April Network Forum: Community Engagement and Performance Opportunities

Special thanks to Abria Smith, Associate Director for Community Engagement in the Office of Community and Government Relations at Berklee, for sharing your insights at this month’s Forum.

Community Engagement: Gaining Local Support for Your Program

Key Relationships within the Community:

  1. City offices
  2. Other community nonprofits
  3. Neighborhood associations

Fostering these key relationships can offer a variety of benefits, such as:

  1. Gain support for your organization and its mission
  2. Grow your local network
  3. Learn about joint funding opportunities and collaborations
  4. Contribute to the culture of the neighborhood (can help with fundraising)
  5. Help legitimize your programming

 

Performance Opportunities:

Leveraging Your Brand

The goal is to be approached by others for performance opportunities. So how can you make it known in your community that your students are available, reliable, and professional?

Start by creating an authentic brand. At Berklee, the strength and reputability of our brand opens recognition makes it easier for Berklee to find opportunities. As a member of the City Music Network, your program can leverage its affiliation with Berklee when establishing your brand within your community. (For more information regarding the City Music Network Branding Toolkit, contact Jean Connaughton.)

You can introduce your program to the local community by hosting a public event, like an annual showcase, showing people first-hand how talented your students are. You can even connect it to a charitable cause!

Paid vs. Free Performances

Paid gigs are great, but free performances can also benefit your program. When approached about a volunteer or free performance opportunity consider how the relationship serves your organization, mission, or cause. If the organization is a non-profit, are they paying for everything else, other musicians or special guests?

Recruiting Top Talent for an Event
When engaging celebrities, artists, and local talent to support your program, a little research can help you leverage your appeal.

  1. What other organizations they support and does it align with what you do?
  2. Would partnering with another nonprofit for a particular event make the ask more relevant?
  3. Share what you do, acknowledge their value and don’t be afraid to ask them to donate their time
  4. Consider asking for them to speak instead of perform — they might be more willing to donate time for that
  5. Foster an ongoing relationship instead of a one-time ask

About the Network Forum

Each month, members from around the Berklee City Music Network® gather to discuss topics and best practices helping you to leverage City Music resources in support of your local program. To inquire about participating in next month’s Network Forum, email citymusic@berklee.edu.

March Network Forum: Engaging Local Alumni and Building a Volunteer Network

Special thanks to Vanessa Bouvry from Berklee Alumni Affairs for leading discussions about engaging local alumni.

Engaging Local Alumni: What You Need to Know

Berklee has 6 major cities with large concentrations of Berklee Alumni:

  1. Boston, MA
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. San Francisco, CA

In each of these cities, there is a Berklee representative responsible for the region and a group of Alumni Volunteers. Regions outside of these 6 major cities may have Alumni Ambassadors.

Interested in contacting a Berklee alum to share an opportunity or information about your organization? Contact berklealumni@berklee.edu.

Engage alumni by providing win-win opportunities in which they can network with each other and elevate your organization and their career, all while giving back. Some suggested opportunities include:

  1. Hosting events
  2. Participating on panels
  3. Being paired with youth as a mentor
  4. Coaching
  5. Engineering
  6. Supporting music in schools
  7. Supporting music in the community

If you already work with an alum, ask them to reach out to their personal network to engage more people in support of your organization.

Building a Volunteer Network: Get Personal

Building your organization’s volunteer network should be a two-way process—your volunteers are helping to support your mission and organizational goals, and you should be just as in-tune with their needs.

  1. Give them roles that are appropriate for their qualifications and goals. Don’t give them a job they don’t want.
  2. Acknowledge their contributions! Send a personal thank you letter, a special note on their birthday, etc.
  3. Be available. Make sure your volunteers know they can reach you by email, phone, or text.

About the Network Forum

Each month, members from around the Berklee City Music Network® gather to discuss topics and best practices helping you to leverage City Music resources in support of your local program. To inquire about participating in next month’s Network Forum, email citymusic@berklee.edu.

City Music Alumna Q and A: Gerami Groover

Gerami Groover was awarded a Berklee City Music full-tuition scholarship to the Five-Week Summer Performance Program, as well as, a City Music College Scholarship to Berklee. She has continued to take advantage of the opportunities City Music and Berklee has to offer.

pic1When did you graduate from Berklee Valencia and what projects have you been pursuing since?
I received my master in Music Technology Innovation from Berklee Valencia on July 14, 2014.” Since then “I have been teaching full-time as a music educator within the Boston area.”

