Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Course: Writing the FILM Musical!

NEW COURSE: Writing the Film Musical (Fall 2011)
A Pro-Arts Experience
Writing the Film Musical (PW-468) will match Berklee songwriters--composers and lyricists--with Emerson screenwriters to create original screenplays with songs. Students will study the screenplays of a variety of film musicals from the beginning of the genre to the present. Working in groups, writing students from Emerson will complete an outline and first act of an original screenplay, and Berklee composers and lyricists will write songs that help tell that story. The semester will culminate in a staged reading—with music—performed by acting/musical theatre students from both Berklee and Emerson.
Writing the Film Musical is the winner of a new course development contest sponsored by the Pro-Arts Consortium to foster cross-pollination of school communities. We will be working closely with Emerson screenwriting faculty member Diane Lake (whose impressive credentials include the screenplay for Frida starring Salma Hayek).  The Emerson course meets on Tuesdays from 4-8pm.  The Berklee course officially only meets from 6-8pm on Tuesday nights.  However, if it’s possible for any of you to keep free 4-6pm on your Tuesday schedule, you will be encouraged to audit the first two hours at Emerson as often as possible.  There will be a lot of screenwriting material covered that would still be invaluable for all of us to learn.  However, rest assured that this would only be encouraged, but not be required.  The homework load for Berklee students will be more song-focused and less screenwriting focused.  There will, of course, still be some screenwriting concepts to learn and work on for homework assignments, even for the songwriting students.
Title: Writing the Film Musical
Credits: 2
Course Weight: 1.25
Contact Hours: 2
Tuesdays, 6-8, Uchida 511 [optional auditing of Emerson portion Tuesdays 4-6pm]
Cap: 15 students

Pre-requisite waiver requirements
The pre-requisite for PW 468 is either of the following:
• completion of SW-345 Musical Theater Writing 1 or SW-445 Musical Theater Writing 2
• demonstration of equivalent songwriting/composition ability via electronic submission of mp3/pdf of either music or lyrics or both of an original song (see details below)
In addition:
• to help me meet my goal of creating a balance of abilities among composers and lyricists and composer/lyricists – please describe your background/interest in writing music and/or lyrics
• don’t forget to send your student ID #
• be prepared to do summer reading assignment
Song submission
If you have not taken the course SW-345, please send a work sample of a song for which you composed either music or lyrics or both.  If it’s in the musical theater genre, great; if not, try to choose something that demonstrates writing for character or story if possible.  Instrumental composers must submit a song, so if you don’t have one in your repertoire, find a song lyric text (or a lyricist!) and write something new.  Ideally your work sample demonstrates a mastery of song form with clear hook (ie. Verse/Refrain, otherwise known as AABA form; or Verse/Chorus).  Send lead sheet or piano/score pdf and an mp3 demo of a vocal performance of the song.  Professional notation should at a minimum include melody, chords, lyrics; well-constructed and notated piano accompaniment is a plus.
Summer Reading
To hit the ground running, all pre-registered students should plan to do the following reading before fall semester begins:
The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide by David Spencer (one copy on reserve in the library, and the Bookstore should have some for purchase in the textbook section)
Highly recommended:
Finishing The Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim (an expensive hardback; I just put in a request for the library to get a reserve copy)
Melody in Songwriting by Jack Perricone -- Composition/Film Scoring majors who have not taken Songwriting 1 are highly encouraged to purchase and self-study this BerkleePress textbook.  There are a few library copies and also available at the Berklee bookstore.
Thanks again,
Michael Wartofsky
Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Music and Emotions Lecture!

Thursday, April 21 · 6:30pm - 8:00pm
150 Massachusetts Ave, Media Lab

How does music move us?

Music reflects the human social-emotional brain, but how? Is music a cognitive fashion accessory -- something that the advanced brain does for fun? Or does music tap a powerful emotional mechanism in the human brain? How do we regulate emotions with music and why do we listen to sad songs? Dr. Susan Rogers will present leading researchers' thoughts on how and why music and emotions are linked and the implications for music-makers.

