This summer, I attended a three-day intensive course entitled “How To Make A Great Preschool Series.” It was offered by Emmy Award-Winning Josh Selig’s company, Little Airplane Productions in NYC.

It was an incredible experience and I learned so much! The presenters were a never-ending A-list of truly accomplished and dedicated professionals. During the three day program, I learned about pitching, writing, curriculum development, directing, music, legal, and production aspects of both live-action and animated preschool programs.

The overarching message I came away with was “through education, anything is possible!” The presenters were incredibly informative and encouraging, and they all offered to help the attendees beyond the conclusion of the academy.

Much like Berkleemusic students, the attendees were an eclectic mix of diverse professionals with a common passion and a desire to learn more. Whether it’s music, preschool program development, or any professional pursuit, I’m constantly reminded that continuing education and lifelong learning is key to a successful and rewarding career.

Thanks Josh Selig, Tone Thyne, Jeffrey Lesser, and Melinda Richards and all of the Little Airplane Academy staff and Instructors for an amazing experience and a reminder that anything is possible through education!

World Class!

Aug 23 2010
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What do Houston TX, South Africa, Mexico City, San Juan PR, Ontario Canada, Brooklyn NY, Nonthaburi Thailand, Portland OR, Stockholm Sweden, Hampshire UK, Salt Late City UT, and Nashville TN all have in common?

They are home to just a handful of the more than 150 Berkleemusic students who successfully completed their online certificate programs last term. Today, I had the great pleasure of signing their letters of completion. It is always exciting for me to see how Berkleemusic brings people, with a passion for music and a desire to learn more, together from all corners of the world.

Congratulations to our Certificate Program graduates!

Berkleemusic has so many incredibly talented, dedicated instructors including LA producer, Erik Hawkins. Recently, Erik was interviewed by Mix Magazine on his work with Berkleemusic. The following excerpt didn’t make it into the piece but is filled with some great information, so I thought I’d share it with the Berkleemusic community.

Erik Hawkins

What courses do you teach for Berkleemusic?
EH: Music production courses. For example, Pro Tools 110, Producing Music with Reason, and Remixing with Pro Tools and Reason. I’m the course author and instructor of Producing Music with Reason and Remixing with Pro Tools and Reason. 

What are some of the ways you approach designing an online curriculum?
EH: As an online course author, I strive to keep the class content both accessible and interesting to all levels of students. It’s exciting that in one class there can be students at a variety of skill levels all working on the same lesson. So, in order to accommodate these different skill levels and keep things challenging for everybody, I offer a variety of ways to learn the material. Students who are new to music production can jump in at the basic level with videos and interactive Flash workshops, while more advanced students can dive into discussion questions at more length and tackle the extra challenge portion of a weekly assignment. There’s something for every level and you can pick and choose the materials within a lesson that best suit your personal goals for the topics presented.

Can you give me an example of how the scope of an assignment might address different levels?

EH: In the courses that I’ve developed for Berkleemusic, I spend the first few weeks making sure that everybody understands the basics of the music software programs that we’ll be working with. This frees up the remaining weeks for getting creative, using the new production techniques introduced in each weekly lesson for actually producing music. For example, beginning in week eight of the Producing Music with Reason course, students start writing and producing their own song that I expect them to have completed, mixed and mastered, by the end of week twelve of the course. And, in my Remixing with Pro Tools and Reason course, students complete three remix sketches as a warm up for producing a full length remix beginning in week seven.

It’s an intense ride but there’s no better way to hone your music production chops than to apply the production techniques that I’m teaching in the lessons to actual projects. And, throughout this process students receive feedback from myself and their fellow classmates. It’s really an amazing learning environment.

How have you seen the Berkleemusic program evolve during your tenure there?

EH: From my perspective, the Berkleemusic team is continually pushing forward and never content to simply rest on their laurels. They’re constantly improving the online tools for teaching and reaching students, and they seem to be steadily rolling out exciting new courses. I myself have participated in much beta testing for new course material, Web site and chat tools. And, I am personally responsible for keeping my own course material fresh and up to date. So, yes, I think it’s safe to say that we are continually evolving to both improve upon the online college, to meet our student’s needs, and, in my case, to keep up with cutting edge music production techniques.

I know you’ve been teaching online for a few years. How has the way you teach online evolved since you started out?
EH: Much like the Berkleemusic development team, I’m continually refining how I teach online in an effort to improve upon my lessons and to offer students more quality material. For example, I realized very early on that everybody learns differently, so I’m always working on ways to deliver a lesson topic in a variety of forms. I’ll explain the same production technique in a detailed description, with screen shots, a video, a step-by-step exercise, and an interactive Flash quiz. I’m counting on one of these ways clicking with the student. And, if the student still has questions, I’m available for further explanation through private messaging, text chatting, and, more recently, video chats with screen sharing.

When you think about it, there’s really no end to what we can accomplish online as Internet technologies and access improves around the world. It’s pretty astounding. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
EH: I can’t even begin to tell you what a blast it is to work with aspiring music producers all over the world. In one class I might have a high school senior in Michigan, an attorney in Alaska, a recording studio manager in Japan, and a US serviceperson stationed in the Middle East. Everybody has come together online, at Berkleemusic, to learn and to collaborate on music. Consequently, the energy in our online courses is great, very positive and nurturing. It’s really wonderful to be a part of this and to help foster this sort of energy in my classes.

