Author Archives: Justine

Playing on the High Seas: Part 3

Making The Most of Your Cruise Ship Contract

by Elena Bonomo ’14

Read Part 1 & Part 2

Elena BonomoMany people shy away from working as a musician on cruise ships because their previous expectations and experiences as a musician on land are different than those of which are expected of them on a ship. The notion of being away from home for months at a time, the thought of playing music that has been provided for you by a company, and the fact that you will be playing consistently every day can be intimidating and even mundane to some people. But there are ways to take these experiences and turn them into something that will be beneficial and rewarding for your musical career in the long term.

What I enjoyed the most about working on cruise ships was the fact that I had the opportunity to play a variety of styles of music every day. From jazz standards, to ballroom dance music, to Broadway-style show tunes, to pop classics, there are opportunities to play a variety of styles in just one night! For all us musicians who are hoping to make a career out of performing, it is extremely important to be as versatile as possible in your playing. The more styles of music you can play, the more job opportunities there are that you can take advantage of. Continue reading

Two-Five-One: Eric Kalver

ii-V-I

Name: Eric Kalver
Major(s): Contemporary Writing & Production and Drum Set Performance
Hometown: Cranston, RI
Current City: Los Angeles, CAEric Kalver

Why did you move to the city you’re living in now?

Two months before graduating, I was on spring break visiting Los Angeles with my dad. I had no set plans for what I would do after graduating but an old friend, while meeting up at In-N-Out Burger, convinced me that I should move to LA as soon as possible. As a pop arranger, drummer, and movie buff, I knew that he was right, plus, I was done dealing with snow. I visited LA one more time to make sure this was the right move and then drove 3000 miles with all my belongings from Rhode Island to Los Angeles. My best friend joined me and flew back once we arrived. We were so excited that our 5 day plan ended up turning into a 3.5 day plan. For those who are planning on driving, TAKE YOUR TIME! I had to rush because I had a job waiting, but I wish I had left earlier to explore more of the country.  Continue reading

5 Things I’ve Learned Pursuing a Creative Career

by Alexandre Cote ’14131112-600x399-creative_career_choices

On July 8th, 2014 I packed up the majority of my life, shoved it into a car, and began the cross-country trip to Los Angeles. I had no job lined up or opportunity awaiting me. My Dad and I spent a week driving through the US, stopping at Niagara Falls, Pikes Peak, the Grand Canyon, and a couple others along the way. If you’re moving somewhere, I highly recommend making it into a sightseeing adventure.

Five months later, I have a job; I’ve worked on some extremely cool projects, and met an amazing group of people who have been welcoming and supportive. Starting a new life and career is challenging anywhere, so here are some things I’ve learned that made it easier.

Continue reading

Playing on the High Seas: Part 2

Life On-board a Cruise Ship

by Elena Bonomo ’14

Read Part 1 here

Many of us have been on cruise ships as passengers, but we’ve never experienced what it’s like to actually work and live on the ship. For those of you who are thinking about working as a musician on a cruise ship, here is what you need to know about life on-board:

When you first arrive, you will be shown to your cabin. You will most likely be sharing a room with someone who is also in the Entertainment department (unless you are band leader, which often means you will have your own cabin). Now be prepared—your room will be small. It will most likely have bunk beds, a desk, 2 closets and a bathroom. But don’t let this alarm you, for you won’t be spending much time in your room anyway. Continue reading

How I Learned to Stop Worrying…

…and Love the Bass Guitar

by Eruch Kimball ’03Eruch Kimball

Stepping off stage after a monster set of modal jazz I notice the fans and how they flocked. The sax, keys, and drummer are usually the first to be approached. The singer just as often. I, the bass player, seem to be able to navigate the crowd completely anonymously, not a single person inquiring about my destination. It’s rare to gain great public acclaim as a bass player, that’s just not our role. The lead guitar player? Sure. The trumpet soloist? Absolutely. Bass? Ideally, you only notice it when it’s being played poorly. Otherwise it serves a function in music that is completely supportive. An odd mix of introvert and extrovert that personifies support in the best of ways. I believe that the core elements of music and the instruments that play them have something in common in their organizational and social cultures in relation to other instruments. Said plainly, the musician’s personality can and often does echo their instrument’s emotional role in music.

The role of the bass as a function of music is to support the melody, harmony, and rhythm of a piece. Any instrument performing the “bass role” has a musical duty to both lead and follow the other musical elements to keep them all in concert. The bass has implied harmony and obvious rhythm to its part and it is usually thought of as the second melody. This is a great musical example of the potential dynamics of an individual’s role in a team.

In the first few years of my bass playing I wanted to play fast and use complicated techniques to be really impressive on my instrument. During college I noticed that every other young bass player was trying to do the same thing as me and none of us were getting any gigs! The guys who were getting gigs were simple, solid as a rock, supportive players. They were members of their teams and naturally assumed a type of leadership role that exists somewhere between being fully in charge and just being a silent partner for approval. Thinking about your role in whatever team you’re in, how are you supporting that relationship and how do you keep everyone on track in whatever project you’re working on?

The bass player in a band does a couple of key things that have become stereotypes over the years. They keep the drummer on track. This means the bassist has to agree with the drummer about the tempo and feel of a song and then work to maintain those musical elements. By providing the bass line, the bassist gives the whole band the core harmonic information. The key of the song and the chord progression. This helps the singer identify their pitch and keep soloists on track by giving them a reference to the form of the song.

At the end of the night, after I’ve packed up my bass and I’m ready to head home. I’m happy that I get to continue my role as a supporting musician. I never really wanted to be the stand-out, I’d rather just help everyone be the best they can be. It’s a great way to be in charge without needing credit for it. It’s that great mix between introvert and extrovert and I’ve come to develop respect for the supporting roles over time. I learned to stop worrying. I learned to love the bass guitar. I learned to love being a part of a team. And I’d love to talk to you after my set, but if you don’t want to, that’s fine too.


Eruch Kimball ’03 is an electric bassist, composer, arranger, audio engineer and marketing professional.  Originally a Professional Music major in performance and songwriting, he completed Master Certificates in Film Scoring and Music Business through Berklee Online and is currently competing an MBA in Marketing.  Over his 16 years of music industry experience he has performed and engineered over 3000 concerts for over 2 million people across the U.S. and East Asia.  A military veteran, he served six years of active duty service with the U.S. Army Band.  He owns and operates SynchroMuse LLC, an audio branding and music services company based out of Los Angeles.  He loves to blog about life and food and is developing an online community where these two passions of his intersect called Urban Bento.  You can follow him, his music, and his writing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@urbanbento, @synchromuse)


 

Interested in inspiring your fellow alumni? Want to share your story? Email alumniaffairs@berklee.edu to find out how you can become a writer for Berklee Blogs.