To Pimp A Berklee

37863_409686911221_6329760_nJustin Poon is a sixth-semester guitar principal at Berklee studying performance, and electronic production and design. As a founding member of Affiliated Gallery, a creative design group based in Toronto, Justin is involved in film scoring and sound design. He is also involved in scoring visuals and producing and writing for singers and hip-hop artists wherever he can find them. You can catch his genre-free radio show, Innovation Forever on The BIRN on Wednesdays from 7-9PM. You also check out his fire soundcloud!

This spring semester I was fortunate to attend Larry Watson’s symposium “Kendrick Lamar: Coonery or Cutting Edge?” where he had faculty discuss many African American related issues as well as students talking about songs on Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly. Described by Kendrick as “honest, fearful and unapologetic”, the record captures the energy of the rapper’s sharp flows and poignant lyricism while making profound metaphors that make statements on race, stereotypes, and many other issues that plague the African-American community.

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While everybody who spoke had interesting perspectives and valid points, the impression that I got was that many of the students were missing the point, and explored the music on their own terms. I don’t think it’s wrong to do so but it is important to consider the source as well as its environment, which may not necessarily align its values with other types of music. Perhaps some students are more reluctant than others to speak freely on race issues, especially when there are a lot of people in the room that take these issues very seriously. In a school where networking is so valued, it’s almost understandable to see many aspiring musicians become overly conscious about their image and their words as to not squander their opportunities.

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Emily’s D+Evolution

yoshieYoshie Nakayama, from Tokyo, is a Contemporary Writing and Production major, finished her 5th semester in the Spring semester. She studies arranging, recording/mixing with ProTools, and singing in vocal ensemble. She graduated Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo with Bachelor of Music from Music Education major, Music Education minor, with a license of teaching music in japanese Junior high/senior high schools.

みなさんこんにちは。
ボストンはまだ長袖の日が多いです。日によってはセーターを着る人もいるほど。
春学期、卒業式が終わって、バークリー周辺は普段の活気が落ち着いていましたが、今日から夏学期のオリエンテーションが始まり、来週からは夏学期の授業が始まります。私は授業は取りませんがボストンに残る予定です。

学期中、特に期末試験が近づいてから試験が全て終わるまでのバークリー生のストレスはとても大きいです。期日や成績というプレッシャーの下で一度にいくつものクラスの勉強やプロジェクトを進めるだけでなく、楽器の実技試験の練習や他の学生のプロジェクトの手伝いをしたりと、とても忙しい日々を過ごすので、試験が終わった後の開放感と言ったら・・・笑

というわけで、私も最近は普段なかなか行けない場所へ色々と足を伸ばしています。
写真は、下左Fenway Park、下中Walden Pondのほとりにあった線路、下右Walden Pond、上左Charles River、上中Little Italy、上右North Shoreです。 Continue reading

The Power of Asking

AKA MY FATHER’S 75% CHANCE OF SUCCESS THEORY

by Shie Rozow ’97

Growing up I was very timid, especially when it came to girls. In junior high there was a girl I liked. A lot. There was a school dance coming up and I desperately wanted to ask her to go as my date, but just couldn’t muster the courage. I was too shy (no pun intended). Trying to help me, my father told me a story – a crude joke:

A man walks into a bar, sits next to a pretty woman and asks her if she wants to go to his place for some late night romance. She throws her drink in his face, slaps him across the cheek and storms off. The bartender says to the man “you must get a lot of drinks thrown in your face?” The man responds, “yes I do, but I also take a lot of women to my place.”

He explained his point was that if you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want. Thankfully that wasn’t the extend of his advice and my father then followed up with his 75% chance of success theory. It goes something like this: continue reading on Shie’s blog.

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