Music moves us in ways that are both obvious and mysterious. In her work as a clinical music therapist and researcher, Dr. Suzanne Hanser presents a variety of clinical cases whereby people are deeply moved by music, to the extent that they overcome deep physical and emotional distress. She presents research to support changes in emotion, and poses theories to explain how music gains its power to influence the way we feel.

Join us for this fascinating glimpse into the research of these two amazing Berklee faculty members!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Songwriting Department MASTER CLASS THURSDAY!

WHERE: 1140 Boylston, Room 1W
WHEN: April 14th, 1pm-2pm
WHAT: Songwriting Clinic

Please join the Songwriting faculty: Pat Pattison, Jimmy Kachulis, Scarlet
Keys, Mark Simos, Jon Aldrich, Susan Cattaneo, John Stevens, Stan
Swiniarski, Sarah Brindell and Chair, Jack Perricone as they listen to
selected student songs and give comments and helpful suggestions to
make the songs better. Use their critique to examine ways to improve your
own songwriting. This is a unique opportunity to watch the Songwriting
faculty in action. Come and observe this clinic done in a master class

Saturday, April 9, 2011

ASCAP Day Monday! - Patrice Rushen Speaking at Cafe 939

Please join ASCAP, the Film Scoring and Songwriting Departments in welcoming Berklee Ambassador of Arts in Education Patrice Rushen. Patrice has amassed an impressive numbers of “firsts.” She was the first woman to serve as Musical Director for the 46th, 47th & 48th Annual Grammy Awards, the first woman in 43 years to serve as Head Composer/Musical Director for television's highest honor, the Emmy Awards and the only woman Musical Director/Composer for the “People’s Choice Awards” and HBO’s “Comic Relief.”

As a gifted pianist, arranger, producer, vocalist, and composer, Ms. Rushen has recorded with Carlos Santana, Chaka Khan, Teena Marie, Quincy Jones, Jean Luc Ponty, George Duke, The Dazz Band, Lenny White, Prince, Edgar Winter & Rick Derringer, Shirley Bassey, Alphonso Johnson, Flora Purim, Sheena Easton, Wayne Shorter, Stanley Clarke, Babyface, Joe Williams, Peabo Bryson, Will Downing, Sonny Rollins, Gerald Albright, Vesta Williams, Gary Taylor, Stanley Turrentine, Terri Lyne Carrington, Hubert Laws, Bobby Caldwell, Pauline Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Ronnie Laws, Grover Washington. Jr., Minnie Riperton, The Temptations, Lonette McKee, Ndugu Chancler, Kevin Eubanks, Lee Ritenour, Vinx, Dianne Reeves, George Howard, Sheree Brown, Holly Robinson, Eddie Murphy, Ramsey Lewis, Vanessa Williams, Kenny Burrell, Paul Jackson, Jr., Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna, Justo Almario, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Greg Phillingaines, and Harvey Mason.

When: 2:00-3:30 April 11th

Where: Cafe 939 The Red Room

Monday, April 4, 2011

FutureHit.DNA Author JAY FRANK visits Berklee! (Thurs 4-6)

WHEN: Thurs, Apr 7 4pm-6pm
WHERE: 150 Mass Ave, Rm 118
WHAT: Future Hit.DNA outlines 15 points that must change in a song if the artists, songwriters and producers of tomorrow want a chart topping hit. Jay Frank shows how small changes can result in large royalty checks. Songs can now earn more money than ever, as long as the creator knows the tricks.
For the first time, Future Hit.DNA delivers inside tricks from both the music listener and music industry perspective. When utilized, these tips result in significant advantages in those songs’ abilities to become hits. This unprecedented insight gives its readers a leg up over the competition, thereby making the book an essential read for music makers.

Jay Frank is Senior VP of Music Strategy for CMT. Frank oversees music strategy as it relates to all of the network’s on-air and digital music initiatives across all properties, including CMT,, CMT Mobile, games, touring and other businesses. He works closely with music labels and artists to create multi-platform promotions that leverage all of the CMT brands to enhance artist reach and drive awareness for the channel.
Under Frank’s leadership, music video ratings have reached an all-time high for the channel, with an incredible 43 percent growth in 2009 with stunt programming and exclusive premieres as part of an aggressive multi-platform promotional strategy.