogy (jazz harmony, improvisation, jazz styles, etc.). Throughout the course, students explore motivational concepts, lesson planning, technology-based instruction, administrative organization, the student/instructor relationship, and mentorship. Students also learn strategies for working with diverse groups. This course is highly recommended for students who would like to transfer their performance skills into applied teaching knowledge using basic pedagogy principles.

 
Lyric Writing
  • SW-565
  • 3 credit(s)

This course explores lyric writing and is designed both for experienced songwriters and those who are new at it. The course is tool-based, designed to dig into the craft of lyric writing, to explore practical strategies and techniques, and to reveal options and opportunities. Students explore strategies for finding and developing song ideas; they choose and organize song ideas more effectively; they explore and apply the concept of prosody; and they learn to create stable and unstable structures to support stable or unstable ideas. Students also explore the compositional elements that support lyric writing, including, among others number of lines and line lengths, rhyming, rhythm, titling, and phrasing. Students also learn how to critique their own work and the work of others, as well as how to revise lyrics to make them more effective.

*Course content is subject to change.

Faculty

Maureen Choi

Instructor

Casey Driessen

Program Director

Gael Hedding

Assistant Professor

Celia Mur

Instructor

Polo Orti

Instructor

Yoel Páez

Instructor

Olga Román

Instructor

Mario Rossy

Instructor

Perico Sambeat

Instructor

Israel Sandoval

Instructor

Liz Teutsch

Associate Professor

Gary Willis

Instructor

Brian Zalmijn

Instructor

Faculty Teaching Ensembles

Casey Driessen

Program Director

Daniel Flors

Instructor

Polo Orti

Instructor

Perico Sambeat

Instructor

Gary Willis

Instructor

Brian Zalmijn

Instructor

Faculty Teaching Private Instruction

  • Maureen Choi, strings
  • Casey Driessen, strings
  • Daniel Flors, guitar
  • Sergio Martinez, percussion
  • Victor Mendoza, percussion
  • Celia Mur, voice
  • Polo Orti, piano
  • Yoel Paez, percussion
  • Olga Román, voice
  • Mario Rossy, bass
  • Perico Sambeat, woodwinds, brass
  • Israel Sandoval, guitar
  • Mariano Steimberg, percussion
  • Gary Willis, bass
  • Brian Zalmijn, voice
  • Javier Vercher, woodwinds, brass
  • Carlos Benetó, brass

See all campus faculty

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):

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

World-renowned banjo players Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn visited campus to conduct a workshop with students in the Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) master’s degree program. The duo also offered a clinic to the entire student body. Fleck is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most technically gifted and innovative banjo players in the world, and has been a Grammy Award nominee in more categories than any other musician in history.
View on Flickr

Michael League

Michael League is a Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer and producer who is involved in a number of projects, most notably Snarky Puppy. League visited campus with New York City-based band "FORQ," featuring members Henry Hey and Adam Rogers. The group gave a masterclass and performed for students.
View on Flickr

Melissa Aldana

Berklee had the pleasure of hosting an inspiring “Improvisational techniques” clinic with Chilean saxophonist and Berklee alumna Melissa Aldana. Aldana is a Concord Music Group recording artist and recent winner of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz's International Jazz Saxophone Competition. She is currently making waves in the professional world and visited our campus to share her musical and career experience.
View on Flickr

Joca Perpignan and Alon Yavnai

Master percussionist-songwriter Joca Perpignan and pianist Alon Yavnai visited campus to host a Brazilian rhythm and aesthetics workshop. The duo also talked about creating effective arrangements and creating a sense of space and variation when playing in a small ensemble.

William Bell, Al Kapone, and Martin Shore

Berklee had the pleasure of hosting a residency by several members of the creative team from the award-winning musical documentary Take Me to the River, including Martin Shore, director, William Bell, songwriter and producer, and Al Kapone, rapper and producer. As part of this residency, students were given the opportunity to apply to attend a special songwriting and production workshop. Selected students received constructive feedback and advice on their own songs from experienced professionals.
View on Flickr

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.
View on Flickr

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.
View on Flickr

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gergõ Borlai

Visiting Artist Gergõ Borlai and Berklee Faculty Gary Willis did a recording workshop of 'Watermelon Man' with Contemporary Performance students. They focused especially on drums and bass and how to navigate a real-world recording session by setting up the ideal recording environment, including mic selection and placement, playing to a click, and how to monitor yourself.
View on Flickr

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.

