Thursday, January 13, 2011

Berklee Distinguished Faculy Award

I am thankful to recieve the Berklee Distinguished Faculy Award along with colleagues JoAnne Brackeen, Greg Hopkins and Ross Bresler. This is a transcript of the the words that I shared on that occasion.

I am honored to receive this award. I would like to thank my colleagues in the MT Division and the EPD department for their support and inspiration. I would also like to thank my Chair, Kurt Biederwolf for his help every step of the way.
The degree to which I am effective as a faculty member is partially a result of the teachers that I had.
I studied saxophone Joe Allard for three years. Joe was sought out by Bill Pierce, Eric Dolphy, Michael Brecker and many more. Everything that Joe said was extremely insightful, remarkably clear. He was very tough without making it feel personal. Now, thirty years later, I still think about what he said every time I pick up the horn.

Later, I studied with composition Bob Brookmeyer for two years. Same deal. The critiques and ideas that he presented were always concrete, often tough, and assumed that you aimed to write at the highest level. Now, despite ten years of daily use, I have not worn out the advice that he shared with me.

I also learn from colleagues here at the college. Not long ago, I watched visiting artist, producer and engineer Nathaniel Kunkle, lecture to one of my classes. He was as insightful, clear and frank as Allard and Brookmeyer. The students sat up straight in their chairs for the duration and barely seemed to blink. Afterwards, I watched students as they left the classroom and I recognized that look on their face. One student said thee words to me as he passed ... "I got it." I knew that this one brief encounter might have changed his life - the puzzle about how to move forward was put together.

These teachers helped change my life. There is nothing more exciting to me than to help our students advance their work as artists, technologists and thinkers. Our connection might be long term, or simply one brief conversation. Either way it might be the tipping point where they grasp the compass that they will use for years to come.

I am grateful to the college and for giving me the opportunity to do this work for our students and grateful to my colleagues for their support and for teaching me.

Thank you.

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