On Saturday morning, March 24, Debbie and Friends performed a show at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA (just outside of Boston). Our five-piece band performed songs and had a great time interacting with the kids and families in the audience; including many Berkleemusic families.

Many of you know Berkleemusic as the award-winning online school where you study with musicians from all around the world, learn from Berklee faculty, and connect with our advisors and customer service folks for support. You may not be aware that Berkleemusic is comprised of a staff of nearly 50 people, all of whom are passionate about music and the work we do to provide music education opportunities to musicians all over the world. And, most of the staff are musicians, too.

The show on Saturday included guest performances by two of my Berkleemusic colleagues: Milan Kovacev and Luke Stevens.

The following is a picture of Milan Kovacev—Berkleemusic’s Director of Interactive Marketing—joining us on bass. Milan is also the creative force behind Hipson Music and Clash of Civilizations.

Milan Kovacev with Debbie & Friends

Also joining Debbie and Friends that morning was Luke Stevens, our Web Software Developer. Luke plays a mean Ukelele (among other things) and has been known to lead office jam sessions from time to time when he’s not working on improving the online learning environment for our students.

Luke Stevens with Debbie and Friends

Berklee really is a great place to learn, teach and work. I’m happy to introduce you to some of the many folks who help to make it so.

Following up on the previous post… here is the “Wendell” cartoon by Debbie and Friends.

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!

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Marty Gold conducting.

My grandfather, Marty Gold is a pioneer in music and music technology and has always been a true inspiration to me. He is the reason I became a musician. As a child, I loved listening to him play piano. I was intrigued watching him write orchestral arrangements on a stack table by the pool, and I loved playing in family jam sessions with him over the years.

Conducting the family band.

Marty Gold has enjoyed a diverse career in music. He toured with the Korn Kobblers as an arranger/pianist in the 1940s. The 18-piece swing band was all the rage and their best-selling records played on 175 radio stations daily in their heyday. The Korn Kobblers had some of the very first music videos on record.

Marty Gold left life on the road and soon became an A&R man for RCA Records in NYC. He arranged and produced such artists as Sarah Vaughn, Peter Nero, Lena Horne, and Marian McPartland. He also led The Marty Gold Orchestra and arranged, conducted, and recorded dozens of records for RCA, Decca, and others. Some of those recordings were among the first to be in “Stereo.”

A few Marty Gold Orchestra records.

This became a theme for Marty Gold: always on the cutting edge of music technology. At the age of 70 he got a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. He learned to use Finale music notation software at the age of 80. And now, well into his 90s, he continues to use the tools of technology in music.

When he retired from RCA, Marty Gold wrote arrangements for school orchestra and band for Warner Bros. Publications, Alfred Publishing, Carl Fischer and others. Some of the highlights in my own career have been where our musical paths have crossed. In the early 1990s, I was a music education editor for Warner Bros. Publications and as we were developing a series of Song/Activity books for Shari Lewis I was able to bring my Grandfather in to write all of the piano arrangements. Shari was thrilled to work with Marty again (he produced her records many years prior). For me, it was so exciting to be working with my grandfather professionally. Now, 15 years later we’re still working on projects together and it continues to mean the world to me.

With Father’s Day approaching, I want to thank my Grandfather, Marty Gold, for being such an inspiration to me. I am thankful for the career I enjoy in music and am thankful he modeled such an inspiring life in music when I was a child.

Marty Gold and me in 2006.

Who inspired your decision to pursue a career in music? Please share your stories.


As they saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! The same is true for distance learning. It can take a lot of words to describe what a simple look “under the hood” will readily convey. Enter Berkleemusic Sample courses!

There are four sample courses currently available including Guitar Scales, Concert Touring, Music Theory 101, and Orchestration, and more coming soon.

To access Berkleemusic’s sample courses, click here.

I feel like the luckiest person in the world when performing a Debbie and Friends concert. Last weekend, my trio had the great honor to perform for 300+ kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends at the Needham Public Library in Needham, MA. It was an incredibly moving experience! Everyone was singing and clapping and making music together. Here is a link to some pictures from the day.

Music is important part of a child’s development, and sharing a musical experience provides a powerful bonding connection between parent and child.

I really do feel lucky to be able to share in those musical experiences with children and their families through Debbie and Friends!

Those of you involved in music for young children, please share your experiences here.

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Berklee Today, Berklee’s Alumni Magazine, just published a feature story by Julie Pampinella on Children’s Music.

Check it out here.

Berklee Today, Berklee’s Alumni Magazine, just published a feature story by Julie Pampinella on Children’s Music.

Check it out here.

Post Magazine’s article on continuing education opportunities for working professionals does a nice feature on Berkleemusic.

Just Six Songs

Aug 17 2008

The World in Six Songs by Daniel J. Levitin: Book Cover

Daniel Levitin, author of “This is Your Brain on Music” has a new book entitled “The World in Six Songs.” In it, he says there are just six types of song in all music throughout the ages, and they help tell a story of music and human evolution.

Those six types are:

– Friendship/Social bonding
– Joy
– Comfort
– Knowledge
– Religion
– Love

To hear more about his findings, including some interesting studies on the body’s chemical reaction to music, listen to this ON POINT interview on NPR online. In it, Daniel Levitin shares findings about music and the brain.