Graduate 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 graduate 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.

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.

'Cloud 9' by Sebastián Laverde and Alumni

'Cloud 9' by Sebastián Laverde and Alumni

Song recorded on campus by Sebastián Laverde and alumni and faculty from the Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) program.

'Let's Move' by Brail Watson and Produced by Patrice Rushen

'Let's Move' by Brail Watson and Produced by Patrice Rushen

'Let's Move' is an original song by Phillip 'Brail' Watson, recorded during a guest artist recording session produced by Patrice Rushen, Berklee Ambassador for Artistry and Education, as part of the contemporary performance master's degree program.

'Pursuit of Peace' by Sarah Hodges

'Pursuit of Peace' by Sarah Hodges

'Pursuit of Peace' is an original song by Contemporary Perormance student Sarah Hodges during the Discover concert series.

Berklee Flamenco Ensemble Perform Carlos Gardel's 'Volver'

Berklee Flamenco Ensemble Perform Carlos Gardel's 'Volver'

Students perform flamenco in the Discover Series as part of the Berklee Flamenco Ensemble.

Berklee Fusion Ensemble Perform Gary Willis's 'Cadillac'

Berklee Fusion Ensemble Perform Gary Willis's 'Cadillac'

'Cadillac' is an original song by faculty Gary Willis performed by the Berklee Fusion Ensemble.

Berklee Vocal Ensemble Perform Boyz II Men's 'Thank You'

Berklee Vocal Ensemble Perform Boyz II Men's 'Thank You'

Faculty Brian Zalmijn leads the Berklee Vocal Ensemble in an accappella version of 'Thank You' by Boyz II Men at the Discover Series concert.

Berklee Latin Jazz Ensemble Perform 'Café Quemado'

Berklee Latin Jazz Ensemble Perform 'Café Quemado'

Faculty member Victor Mendoza leads the Berklee Latin Jazz Ensemble in his original song 'Café Quemado' at a Discover Series concert.

David Minguillón Group Performs 'Adrian'

David Minguillón Group Performs 'Adrian'

Contemporary Performance student David Minguillón leads his original song 'Adrian' in the Discover Series concert.

Berklee Contemporary Jazz Ensemble 'Question and Answer'

Berklee Contemporary Jazz Ensemble 'Question and Answer'

The Berklee Contemporary Jazz Ensemble Perform Pat Metheny's 'Question and Answer' at the Discover Series concert.'

'Shawarmito' by Fernando Cilio at The Discover Series

'Shawarmito' by Fernando Cilio at The Discover Series

An ensemble performs Fernando Cilio's original song 'Shawarmito' at the Discover Series concert. Cilio is a student in the Contemporary Performance program.

Berklee Mediterranean Ensemble Performs 'Selmani'

Berklee Mediterranean Ensemble Performs 'Selmani'

Contemporary Performance students, alumni, and faculty perform 'Semani' at the Mediterranean Roots Festival.

'Lions' Music Video by Olivia Dawn

'Lions' Music Video by Olivia Dawn

Music and lyrics, and music produced and performed by Olivia Dawn for a music video series shot on campus. Dawn completed the Music Production, Technology, and Innovation master's degree, as well as the Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) degree the previous year.

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 and perform with their ensemble in concerts each semester. 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. See an article in British Airways Highlife magazine written by an alumna on Six Places to Listen to Live Music in Valencia.

'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.

Careers

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 (ICC) is one of the resources you have to help get you there. The mission of the ICC 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.

See What the ICC Offers

Possible Career Paths

Getting a master's degree in contemporary performance opens you to a world of possibilities in the music industry and beyond. After graduating, many students work as performing artists, session musicians, songwriters, and some discover additional opportunities in teaching, sound design, production, etc.

See Careers in Music

Industry Events and Conferences (Optional)

Succeeding in the music industry is all about building your professional network and making connections with the right people. Students are encouraged to take advantage of their time in Europe to attend or participate in the many music and performance-related events held in Spain and Europe. All event 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.

These are the events that we recommend for contemporary performance students.

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 Cities)

"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."

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.

See All Industry Events

Internship (Optional)

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 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.

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.

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