Finally, I’d be leaving an important piece of the puzzle out if I didn’t mention that I get to do all this from the comfort of my own home studio here in Los Angeles. I think that because I’m also a working composer and music producer here in LA that I’m able to offer a unique perspective on the business to my students who may be, geographically, very distant. I’m a happy camper composing and producing tracks here in LA and sharing my experiences and knowledge with my students online and I think that this positive energy comes through in my classes and online interactions. I don’t think there’s any substitute for this sort of genuine enthusiasm and real-world experience. A couple of other working pros here in LA that also teach for Berkleemusic include, composer Ben Newhouse, author of Orchestration 1 and 2, and producer/engineer David Franz, author of Producing with Pro Tools and Recording and Producing in the Home Studio.

Debbie & Friends on Fox TV’s “24″!

It’s hard to believe after posting about this licensing opportunity more than seven months ago, the Season Premiere of 24 will air this Sunday night, January 17 at 9:00pm EST. I’ve been told that two Debbie and Friends cartoon music videos will be playing on a TV that Sutherland and a young girl will be watching together.

This is just one example of what an exciting time it is for musicians to find licensing opportunities for their music. I am proud to say that I was able to put this opportunity together because of all that I have learned from our Berkleemusic instructors and their courses in music production and music business.

I hope this story will inspire more of our Berkleemusic students to monetize their song catalogs through licensing opportunities.

Please tune in this Sunday to see Debbie and Friends’ children’s music videos on 24!

I had the opportunity to talk about Berkleemusic on Fox Business News Live on Friday, Dec. 18. This will become part of a larger music business piece to be aired nationally soon. I’ll be sure to post the date when it becomes available.

Watch the latest video at

We just added a new Audio Mastering course to the Berkleemusic catalog, and it seems to be just what the world has been waiting for! Students are enrolling fast and furiously! The authors, Jonathan Wyner and Marc-Dieter Einstmann, are both world-class audio-mastering engineers, and we’re excited to have them join the Berkleemusic faculty.

This new course contains some amazing cutting-edge, interactive learning tools. I’d like to give you a sneak preview. The first lesson is all about “monitoring.” Students go through interactive ear training drills to learn to identify frequencies. They study loudspeakers, calibration, graphic EQs, sound wave properties, room treatments, and more. Along the way, students can take interactive, virtual tours of two first-rate mastering studios. The tours are embedded below for you to enjoy. (Be sure to navigate all the way into the control room on the first one… that’s where things get very interesting!)

I hope you enjoy this sneak preview into our new online Mastering Course. Click the images below to launch the tours.

Virtual Tour 1: M-WORKS Studio in Boston, MA USA

M-Works Tour

Virtual Tour 2: MASTERLAB Studios in Berlin, Germany

Masterlab Tour

“Get Schooled,” a five-year initiative funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is aimed at generating greater awareness and engagement in addressing the nation’s education crisis and offering practical resources and support to students.

The first episode of “Get Schooled” aired last night on MTV and featured Kelly Clarkson’s music producer, Jason Halbert, who is going “back to school” online with Berkleemusic. (see 7:48 of the following clip.)

Learn more about Jason’s story here.

“Get Schooled,” a five-year initiative funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is aimed at generating greater awareness and engagement in addressing the nation’s education crisis and offering practical resources and support to students.

The first episode of “Get Schooled” aired last night on MTV and featured Kelly Clarkson’s music producer, Jason Halbert, who is going “back to school” online with Berkleemusic. (see 7:48 of the following clip.)

Learn more about Jason’s story here.

I’m delighted to announce the new Berkleemusic online learning environment will be unveiled this Fall term. Our new learning platform has been tested in a number of courses over the past few semesters with great success. The feedback from students and faculty has been extremely positive, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the rest of our student body this Fall term.

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The new Berkleemusic learning environment makes its debut this Fall 2009 term.

The new learning environment will contain an enhanced feature set with many of the tools our students have been asking for, including:

- a real-time “Web Conferencing Tool” that allows for text, audio, and video-based meetings.

- the addition of “RSS” feeds.

- enhanced communication features including a student “Quick Nav.”

- a “Polling Tool” to help establish weekly chat times and to weigh in on course-related topics.

- a “Calendar Tool” to assist with planning and scheduling of both course-related and personal dates.

- a “Flash-based Recording Tool” to record and submit assignments, and for instructors to provide audio feedback.

- a brand new “Look and Feel” for the learning environment that has been designed and tested for readability and ease of use.

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Funk/R&B Guitar topic in the new Berkleemusic learning environment

All of us at Berkleemusic are incredibly excited about the new learning environment and look forward to sharing it with our students this Fall Term beginning September 28!

Pat Pattison is a world-renowned lyric writing instructor. In addition to being a Professor at Berklee College of Music, he presents songwriting clinics all around the world. Pat has taught thousands of aspiring songwriters and several of his students have won Grammys, including John Mayer and Gillian Welch.

Every time I have the good fortune to see Pat “in action” with a student and a song, I’m amazed by his ability to transform songs from good to great in a matter of minutes with very practical techniques. Here’s one example:

We are very fortunate at Berkleemusic to have three online Lyric Writing courses authored by Pat. I can tell you firsthand they are outstanding courses that will change the way you write and provide you with a powerful songwriting toolkit to use for years to come.

Classes start on Monday!