On March 12th, Berklee alumnus Jason Linder, VP of Project Management for Concord Music Group, shared some insight on today’s music industry and where it’s headed. Concord Music Group started as a jazz record label, but over the years it began working on a new vision: introducing established legends to new, upcoming artists. They recently released an album titled Take Me To the River: Music from the Motion Picture. The album is a companion to Martin Shore’s award-winning documentary Take Me to the River that brings multiple generations of musicians together in collaboration.
Linder discussed the marketing aspects of a record company and provided a list of marketing strategies including PR, radio, new media, video, and sales. Many say that CD sales are dead, but Linder believes otherwise. Though it’s not a predominant source of income, people are still supporting artists through CD sales. Linder explained how an artist’s income is a huge indicator of who their audience is. For example, in one week Big Sean received 17 million streams on Spotify, while Kid Rock only received 500,000 streams. This shows us that Big Sean’s audience is mostly young people who choose online streaming over hard copy.
I learned that 1500 streams of one song is equal to 1 album sale. This means that Big Sean’s 17 million streams are equivalent to only about 12,000 albums sales. Since CD sales are plummeting with the new generation, the music industry will have to adapt or artists will no longer be able to support themselves.
Lastly, Linder discussed an internship for students here at Berklee to work with Concord Music Group in various cities around the country. It’s an amazing opportunity for students to see the nooks and crannies of the music industry and the big changes that Linder believes are on the horizon. For questions about the internship program, contact Arin Canbolat.
Grace Mann is a City Music Scholar from Boston, MA, and is currently studying at Berklee College of Music.
Berklee City Music staff members Arin Canbolat and Andrew Sammut recently returned from visiting four Berklee City Music Network sites, so we invite you to take an inside look at their trip in this four-part series by BCMN registrar Andrew Sammut.
With a roster encompassing the continental United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, site visits are a welcome opportunity for City Music staff to skip the smartphone and speak directly with the people who make the Network possible. Last week Arin and Andrew were fortunate to tour City Music’s southeastern region, beginning with 2xSalt Ministry in Charlotte, NC.
Founded in 2003, 2xSalt brings together youth through community gatherings, athletic programming and of course music education. Our visit began with a warm welcome from 2xSalt board member Alan Barnes, who took us on a tour of 2xSalt’s main facilities. In addition to its full size basketball court, community cafeteria, Thrift Shoppe and mechanical engineering lab, 2xSalt offers music students the opportunity to record in their own studio, study PULSE in a computer lab and jam in a beautiful, welcoming performance space. 2xSalt joined City Music shortly after adding music to its broad range of programs in 2012. It has been both rewarding and informative to observe the growth of this site’s musical resources and more importantly its student base.
After music instructor Eric Brice joined us, we drove to some of the nearby schools attended by 2xSalt students. We listened in on a jazz band jamming over “Footprints,” smiled at the sight of three trumpeters and a sousaphonist using their lunch period to practice, and talked with another student who just completed their audition for the City Music Summer Scholarship. We also met some of the local band directors who support 2xSalt. President and founder Bart Kofoed and 2xSalt music teacher Randy Johnson then joined us for lunch, sharing their experiences and hopes for West Charlotte’s students. With music programming in many schools reduced or cut from the curriculum, Alan and Eric emphasized their eagerness to bring in more students and allow them the opportunity to learn music.
As students began arriving back at 2xSalt stage to begin playing after school, the importance as well as sheer joy of that mission was palpable. From a swinging blues jam through Freddie Hubbard’s famously difficult “Red Clay” to a very Herbie Hancock-esque original composition by one of the 2xSalt students, it was clear that these young musicians not only enjoy playing but that music animates and empowers them. The opportunity to meet and talk with those students as well as their teachers, parents and the dedicated leadership at 2xSalt was a great beginning for this trip!
We recently sat down with Jordan Summers, the Music Mentoring and Youth Development Coordinator for Berklee City Music Boston, to get some tips on how to foster successful mentor/mentee relationships in a program that consists of about 80 participants in the Boston area. Mentors are Berklee students and mentees consist of local middle school and high school-aged youth from underserved areas that have auditioned for City Music programs. The program provides mentees with 3.5 hours of instruction per week that includes a one-on-one music coaching, theory class, and ensemble rehearsal.
Jordan broke down her keys for program success into the “3 R’s”: Research, Recruit, Relationship
Jordan frequently uses free online tools to enhance Mentorship programming. There are several non-profit organizations that provide guidance for mentor programs in the form of networking, helpful information, and organizational tools. She said that she regularly checks for new resources like handbooks, activity ideas, and training information from the websites of the following established national mentoring organizations:
http://www.mentoring.org: Mentoring program that develops quality resources to advance mentoring program effectiveness and innovation, while sharing knowledge among mentoring programs, and works to drive increased investment to sustain and grow mentoring programs nationwide.
http://www.massmentors.org: Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) helps to fuel the movement to expand empowering youth-adult relationships to meet the needs of communities across Massachusetts.
http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org: Focuses national attention on the need for mentors, and how businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits can work together to increase the number of mentors to assure positive outcomes for young people.
