Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Melissa Sack

Music Meets Medicine in Ghana

Apiwe image 1In January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXChange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by Apiwe Bubu, one of the trip’s participants. Read a post by fellow participant Ellie Foster.

By Apiwe Bubu

Suffice to say, January 8 in Kumasi, Ghana, was an incredible day. We awoke to chase yet more productive meetings and encounters with Ghanaian kin and professionals, and our first stop was our meeting with Dr. Thomas Poku. He is the personal doctor of the Ashanti king, and someone well versed in the medical and health world. Given that the king himself entrusts Dr. Poku with his health shows that this is a man with good credibility and ability. It was good to hear him vocalize his support for the MusicXChange initiative and introducing music therapy in Ghana. What I did find interesting was his job at the hospital where he explained how he at times used music to calm his patients and sometimes break some devastating news to them, such as diagnoses of HIV or AIDS.

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A Vision for Music Therapy in Ghana

Ellie Foster HeadshotIn January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXchange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by Ellie Foster, one of the trip’s participants. Read a post by fellow participant Apiwe Bubu.

By Ellie Foster

Among the many meetings we had in Kumasi, Ghana, on January 7, none was quite so preliminarily daunting–and ultimately fruitful–as our appointment with Dr. Baffour Awuah. Dr. Awuah, medical director of Komfo Anyoke Teaching Hospital, sits on the board of HopeXChange Medical Center and agreed to meet with us at the request of fellow board member Riccardo Masetti—noted oncologist and father of our trip’s leader, Federico. As we sat in his waiting room, I couldn’t help but feel nervous about pitching the concept of music therapy to him.

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Performing at the Super Bowl with Beyoncé

By Arnetta Johnson

Arnetta Johnson with Beyonce at the Super BowlPerforming at the Super Bowl with Beyoncé was amazing! When I got the gig I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. It was definitely a great moment to soak in. When I finally got to California I was excited to meet all of the people I would be working with. At rehearsal it was amazing to see everyone giving their all every time we did a run through. My professor/mentor Tia Fuller, who played with Beyoncé prior to Berklee, would always say give 100% all the time. After this experience I now get exactly what she meant. One thing I love is to see a group of people working hard in their craft. Currently one of my teachers from years ago, named Crystal Torres, is Beyoncé’s trumpeter. She is the one who recommended me for the gig. It is always great to have someone such as Crystal who is extremely supportive and has your best interest at heart. This is how greatness comes along.

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Studying Abroad at Berklee’s Campus in Valencia, Spain

By Grace Mann

A garden in Valencia, SpainThe opportunity to live in a foreign country doesn’t present itself too often. Musicians may tour, families may travel, but these experiences provide mere glimpses of a culture. Living in Valencia for an entire semester granted me the time to explore.

 

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Life, Light, Legacy, and Ledisi

By Dominique Jones

Singers perform at the annual MLK Jr. celebration

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a polarizing figure in the African-American community. He’s someone that everyone learns about, and an archetype that is often used to frame black intellect, religion, and politics. So, when I learned of all of the celebratory events around MLK Day at Berklee, I expected the same old routine. People would quote and make reference to his “I Have A Dream” speech, the March on Washington, his untimely death, and that’s it. My expectation was that it would be generic, and therefore, boring.

What happened instead was one of the most unapologetic celebrations of blackness that I have ever witnessed in an educational setting.

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