Formal Music Training

| November 30, 2010


Claudio has a background in formal music education. He attended Berklee College of Music and now plays percussion in a jazz band. In his interview he explains that he learned the most he ever learned about music while he was in school. He also focuses on how he continues to develop as a musician while in a band.

Teaching with the Video

During his interview, Claudio describes his interest in the process of learning. It is exciting for him to start something he never tried before, and be able to look back–after a year of practice and effort–and see what he accomplished. As an educator, we might wonder: How can we inspire this feeling in students? Instead of seeing what we don’t know as intimidating, how can we see it as an inspiration? Also, Claudio discusses how learners from different countries are taught music in different ways. What are examples of this? How can students be brought to see that there are many forms that education can take, and that we can learn from the learning experiences of others?

Extended Interview

When did you decide to focus solely on your music career?

I went to college, where I was interested in computer science. But also in music. So I tried to do both but I quickly realized I wanted to pursue music full time. And that is when things got really serious. I dove into the whole college music curriculum, where you studied classical music, ear training, composition. And I found it really gratifying to gain all this knowledge of music that I didn’t have before. I was so interested in it that I transferred to Berkley College of Music. And that’s when I went through the whole Berklee curriculum. It was very intense. Very systematic approach. We covered all the areas of music. From writing, playing improvisation, to music history and conducting. And that was really where I focused in Jazz, improvised music. Those years I learned the most of my entire life. It was so rich and dense. A lot of different people from different countries, origins, they learned to play music in a totally different way than I did. And that really inspired me and fed the fire.

What was the environment like at Berklee? How did it facilitate your learning?

Berklee was a place where you play a lot of music, from the classroom setting to outside. And also, you have a lot of time to practice on your own. So mostly through playing with other people, they have jam rooms, band rooms, that you can check out and you can just get together with people and play music. That is where you learn the most because you are interacting with all these people from different places and that grew up maybe playing music by ear. Or some of them grew up playing classical music and they cant improvise, for example. So you gain a new perspective when you understand their process of playing and learning and then you get together at your house and you just hang out and just listen to music. And listen to everything they listened to growing up. This kind of exchange that really enriches your education. And that’s what I really gain from Berkley. All these different perspectives.

Do you think your love of music has anything to do with your interest in math and computer science?

People say math and music are similar in the way you think. So I think that was where I was going, I was a math major at some point. There are some similarities in the theory aspects of it. But I thought computer science and math were too dry. The people you work with there, aren’t even as close to being creative as most musicians. That’s why I left that. There is the same kind of approach. Especially when it comes to writing music. It’s very cerebral in some ways. A lot of the classes you take, the theory classes, composition classes are very by the book. You have to learn the language. And that process is very similar to a math class.