“Always be looking for mentors!” Jordan advises. Because City Music mentors are usually full-time Berklee College of Music students, Jordan is sure to have a “back up for the back up”. She sources her mentors from general interest meetings that she advertises through the college, referrals from Berklee faculty and staff, a recruiting table that she sets-up at college events, and through informational materials she places around campus. Jordan also leverages the program’s many success stories to encourage students to sign-up.
Show Value: Jordan knows that Berklee students are more likely to sign-up as mentors if she can show them the value of being a mentor goes beyond spending time with a kid in need of music instruction and someone to hang out with after school. Jordan said that her mentors oftentimes tell her that they have become more aware of their own learning style through the applied teaching of their mentee. Following graduation from Berklee, several of her City Music mentors have requested and received recommendation letters and connections with industry professionals throughout the Berklee City Music National Network.
For the mentor’s first contact with their mentee, Jordan provides them with a “first call” template/script to make communication effective and easy. She also put together a handbook for mentors that contains best practices and acts as a trouble-shooting guide to get the relationship off to a great start.
Jordan plans at least one non-music activity per month and told us that “pizza always works!” She highlighted the importance of taking the mentors and mentees out of the context of a demanding learning environment.
Jordan left us with her favorite quote to share with new mentors/mentees, “In learning, you will teach and in teaching, you will learn.”
Click here for more information on the City Music Mentoring Program.
Berklee City Music Network site teachers from across the nation (and Canada!) converged in Boston for the the 2014 PULSE Training Institute (PTI). Friday night’s PTI Welcome Dinner, hosted by J. Curtis Warner, Jr. and Dean Krystal Banfield, included some delicious food and jamming entertainment by former Berklee City Music National turned Berklee College of Music students.
PTI has been an intensive learning experience with activities ranging from student/teacher jam sessions to multimedia PULSE and live performance demonstrations.
PTI came to a close at the City Music Scholarship Concert and post-concert reception.
This year’s PTI, PULSE Training Institute, starts bright and early this Friday morning with ear training, ensemble observations, and theory classes and will end with a Welcome Dinner. J Curtis Warner Jr., Executive Director for Berklee City Music, and Krystal Prime Banfield, Dean of City Music, have formally invited PTI participants to a “Meet the City Music Leadership” Dinner. It is going to be an event to remember!
PTI will be going strong through the weekend, with myriad classes focused on integrating PULSE and music training in the classroom. Courses include “Creating Music: From Writing to Production” and “PULSE: Capacity Building Through Programming”.
The Institute will end with a bang on Tuesday, 8/12 at 7:30 pm; The Five-Week Performance Program’s City Music Scholarship Concert will take place in the Berklee Performance Center and will feature students from many of PTI participant and clinician sites.
On May 11th 1997 Chick Corea received an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music, a few months later John Mayer came to Boston to study, and last December they met while they were guests on Stevie Wonder’s “House Full of Toys” Concert. Chick Corea and John Mayer decided to jam and in the end of February 2014 they got together to record in Electric Lady Studios in New York.
They haven’t as of yet, released anything, but John Mayer posted a rough mix of one of their songs/improvisations called “Little Sur” followed by some insights on the creating process.
Chick Corea also released a podcast where they discuss their project and Improvisation. For more of Chick Corea’s podcasts explore this link.
You can also watch them collaborate live on Late Night with Seth Meyers playing “After Midnight.”
Mayer has also presented 2 clinics at Berklee College of Music. The first you can find on PULSE and online.
John Mayer’s 2008 Clinic at Berklee College of Music: Information and Inspiration
Berklee College of Music graduating class of 2014 gathers students from 67 countries across the map and 43 U.S. states. They will receive their degrees at Berklee’s 2014 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the 7,000 seat Agganis Arena at Boston University.
We’d like to give a special shout out to our Berklee City Music Students who are walking in this year’s ceremony! Brielle Blount, Lauren Fuller, Matthew Hull, Terrell James, Bianelys Javier, Laura Padilla, Franchesca Phillip, Alfred Jordan, Levi Keller and Myrish Spell -we are so proud of you!
Recognizing their contributions to American and international culture, Berklee president Roger H. Brown will present honorary doctor of music degrees to Jimmy Page, Thara Memory, Geri Allen and Valerie Simpson.
The evening before the ceremony, this year’s Honorary Doctorate recipients will enjoy Berklee graduates’ performance paying tribute to their music. We hope that some of the honorees would grace the stage with their presence as Annie Lenox and Willie Nelson did last year.
A complete list of Berklee’s honorary degree recipients over the years is available here.
Jimmy Pageis an English musician, songwriter and record producer. He is considered to be one of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Jimmy Page is widely known as the leader of the rock band Led Zeppelin, having sold over 300 million albums worldwide.
