Dani Rabin ’07 discusses how to make a living touring with his band in this short Youtube video.
Berklee Alumni Spotlight: Maddie Madsen ’89
Written by: Shantell Ogden ’05
In 1989, Maddie Madsen graduated from Berklee College of Music with a major in music synthesis, keyboard programming and sound design. For Madsen, who grew up playing in bands, Berklee gave her the tools to create the sounds she had been using.
Madsen was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah as the oldest of six children. She knew she was a musician early on, and she convinced her non-musical parents to let her attend Berklee thousands of miles away.
“I had to work hard at Berklee, and it took a lot of determination,” said Madsen. “My major was so specialized that all of my friends from school ended up working in the field so it also was the beginning of a strong network.”
After graduating, Madsen moved to San Francisco to find a job.
“For the first six months I temped because of the computer skills I had gained with music synthesis,” said Madsen. “I taught classes in McDraw and McWord to new computer users.”
After temping, Madsen moved to Berke Sound, an audio post-production house in San Francisco.
“I worked there five years as a studio and office manager, booking the studio and estimating projects for film, commercial and voiceover clients,” she said. “At this time I was also playing in a progressive heavy metal band. We opened up for Dream Theater when they came to town and it was a blast.”
It was during her time at Berke Sound that she first started working with music libraries. Her next opportunity would be more related to her field of study.
“I got a job working at Sound Deluxe as a sound designer assisting a team of five sound designers; I was the only female on the team,” Madsen recalls. “Scott Gershin ran the company and he was a top sound designer. We worked with studios that wanted to turn their movies into video games like Braveheart, Pocohontas, Cliff Hanger and Outbreak.”
After working at Sound Deluxe for a year, Madsen was seeking a new challenge. She found it while headed to a weekend camping trip.
“I was going camping and I saw the offices for Associated Production Music (APM),” said Madsen. “I had sent a music license application to them so I decided to stop in and introduce myself in person. I met Cassie Lord, the national sales director at APM. She offered me a job as a music director.”
While at APM, Madsen was hired to produce and write for her first music library album. She also stared playing in a band again.
“In 1999, I left APM to start a film and TV division for Killer Tracks,” she said. “After a year and a half, Cassie and composer Lindsay Tomasic were given the opportunity to start 5 alarm music so I joined them to start the company.”
The early days at 5 alarm were a true test of Madsen’s jack-of-all-trades skillset.
“At 5 alarm, I was an editor, composer and producer,” she said. “Lindsay, Cassie and I did everything ourselves from writing descriptions, to listening to mixes and editing.”
5 alarm launched in June of 2002 and since then it has become one of the largest and most well-respected independent music production companies in the business.
Madsen admitted that her journey has been rewarding, even though it didn’t turn out exactly like she thought it would.
“When I was little I envisioned myself making a living as a composer,” she said.
“I thought I would be in a cabin in the woods near a big city where I could compose and then go into town to rustle up work.”
When asked what values have made her so successful in her music career, Madsen was quick to reply.“Integrity of the art, and integrity in business,” she said. “I know that music has a value and I fight for that. Creating is a gift and you have to stick to the foundations and principles of being an artist. You also have to work hard and learn it all. You don’t have to master it all, but you do have to learn it all.”
Berklee Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Scarlata ’97
Written by: Shantell Ogden ’05
For alumna Sarah Scarlata, Berklee College of Music was a jumping off point to a diverse musical career.
Scarlata grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts as the daughter of two music lovers.
“My parents bought a piano when I was five and I took two years of guitar when I was eight,” she said. “I had small hands which was limiting on those instruments, so when I was 10 I enrolled in drum lessons. It was a natural fit for me musically.” Continue reading
Berklee Alum Spotlight: Wendy Levy ‘78, Music Supervisor
Written by: Shantell Ogden ’05
Wendy Levy didn’t set out to be one of the top music supervisors in Los Angeles, but, as she puts it, “It was the career that found me.”
The love of music started for Levy at an early age, she studied classical piano and started playing guitar when she was just 10. Though she heard about Berklee College of Music at a young age, Levy attended Duke and The University of Pennsylvania to study music and play intercollegiate tennis when she graduated from high school.
When she later entered Berklee to study her passion of composition, she was blown away.
“It was the greatest musical community I had ever experienced,” said Levy. “From day one I was writing and it was such a cumulative education for me. Everything I learned made me a very well-rounded composer.” Continue reading
My name is Bill McGoldrick and I graduated from Berklee with a Degree in Music Education in 1978, a long time ago! I stayed in the Boston area and I have been gigging in Boston ever since. Right now I have my own thing going on, which is my Acoustic Duo, “The Bill McGoldrick Acoustic Duo”. I started this project in the summer of 2011 and since then I have booked more than 110 gigs, right through to December of 2012 at some of the best venues in the area. When I was asked to write this blog, I was told that many Berklee students consider staying in the Boston area, but they worry that there are not enough gigging opportunities. Well I am here to tell you, if you are good, if you play music people can relate to, if you are versatile, then yes you can gig and you can gig often.
I have pretty much done everything when it comes to music in the Boston area: rock bands, cover bands, some musical theater work, GB Gigs, oldies stuff working with Herb Reed and the Platters and now this new acoustic duo. The key for me has been being versatile. I often joke that I am “The Swiss Army Knife” of guitar players and that has worked out for me. Berklee had a lot to do with getting me to that level and I have always said that you can get what you get out of Berklee if you gig for 20 years, but Berklee will get you there much more quickly. Regardless, I have always prided myself on really being able to pull off almost any type of gig or any type of tune. So having the skills is the first requisite and then you have to get your name out there! Continue reading