What were you doing in South Africa?
“I recently traveled to Swaziland, a kingdom located inland of South Africa, via the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative as their first reverse exchange fellow. I was in Swaziland for two weeks during the month of August providing and organizing a two week formal music workshop program entitled Emandla Emculo (Power of Music) for 150 Swazi youth (ages 8-18) in the town of Lobamba.”

What takeaways do you have from your experience in South Africa?
“There were so many takeaways from my experience in Swaziland, one being understanding fully the power of music and the impact it can have across cultural barriers, and the importance of providing access to arts education to more communities regardless of socio-economic status.”

Tell us about what it means to be chosen for the Mandela Washington for Young African Leaders Initiative- Reverse Exchange Fellowship?
“The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has been active for less than five years now, each year sending a cohort of around 1,000 young professionals and aspiring leaders from sub-saharan africa, whom are believed to be the next leaders of their country to the USA. These inspiring group of young people partake in a six-week residence at a US university and work closely with the Obama administration in building international relations and networking with local business, civic, and political leaders here in the USA.

The question was asked to President Obama during his meeting with the YALI’15 fellows, how can this initiative be a proper exchange if only Africans are coming to America, we need Americans to do the same and partake in an initiative here in Africa. As a result, President Obama and his administration created the Reverse Exchange fellowship, American professionals that would be identified and recommended by YALI fellows as individuals who would be great ambassadors and carry out the vision that President Obama has for YALI but in reverse, American professionals establishing international relations with young african leaders and creating an initiative that will continue annually. I was selected to be a part of the first American cohort (only 8 were selected) and I was the first American to be awarded and complete an initiative.”

pic2
What’s next on the horizon for you, and what are your ultimate career goals?
“I am currently continuing my partnership with YALI, specifically continuing my works with two YALI fellows from Swaziland. Working together to address some of the challenges facing providing music and arts education to the country of Swaziland. I will be returning back to Swaziland to organize the second year of Emandla Emculo Youth Music Program. I am expanding my work that has been done with YALI and continuing the vision and initiative to other areas of the globe, teaming up with artists from Latin America, Europe and sub-saharan Africa via my project Gerami Groover Presents.”

Read more about Groover and her experience with City Music and Berklee.

Concord Music Group visits Berklee

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.

 

John Mayer and Chick Corea—New Jazz Album in the works. Hope they release it soon!

Chick Corea and John Mayer recording at Electric Lady Studios in New York.

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.

John Mayer and Chick Corea

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 

Part 1 Inspiration from Berklee

Part 2 What it takes to Succeed

Part 3 Turning Information into Inspiration

Part 4 Economy in Songwriting and Playing

Part 5 Working up the Dynamic of Your Solo

Part 6 Honesty in Songwriting

Part 7 The Songwriting Process

Part 8 Getting Started

Part 9 John Performs

You can read about the second clinic on our Berklee Blog or listen to it.

Words of wisdom from John Mayer and Chick Corea!

 

Playlist: Berklee Alumni Garner 36 Grammy Nominations

For the 56th Grammy Awards the National Academy of Recording Arts Sciences nominated 31 Berklee College of Music Alumni in  19 categories for a total of 36 nominations.   For the third year in a row, Berklee Alumni are nominated in the top three categories: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Imagine Dragons

Before the Grammys are broadcast live on Sunday, January 26, on CBS at 8:00 p.m. EST, be sure to listen to all the Berklee Alumni who are nominated on our Spotify Playlist, and for more information on Berklee and the nominations please click here.

[spotify spotify:user:berkleecmn:playlist:1CFa4l3wI9qPbxO5XJfG2n]

Record of the Year

  • “Radioactive,” artist: Imagine Dragons – Berklee nominees: Imagine Dragons members, guitarist Wayne Sermon ‘08, drummer Daniel Platzman ‘09, bassist Ben McKee ‘09Josh Mosser ‘05, engineer/mixer
  • “Locked out of Heaven,” artist: Bruno Mars – Berklee nominees: Jeff Bhasker ’99, co-producer; Josh Blair ’99, engineer/mixer
  • “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell – Berklee nominees: Tony Maserati ’86, engineer/mixer

Album of the Year

  • Red, artist: Taylor Swift – Berklee nominees: Jeff Bhasker ’99, co-producer; Pawel Sek ’00, engineer/mixer
  • Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, Kendrick Lamar – Berklee nominees: Anna Wise ’10, featured artist; Dawaun Parker ’05, co-producer

Song of the Year

  • “Just Give Me a Reason,” artist: Pink featuring Nate Ruess – Berklee nominees: Jeff Bhasker ’99, co-songwriter.

