Are you curious to learn more about PULSE, its origins, and what makes it tick? Though you must have a login and password to use PULSE, we wanted to share with you a selection of our most frequently asked questions.

What does the word PULSE stand for?
PULSE is an acronym that stands for Pre-University Learning System Experience.

What is PULSE?
PULSE is very much like an online curriculum-based textbook  consisting of 10 units (Form, Rhythm, Harmony, Improvisation, Composition, Arranging, Production, Performance, and Practical) of three levels each in the virtual Study Room. The first four Units in the Study Room are based on music theory (harmony), Units five through nine are based on the application of music theory and the tenth Unit is based on practical skills. Other rooms (Jam, Listen, Practice) on the website provide a variety of resources and activities that complement the curriculum.

What is the PULSE mission?
The mission of the Berklee PULSE Music Method is to support guided teaching and learning of popular music through the innovative use of interactive online technologies.

What are the origins of PULSE? When/how did PULSE start?
PULSE was conceived in 2006 as a method to be used for teaching music to students in the Berklee City Music Network.  PULSE’s content is similar to the content that is taught at Berklee College of Music.

Do only musicians work at PULSE?
No. The PULSE team is made up of teachers, artists, designers, writers, photographers, videographers, producers, editors, athletes, as well as musicians.

What technology requirements will help ensure access to all of the resources/materials on the site?
A computer 6 years old or newer should be fine (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.00GHz or faster processor; 2GB of RAM) 64MB of VRAM (video-RAM); Sound support; Headphones; a microphone; 7 Mbps down (for downloading/streaming content/reviewing)/1.5 Mbps up (for uploading files/content) internet connection speed

Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows 7; Microsoft Windows Vista; Microsoft Windows XP;  Mac OS X v10.4 or higher.

Web Browsers
Firefox 3.0 or higher (preferred browser); Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher; Safari 3.0 or higher; Chrome 2.0 or higher; Opera 9.5 or higher
You can download:
Microsoft Internet Explorer:

Browser Plug-Ins
Adobe Flash Player 10.0 or above; JavaScript and Cookies must be enabled (enabled differently for each web browser). You can download the latest Flash Player here:

How do you choose the songs for PULSE Song Library?
Songs are chosen for a variety of reasons: their historical or cultural importance; they were performed by City Music groups in the past; they are representative of a particular genre; they teach a particular music concept in an obvious way; and they have been requested by people within the network (our Stevie Wonder tunes for example). We plan for the list to keep growing and add songs to each genre.  And, if you have any suggestions for songs to add to the PULSE library, particularly if they are useful to you in teaching the PULSE curriculum, please pass the suggestions along

Why do you re-record the songs?
Re-recording the songs gives the PULSE team access to individual tracks. We can provide illustrations of theoretical concepts with only the relevant parts: the bass and drums, for example. Or, just the background vocal parts. We can also use remixing to demonstrate how various instrumental combinations work with each other in an arrangement.

How do you handle the copyright and licensing on the songs?
Currently, we have approximately 70 songs that are in the licensing process. We negotiate with the major publishers as well as independent publishing companies to secure the print and sync rights for selected songs. The licenses allow PULSE to re-record the songs and our teachers to download and print the sheet music for ensemble performance. These tracks are then used throughout the site in exercises, interactive tools, lesson plans, videos and the Notation Mixer. The synchronization rights also allow us to use the music in our “About The Song” videos, which provide a cultural context to the songs we choose. Our contracts with the publishers only allow the use of these songs on the PULSE website behind a secure login and password. It is illegal to make copies of any of the music on the PULSE website.

What are synchronization rights?
“Sync” rights are necessary when the music you are licensing accompanies video. For example, PULSE features many “About the Song” videos: music, which includes video. The Notation Mixer is considered a visual element (the notation and mixer interface) accompanied by audio.

Want an inside peek at PULSE? Take the video tour!

There are more questions about PULSE to be answered so we will publish more FAQs at a later time. If you have a burning question about PULSE that you would like answered immediately, please send your inquiry to We will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner. Thank you for reading and for your interest in our program!