Drew Cappotto

“My goal as an educator is to make technology approachable to everyone. I want my students to come away with confidence in their understanding of concepts and techniques that previously seemed unapproachable. I accomplish this by breaking down larger concepts into easily digestible nuggets, allowing my students to discover complex systems as the sum of their parts. I consider technology to be a catalyst for creativity, and stress how to use the tools at their disposal to help realize their creative ideas.”

Javier Vercher

“When I play music, the first thing I reach for is the sound, looking for a deeper and wider understanding of music. By having a strong concept of sound, the student starts to develop his/her own way of conveying emotions and experiences into music [as an] art form. That´s a great starting point.” “Studying harmony and technique is also an important area of my teaching, as well as basic piano playing skills. This is important to establish fundamental aspects of sound and chord progressions for composition and improvisation.“ “It’s crucial to find out what each student is going for; everyone is different. Once that´s set I develop different exercises within his/her musical realm. That could be writing a composition, establishing piano playing proficiency, or improvisation techniques for his/her main instrument.” “The essential to me is to nurture the music devotion of the student so he/she can be in shape for the always demanding professional and artistic world.”

Israel Sandoval

“In my classes, I like to develop a good repertoire and use each composition as an opportunity to learn scales, chords, comping, improvisation, reading, arranging, reharmonization, and rhythms. My main subject is improvisation. Improvisation involves creativity, technique, knowledge of form, harmonies, and scales. In my opinion, a good composer, arranger, or guitar player should first be a good improviser.”

Yoel Páez

“My goal in class is for students to dominate their instruments. I want them to be able to play the different styles we work on in class, such as such Latin jazz, Latin fusion, jazz, yoruba, oshun, osaín, Iyesa, mozambique, songo, comparsa, chachachá, pilón, son, guaracha, palo habanero, abakuá, and more. I also want them to learn how to share their playing with other musicians, whether those musicians are members of their own bands or in an orchestra.” “Related to all working with a variety of styles, the students develop and improve different skills such as rhythm, reading, improvisation, classical effects, and other fundamental knowledge to enter the professional field with confidence.” “It is very important for my students to be prepared not only musically but also psychologically, and to be ready to offer their best on stage. The work they do every day increases their creativity to a high degree, making them excellent professionals and, above all, great people doing something they enjoy.”

Olga Román

“I have an individual approach to each student, and I try to offer them a safe environment to feel comfortable and free to explore and learn. My goal is to help my students find their own voice, their uniqueness, and give them tools in order to manage as a musician in the professional world. After 30 years in my musical career, I try to teach what I think is most important for a vocalist.” “A musical piece, a song, can be approached from different perspectives: lyrics, melody, rhythm, harmony. For a singer it’s very important to work on all of them but we have to emphasize the importance of ‘telling’ the lyrics, telling the story, the commitment with the emotional flow of the composition, the importance of intention and attitude.” “We work on vocal technique and on rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic ear training exercises. I want them to understand what’s going on underneath the melody. A singer should understand all the layers that support the melody and not only care about the leading line. That will allow them to move freely inside a song, to improvise, to hear and sing vocal harmonies, and to develop their own version and arrangement.”

Casey Driessen

“As the director of the Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) master’s program, I draw on my diverse background in the music industry, encouraging performers to develop their artistic voices through self-sufficiency, dedication to craft, and an open mind to creative stimulus from life.” “I’m a traditional American fiddler turned electrified live looper; a studio musician with producing, mixing, and engineering experience; a sideman who has become a band leader and solo artist; and also a tour manager, stage manager, merchandise manager, and drum tech.” “I grew up grounded in traditional American bluegrass music with the fiddle as my voice. I have since drawn upon the traditions of jazz, funk, rock/pop, and various world cultures in my own musical pursuits. I’ve come to realize that traditions—including bluegrass—don’t exist as independent, timeless entities, but are the results of innovation, collaboration, life sharing, and mutual respect. I appreciate those who preserve genres in their “pure” form but delight in the juxtaposition of the seemingly contrary.” “With more than 15 years of teaching experience, I’ve learned that no “one way” works for everybody. This graduate program is designed to be flexible to the individual needs of musicians originating from a wide range of instrumental and genre backgrounds while encouraging and developing their individual artistry. It caters to those who respect where they come from yet desire to push their traditions forward into uncharted and exciting new territory.” “Whatever instrument you play or genre you call home, I’m only interested in your dedication and passion. Let’s make some music together.”  