Best Pop Instrumental Album

  • Hacienda – artist: Jeff Lorber Fusion – Berklee nominees: Jeff Lorber ’71
  • Summer Horns, artist: Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, and Richard Elliot – Berklee nominees: Mindi Abair ’91

Best Rock Performance

  • “Radioactive,” artist: Imagine Dragons – Berklee nominees: Imagine Dragons members, guitarist Wayne Sermon ’08, drummer Daniel Platzman ’09, bassist Ben McKee ’09

Best Metal Performance

  • “The Enemy Inside,” artist: Dream Theater – Berklee nominees: Dream Theater members, guitarist John Petrucci ’86, John Myung ’86
  • “In Due Time,” artist: Killswitch Engage – Berklee nominees: Killswitch Engage member Adam Dutkiewicz ’99

Best R&B Performance

  • “Something,” artist: Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway – Berklee nominees: Lalah Hathaway ’94

Best R&B Song

  • “Love and War,” artist: Tamar Braxton – Berklee nominees: Makeba Riddick ’99, co-songwriter

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

  • “Stadium Jazz,” artist: Donny McCaslin – Berklee nominees: Donny McCaslin ’88, soloist

Best Jazz Vocal Album

  • After Blue, artist: Tierney Sutton – Berklee nominees: Tierney Sutton ’87

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

  • Guided Tour, artist: The New Gary Burton Quartet – Berklee nominees: The New Gary Burton Quartet members, vibraphonist Gary Burton ’62, guitarist Julian Lage ’08, and drummer Antonio Sanchez ’97
  • Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue, Terri Lyne Carrington – Berklee nominees: Terri Lyne Carrington ’83

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

  • Wild Beauty, artist: Brussels Jazz Orchestra feat. Joe Lovano – Berklee nominee: Joe Lovano ’72

Best Latin Pop Album

  • 12 Historias, artist: Tommy Torres – Berklee nominee: Tommy Torres ’94

Best Bluegrass Album

  • This World Oft Can Be, artist: Della Mae – Berklee nominee: Della Mae member Courtney Hartman ’12

Best Musical Theater Album

  • Kinky Boots, artist: Original Broadway Cast – Berklee nominee: Stephen Oremus ’92, co-producer

Best Instrumental Arrangement

  • Wild Beauty, artist: Brussels Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano – Berklee nominee: Gil Goldstein ’70, arranger

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

  • Swing Low, artist: Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding – Berklee nominee: Gil Goldstein ’70, arranger

Best Recording Package

  • Automatic Music Can Be Fun, artist: Geneseo – Berklee nominee: Mike Brown ’99, art director

Best Engineered Album, non-classical

  • …Like Clockwork, artist: Queens of the Stone Age – Berklee nominee: Gavin Lurssen ’91, mastering engineer

Jazz Appreciation Month: Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society Album Cover (Heads Up International, Concord Music Group)

From Portland Oregon, The City of Roses, as is the title of one of her songs, Esperanza Spalding was born in 1984 to a multicultural family.  Her heritage is African-American, Welsh, Hispanic and Native American.  She can also sing in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

She attributes her musical career to a moment when she was four years old watching classical cellist Yo Yo Ma perform on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  “That was when I realized that I wanted to do something musical,” she states in her official biography. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit.”

Within a year, she had taught herself violin and played in The Chamber Music Society of Oregon.  She was a part of the group until age 15, and during that time she discovered the bass and started playing other styles of music such as blues, funk, R&B, and hip-hop on the local scene in Portland.  Also at age 15 was when she graduated from high school and became a music student at Portland State University.

A year into Portland State she was encouraged by her music teachers to apply to Berklee College of Music and got in.  In addition to studying at Berklee, she also become one of the youngest instructors when she took a teaching position at age 20 in 2005.

In 2009, President Obama personally selected her to play at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, the year he won.

In 2011, she won the Grammy for Best New Artist, the first time a jazz musician had won that award, for her record Chamber Music Society.  Drummer and Berklee alumni, Terri Lyne Carrington, was also the record.

Prior to Chamber Music Society her first major release, Esperanza (2008), was at the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart and became the year’s best-selling album by a new jazz artists.  Her first record Junjo (2206) was released on a Spanish record label, Ayva Music.  She has won two more Grammy’s for her record Record Radio Music, in which she won Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).

Check out more of Esperanza Spalding’s music on our Jazz Appreciation Month playlist, and be sure to visit her website: esperanzaspalding.com