2016 Summit Countdown: Things to do in Newark, NJ

If you are joining us for the 2016 Berklee City Music Summit at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, here are some activities to add to your trip itinerary.

Newark, NJ cityscape by night

What to see?

Where to dine?

Other NJPAC events?

For more events at the NJPAC, click here.

Casio: The World’s Favorite Keyboard

Casio is a Tokyo based, internationally acclaimed electronics manufacturing company that produces calculators, mobile phones, cameras, musical instruments, and watches. Casio’s keyboards and synthesizers have been used religiously by musicians worldwide for decades.

The reliability and notoriety of Casio’s products makes them stand out amongst various musical instrument distributors. Casio’s commitment to high-quality and environmentally friendly products is an exemplary standard of excellence in the industry.

The Summit is looking forward to Casio’s partnership with Richard Formidoni on Tuesday, November 10th to present I Learned on a Casio. So many of us can say we started our musical journey on a Casio keyboard. Casio has been enabling musicians for 35 years and counting. Learn how Casio continues to keep music education a top priority, and how its current line of instruments can bring your music to new heights.

Special thanks to Casio for their sponsorship of this one-of-a-kind event.  The 2015 City Music Summit will be held at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City on November 9-11. Register today.











MusicFirst: Transcending Boundaries of the Classroom

MusicFirst is an online teaching tool for students grades K-12. This software-based learning platform includes standards-based lesson plans, engaging content and exercises, and portfolio for the instructor to track each artist’s progress.

Equipped with training sessions, workshops, and events, MusicFirst goes beyond the screen in ensuring that students and teachers have the tools needed to ensure overall success. Online resources and interactive lessons are the newest innovation in music education, and MusicFirst is exceeding all expectations of the classroom.

The Summit is greatly anticipating MusicFirst’s presentation with Dr. James Frankel, Transforming Music Education in the Cloud, on Monday, November 9th. We are fortunate to have MusicFirst supporting this event to facilitate music educators nationwide.

The 2015 City Music Summit will be held at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City on November 9-11. Register today.



City Music Master Class Panel

On Monday, November 9th, at 7:30pm, The Gramercy Theater will be full of passion, insight, and ambition! Six Berklee City Music student bands (Berklee City Music Boston, Boys & Girls Harbor, Camden Repertory Theater, The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, The Phoenix Conservatory of Music, and Tipitina’s Foundation) have been selected to participate in the Summit’s master class this year. The ensembles will receive coaching from an industry musician to prepare them for the stage that evening.

City Music is excited to share a new presentation this year; we have added a panel to the Summit which features all six City Music Master Class coaches reflecting on their coaching session experience. In the panel, moderated by Music Forward Foundation’s Marjorie Gilberg, coaches will discuss the techniques they used to work with the student ensembles in their three-hour sessions that morning.

Let’s meet the Coaches:

Alissia Benveniste hails from Geneva, was raised between Milan and London, and currently resides in New York City. As a bass player, band leader, and songwriter, Benveniste serves as the “future face of funk music” (Huffington). She is a “funk newcomer with some serious skills and impressive co-signs” (Billboard). Benveniste has garnered millions of views online and has caught the attention of many industry artists and musicians. She is the leader of Alissia and the Funketeers, her 14-piece funk project. Her debut EP features lots of guests and is due for an early 2016 release.

Kirk Whalum’s soulful sound can be traced to his gospel roots growing up the son of a Baptist preacher in Memphis, Tennessee. Kirk’s inspired and passionate saxophone has been heard worldwide via his own gospel and jazz recordings and concerts as well as studio work with artists Take 6, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, and his unforgettable solo on Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. An ordained minister, Whalum holds a master’s degree in religion. Whalum has received two Dove Award nominations and has won two Stellar Awards. Nominated for 12 Grammy’s, Whalum won his first Grammy (for Best Gospel Song) for “It’s What I Do”.