Liz Teutsch

“In addition to music, teaching and education have always been passions of mine. I remember the first class I taught: a one-day pre-calculus class while I was still in high school. I felt that I had the ability to make complex concepts accessible, even to a classroom full of a very diverse group of students. That class was a success, and I’ve been teaching ever since.” “I feel extremely fortunate that I am able to fuse two of my passions – music and education – at Berklee’s Valencia campus, where I have worked and taught since 2013. In the classroom, I work to make music technology accessible to all, recognizing that these tools can also lead to unexpected creative breakthroughs. There are some facets of technology that all students – soon to be professionals – must understand. However, these technology tools can also be used creatively, and it is our students’ explorations and experimentations with them that will continue to propel the music industry forward for many years to come.”

Gary Willis

“Creativity was always central to how I learned music, and it’s central to how I teach. Creative problem-solving is the best way to describe it and it’s led me to investigate a variety of paths as part of becoming a musician—from creative instrument design by looking at the instrument as a user interface, to unique right hand solutions, to fingerboard harmony concepts that exploit the symmetry of the fingerboard, and a wide range of other directions that have all contributed to my experience. “I basically want my students to learn how to teach themselves. Technology and a musician’s role in society is changing so rapidly that mastering a single set of skills is no longer enough to prepare for a constantly evolving future. “My experience was that although I went to music schools, I never had an instrument teacher, so that forced me take a very direct approach to solving problems and learning that I believe I wouldn’t have adopted had I learned the instrument in a traditional setting.”  

Maureen Choi

“I believe in a strong technical foundation in order to have command over the instrument because with that command comes the ease to take control and express oneself freely. I also like problem solving and always trying to come up with better and more efficient ways of practicing. Using these tools, I can tailor my methods to the individual student depending on how they learn.” “For my students who come from a solid classical background, I help them utilize the skills that they already have and help them use the violin technique that they already know to ‘cross over’ to other genres. Through my own crossover from extensive classical training to jazz to the subgenre of Latin jazz, I can relate to many string players and give them the tools to play in many styles outside classical violin. For other students with a less technical foundation, I help them improve the quality of their sound, develop the bow arm, strengthen the left hand, and work on playing with excellent intonation.” “I always try to implement the most direct, effective, and time-efficient way of getting things in your ears and fingers. I want my students to leave my class knowing how to practice so they can always continue to improve on their own, having a stronger ear, more confidence, and better preparation to face real-life situations like being in the recording studio, performing on stage, or teaching all kinds of students.”

Sergio Martínez

“My teaching style is based on the idea of mentoring. My students can count on me inside and outside the classroom, and the learning flow is circular; we’re learning from each other.” “My goals are to guide students’ talents to achieve their maximum potential. I’m identifying individual strengths and weaknesses and addressing them with honesty, respect, and challenging them. We’re working, not only on strictly musical aspects and concepts, but digging deeper into molding musicians who commit to a mission: the society of improving communities, making the world a better place.” “My best teachers were those who I could reach anytime, still today. They were those who committed to the responsibility of ‘passing the message’ to the younger generations and who consider that, even having all kinds of degrees, they haven’t graduated yet. That’s the kind of teacher I am.” “I want my students to come away not only with a strong domain over the concepts we work on in class but also with a  serious  commitment to their careers and creativity.” “Berklee offers an amazing creative environment full of diversity. This makes the difference. The great panel of faculty wouldn’t make the college as unique if such an amazing community of talented international students weren’t part of it. Everyone has the option to compare him- or herself with other international individuals, a fact that contributes positively to build an artistic identity.” “Coming from flamenco music, where 99% of the artists don’t have a formal music education in music theory or reading, I really appreciate the great things of the old school, tribal teaching methods, based in oral transmission.” “Through learning by ear, imitation and practice, I developed strong listening and memorizing skills and also a very strong sense of rhythm, characteristic of flamenco music. I consider these necessary  aspects for the young musicians who have been educated under Western or classical parameters where interpreting is sometimes too attached to reading and where the learning process is also very attached to paper and computers. For me, the combination of both methodologies is the best way to teach, and I challenge my students to learn and memorize by ear as well as by using technology and other resources.”

