Post authored by Erin Gernon, marketing assistant for Summer Programs.
A few of us are lucky enough to find a place that clicks, and for Nancy Morris, Berklee College of Music seems to be that place.
A talented singer, songwriter, and pianist, Morris has been a Berklee faculty member for 14 years in the Ensemble Department. She returned to Berklee after attending as an undergraduate in the late 1970’s. She currently teaches Songwriting, in addition to ensemble courses.
“If I was going to teach somewhere, I can’t imagine teaching anywhere else,” she said.
Morris has also participated in several of Berklee’s summer programs, initially the Five-Week Performance Program.
“It’s very fast-paced,” she explained of the Five-Week. “I used to say that you dive in headfirst, and then you don’t come up for air until it’s over. It’s that intense.”
One of her favorite parts of the Five-Week, in addition to teaching musicianship classes, was the performance at the end of program.
“They have to perform a song in solfege. So you’ve got people singing parts, and people singing solfege syllables,” she said. “That was a blast. I always loved it.”
With the start of a new program in 2006, Morris began teaching at the Stage Performance Workshop, which takes place from June 28-June 30 of this year. She has been with the workshop since its inception, where she continues to teach.
Morris said that students learn a variety of valuable lessons about being a musician from the program. “We talk about auditioning and performance and song choice. You know, a lot of aspects of the business and who we are as artists.”
In addition to musicianship courses, there is voice coaching and a performance workshop with Livingston Taylor. Another important characteristic of the Stage Performance Program is the opportunity to observe, engage with, and perform with peers.
“One of the things we ask them to do is ‘somebody show me what you got,’” Morris described. “‘Get up and sing something for us, a cappella.’ And it amazes me how willing they are to just get up and put it on the line. They are willing to take critique and try things. They are very open to what’s being offered, and I love that.”
The inclination to showcase your talent and perform is a trait that Morris says is important for students attending the Stage Performance Workshop, as well as a good audition song.
“I think you just need to come with an open mind and an open heart and be ready to take in whatever’s thrown out at you,” Morris advises. “It’s a lot of information, and a lot of things to digest that you can’t possibly digest in the three days that [you’re] here.”
Although the Stage Performance Workshop is only three days, Morris hopes that students will gain valuable knowledge about music and themselves, while experiencing the exhilaration of studying at Berklee.
“The enthusiasm of the students is so refreshing. You know they’re so excited; they only have three days to be here,” she said. “It’s so intense and they’re so excited.”
For more information about the Stage Performance Workshop, please visit the Summer Programs website.