Page continues to be one of the most influential musicians, and it is a great honor to have him deliver the commencement speech to the array of Berklee’s graduating students, as they transition to a new, exciting chapter of their lives.
Thara Memory is a teacher, trumpeter, composer and conductor. He experienced the pleasure of touring and playing with various great blues and jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Natalie Cole, James Brown, The Four Tops, Eddie Harris, Stanley Turrentine and Joe Tex and was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. He founded the American Music Program a renowned youth jazz orchestra, and has taught and mentored countless students including Berklee alumna, Esperanza Spalding. Memory won a Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists” for the song “City of Roses” on Spalding’s album Radio Music Society. The American Music Program was also featured in the song’s music video and backing Spalding on the recording.
Geri Allen is internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and active music educator. Since 1982 she has recorded, performed or collaborated with Ravi Coltrane, Dianne Reeves, Bill Cosby, Ron Carter, Ornette Coleman and Paul Motian. Her latest release Flying Toward the Sound appeared on the Best of 2010 lists for NPR, Downbeat, All About Jazz, and the Village Voice’s Jazz Critics’ Poll.
Valerie Simpsonis a half of the Motown writing duo- Ashford and Simpson. With her late husband Nick Ashford, she co-wrote and produced numerous hits for music greats such as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan; They were the creative songwriting force behind everlasting hits like “ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “I’m Every Woman”, “Ain’t Nothing Like A Real Thing”, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and many more. As performers, they are most known for their ’80s hit “Solid (As a Rock)”.
As a member of the ASCAP Foundation Board, Valerie established the Reach Out and Touch Award, which honors Ashford and helps advance the careers of promising young songwriters. Valerie returns to Berklee this May, after her last year’s performance in Trouble Man, a musical about the life of Marvin Gaye that was scripted by Berklee students.
Commencement events will be streamed online at the following links:
A Love Supreme, John Coltrane’s signature album, was recorded in one session with his quartet on December 9, 1964 at the Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey and released by Impulse! Records in February of the following year.
The intricate piece flourished from a four-note seed of a relatively simple idea based on the words “a love supreme”, that allowed the musicians—tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison—to subtly and carefully entwine it into a 33-minute long four-part suite.
The four movements “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance” and “Psalms” symbolize the stepping-stones of Coltrane’s spiritual quest and struggle for purity while overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, which resulted in being fired from Miles Davis’ group. As a true jazz alchemist, Coltraine transformed suffering into a hymn, announcing a major thematic trend in his later works.
In the manuscript, Coltrane writes that the A Love Supreme motif should be “played in all keys together.” In “Acknowledgement,” he indeed repeats the basic theme in all keys culminating with famous chanting of the theme at the end of the movement. Lewis Porter, the author of John Coltrane: His Life and Music (1999) says: “To me, he’s giving you a message here. Now he’s saying it’s everywhere. It’s in all 12 keys. Anywhere you look, you’re going to find this “Love Supreme”.”
Coltrane was entirely involved in every aspect of A Love Supreme: recording the chant, writing the liner notes and composing a devotional poem to accompany the crowning movement “Psalms” where he performs what he calls a “musical recitation of prayer”, “playing” the words on the saxophone instead of speaking them. Some scholars have considered this performance an homage to the sermons of African American preachers.
Even though there are no recorded interviews of him speaking about the concept behind his masterpiece, this exalting piece of music held an evident personal significance for the ingenious saxophonist. In fact, Coltrane gave very few verbal directions even to his band mates. Tyner remembers the unusual, almost magical atmosphere surrounding the session and calls the album a culmination and natural extension of chemistry honed through years of playing together live.
Powerful and vulnerable at the same time, A Love Supreme exudes with the attuned emotional effusions of each member of Coltrane’s quartet, bringing together the hard bop sensibilities of his early career, Miles Davis-inspired modal influences and the free jazz style he later adopted.
The album’s influence has been extensive from John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana guitar version of “Acknowledgement” to vocal versions by Will Downing, José James and Kurt Elling. The suite also forms four tracks on the Branford Marsalis Quartet album titled Footsteps of Our Fathers. Wynton Marsalis followed his brother’s footsteps and recorded the suite in 2003 with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
By December 1965 Coltrane’s monumental achievement was named Downbeat magazine’s Album of the Year, nominated for two Grammy Awards and listed by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Quite popular for a jazz album, selling about 500,000 copies by 1970, it still remains a doorway to Coltrane’s music to many people who wouldn’t consider themselves jazz fans.
As further testimony to the recording’s importance, the manuscript for the album is part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution along with 25 rare and never before displayed photographs from the A Love Supreme recording session and one of Coltrane’s three principal saxophones that his son Ravi generously donated in March 2014.
“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang-ups…I want to speak to their souls.” ― John Coltrane
Fun Fact:Coltrane’s home in Dix Hills, Long Island, has been considered as the site of inspiration for A Love Supreme. Now, Coltrane’s son Ravi, Carlos Santana and others want to turn this house into a museum and learning center. They are trying to raise the funds to make this dream a reality.