Mariano Steimberg

“My teaching methods are always focused on the individual. I concentrate on technique, styles, coordination, ear training, keeping time, or whatever I feel the student needs for developing his/her career according to their level and needs. My goal is to feel that every student of mine is taking something from me for the rest of their life. It´s not only about technique or drumming but about music, life and feeling emotions and sharing all of this through the gift of music.” “In my teaching experience I have found that the most important thing is to get my students inspired. Once they are inspired I can communicate with them with joy and inspiration and help them in this marvelous journey of learning music.” “At Berklee I feel that most of the students are very respectful with their teachers and because of this it is even easier to work with them and help them develop. Eventually my development as a teacher not only comes from my practice but from the need of my students, so if they get better I get better.”

Polo Ortí

“My classes are adapted to the individual needs of students, trying to get to the next level. The development in the harmonic and melodic language is key to addressing the music – developing new voicings, reharmonizing, new ways of phrasing, developing the way rhythmic accompaniments work, developing piano technique, etc. I also give classes for those whose main instrument is not the piano and need an initiation to compose and make their own music with a basic knowledge of the piano.”

Celia Mur

“My teaching style is focused around the individual. I concentrate on technique, styles, ear training, keeping time, physical coordination, or whatever I feel the student needs to develop their career according to their level and needs. The stylistic approach to Latin, Brazilian, modern flamenco, rock and jazz includes different techniques, employing improvisation and the proper use of different vocal registers.” “As an active performing artist who works with important musicians, I had the opportunity to develop my melodic ideas beyond all limits, being inspired by other great masters. I try to teach my students to challenge themselves in that way. Sometimes they limit themselves by not exploring improvisational ideas, so I encourage them to explore all vocal options, maintain that curiosity, and explore their limits. The most important thing is to keep focusing, keep exploring, and keep enjoying the music.”

Enric Alberich

“My goal has always been to seek excellence in all aspects of the educational service. I consider it not only important to provide the highest level possible in course content and knowledge transfer, but also in all the services and activities that surround it, making excellence become a global objective of educational activity. In pursuing this aim I have always looked at those institutions that have become milestones of music education in the world. Thus, for many years I have tried to encourage institutions in Spain to use management models imported from abroad, either from the rest of Europe or the United States. And, of course, all through my life I have looked in detail at the model provided by Berklee College of Music.” “I see education as another state of human interchange, of human relationship. Despite my training has been through quite classical (not to say ancient) methodologies centered on the teacher, based upon the class lecture, I strive to turn my teaching activity over to the student, making him become the center, and the objective, of education activity. That’s the way that I believe I can improve the results, increase the student level, and decrease the time needed to accomplish it. This aim to make students become the center of education is accomplished by connecting with their interests, using their own tools and resources to develop their skills and trying to make education become a holistic activity. It’s not only about learning things, it’s also about learning how to do things, and it’s also about learning to be a human being. We all remember that teacher that we had, when students, about whom we say “S/he didn’t teach me only music, but about life and how to become a better person.’ This is how I see that education should be today.”

Victor Mendoza

“The master’s degree program in performance provides the student with the opportunity to hone in on a deeper level of understanding of expression and artistry. This means intense dedication to instrumental technique, improvisation concepts, and expansion of vocabulary in the area of interest. “I have always believed that in addition to developing strong jazz concepts and vocabulary, a deep understanding of the rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic concepts of music from Latin America the Mediterranean, Baltic countries, and India provides the musician opportunities and creative vocabulary, making a musician more well-rounded. Therefore, I approach my student’s development by providing them with materials for study based on transcription work and harmonic and rhythmic study methods in the area of concentration. This, in turn, will enable them to grasp a deeper understanding of various styles of performance as well as an approach to composition. “My love for teaching developed over the years, as I have discovered the essence of constant wonder and amazement through the eyes of my students.”

Gael Hedding

“Back in the day many engineers and producers ensured their success by being very secretive with knowledge and keeping it to themselves. I think that times have changed and today more than ever, sharing knowledge and experience is one of the keys to professional success.” “Decision-making and problem solving are required at every step of most creative endeavors. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by many great people, and as they did with me, I strive to guide students through a journey of self-discovery and development of critical thinking.” “Music technology is ever evolving and it empowers individuals to achieve more on their own, but also tends to make collaboration opportunities less evident. As a teacher it is also my goal to encourage students to cultivate people skills and excel in the art of collaboration.”