The Berklee College of Music was originally established in 1945 as private contemporary music school by Lawrence Berk. It is located in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. The school is currently well known for its course and degrees in popular performance (jazz, rock, etc.), composition, song writing, and recording industry jobs, such as production and music business management.
The faculty are also considered among the best in the world, with many having commercial success in the industry before teaching at the school. This was a deliberate choice on Berk’s part, as he wanted to emphasize the importance of practice and application over academics.
Some notable teachers at Berklee have been Pat Methany, Joe Lovano, Danilo Perez, and Esperanza Spalding. It is currently accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The name is a portmanteau of Berk and Lee, the name of Lawrence Berk’s son.
Berklee’s original title was the Schillinger House. It was named after a system of teaching composition and harmony created by Joseph Schillinger. It began with a purely classical focus, but soon expanded to commercial music genres, including theater, jazz, and television. Also, the original students were primarily professional musician who already had experience performing, but the school was able to expand to a wider variety of students when it began offering music theory and education classes.
In 1954, its name changed to the Berklee School of Music. During this time, the school acquired many international students. They also created some of the first LP classroom recordings the school ever had, which was pioneered by students who later became successful performers (John Scofield and Sadao Watanabe are just a few of the many). In 1979, Lawrence Berk stepped down as president, and his son, Lee Eliot Berk, was appointed to his place soon after.
The school evolved to the latest name, the Berklee College of Music, in 1970. The school expanded even further, with film scoring added to the curriculum in 1980. Today, many courses can also be taken online through Berkleemusic.com, including Arranging, Music Theory, Production, and Music Business. An even wider array of music styles, including reggae and hip-hop, are now taught by the school. The first honorary doctorate was awarded to Duke Ellington in 1971. After Lee Eliot Berk stepped down as president in 2004, Roger H. Brown was given the position and is the third and current president of the college. Since then, the school has expanded studies in both Africana and global jazz. Berklee also has its own commercial-free radio network, known as the Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN).
You can learn more or apply at: www.berklee.edu
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