Mindi Abair is a Grammy nominee whose career spans seven solo albums and countless collaborations on stage and in the studio. Abair has made her mark on a broad stretch of the musical landscape that includes jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul, funk, and more. In addition to her acclaimed body of solo work that includes 10 No. 1 radio hits and close to half a million albums sold, Abair was the featured saxophonist on the 2011 and 2012 seasons of American Idol, jammed with Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman and joined rock legends Aerosmith for their 2012 summer tour. And if writing, recording, and touring weren’t enough, Abair also began a two-year term in 2013 as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

Bobby Sanabria, seven-time Grammy-nominated bandleader- drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, educator, documentary film producer, multicultural warrior, and activist, is a native Nuyorican born and raised in New York’s South Bronx. His unique perspective comes from having performed and/or recorded with every single major figure in the development of what today is known as Latin jazz. Sanabria has recorded three Grammy-nominated CDs for the genre’s acknowledged creator, maestro Mario Bauza and has worked for 10 years as the drummer for Bauza’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. Sanabria started his career with Mongo Santamaria, and has also worked with Tito Puente, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, Candido, Dizzy Gillespie, Marco Rizo, and many more.

Jody Espina, a magna cum laude graduate from Berklee College of Music in 1983, performed and taught music in Barcelona, Spain and then toured the U.S. with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra before settling in New York City in 1985. For the next 23 years, Espina pursued a successful career performing, recording, and teaching music, including Broadway shows, recording movie soundtracks, and as the head of the Jazz Department for the Hoff Barthelson Music School. In 2000, Espina founded JodyJazz Inc., which has become one of the premier saxophone mouthpiece companies in the world.

Tuffus Zimbabwe is a pianist, composer, and educator from the Boston area. A Berklee City Music alumnus and college scholarship recipient, Zimbabwe completed his bachelor’s degree at Berklee and then received his master of music degree from New York University. Zimbabwe is in his sixth year as a keyboardist in the Saturday Night Live house band, and also his sixth year as a pianist and assistant musical director for Trilogy Opera Company.


The 2015 City Music Summit will be held at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City on November 9-11. Register today.

A special thanks to the day’s sponsor, the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, for providing the chance for students to connect with industry professionals and sharpen skills that will be of great use in their futures. The Music Forward Foundation will also provide “Bootcamp” sessions, a learning tool for students to gain hands-on experience as well as knowledge from other music industry experts.

Check out past master class performances.

Ableton: Made by Musicians, For Musicians

One of the Summit’s sponsors, Ableton, is a Berlin-based music software company that produces and distributes the music sequencing software Ableton Live as well as their own software controller, Ableton Push. Ableton’s mission to provide top quality products to musicians worldwide while striving for self improvement as a company is a breath of fresh air for the industry and a model way to operate a business.

Ableton’s team is a diverse, intellectually rich group built upon mutual learning experiences. Many of the employees are musicians, producers, and DJ’s which allows them to have a personal attachment to the products they are distributing. Being a community dominantly comprised of musicians sets Ableton apart from other software companies due primarily to their ability to see the product through a refined lens. Being able to relate to their consumers is what makes Ableton a force to be reckoned with.

The Summit is fortunate and fervent to have Ableton as a sponsor this year. As part of their participation, they will be giving a workshop on Tuesday, November 10th entitled The Project-Based Music Class: How the Latest Tech Brings Musical Creativity to the Masses.

Summary: Don’t let your music class get stuck behind the times! During this workshop Will Kuhn, Music Technology Instructor at Lebanon High School in Ohio, will take you inside his cutting edge music technology classes. See how his students produce EDM, Pop, Hip Hop and more using the latest tech available.

The 2015 City Music Summit will be held at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City on November 9-11. Register today.



Berklee City Music Summit 2015

One Sound, Many Voices: American Popular Music and Creative Youth Development

November 9-11, 2015, in New York City

Berklee City Music is coming to New York City this fall for its fifth annual professional development event. This year’s programming will support four content areas, including:

  • Student engagement and performance
  • Technology/PULSE/curriculum development
  • Staff and teacher development (best practices)
  • Awareness raising, advancement of mission, and development

    Attendees will engage in professional development, share best practices, network, create opportunities for collaboration, and leave with the tools needed to further the City Music movement, “positively impacting youth development primarily through popular music.”

Register Online at rsvpBOOK.com


Registration is now open, and we are also accepting proposals (PDF) if you would like to present at this year’s event.

Relive some of the highlights from last year’s event: