Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Arielle (Page 2 of 11)

Nashville Berklee Jam with Dallas Davidson, February 18, 2013 – Part 1

Eric Normand ’89 runs the Berklee Nashville Jam. Here is a recap of the last jam he held in February. For the full post with photos and videos, visit

A cold, damp rainy night wasn’t enough to stop Berklee alumni and others from converging on one of Nashville’s coolest venues, The Rutledge in what would be the first Nashville Berklee Jam to be held in downtown Nashville. Monday, February 18 marked the one-year anniversary of this event which had previously been held in the suburb of Kingston Springs, and the move to downtown aims to kick the event’s profile up a notch as this centrally located venue is perhaps one of the finest performance rooms in the city.

People began rolling in around 6:30, and the guest speaker on this night, 2012 NSAI, ACM, and BMI songwriter of the year, Dallas Davidson began his portion of the night shortly after 7:00 PM. Dallas, Rhett Akins, and Ben Haslip, make up the songwriting team known as “The Peach Pickers”, who in recent years have become the most successful songwriting team in the history of Nashville. Since moving to Music City from Albany, GA in 2004 Dallas has had over 100 of his compositions recorded including 13 number one hits – “Gimme That Girl”, “Just a Kiss”, “The One That Got Away”, and “I Don’t Want This Night to End”, to name a few.

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LAB: Make Yourself Useful

Guest blogger Malachi Mott ’08 gives tips to young alumni trying to get their first big break: make yourself useful! To view the original post, click here.

In my five years of working at major labels and in world-class studios, one statement answers the question, “How do I get ahead?”. Through every job, project, interaction, and relationship, the words “make yourself useful” are used casually, but often. It’s pretty much how every first day goes. 

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How to Make a Living Touring with Your Band – Booking

Dani Rabin ’07 discusses how to make a living touring with his band in this short Youtube video.

Rabin and his band Marbin were recently featured in Berklee Today magazine. Click here to read about them and their career.



LAB: Making Music With Integrity

Berklee Alumni Spotlight: Maddie Madsen ’89
Written by: Shantell Ogden ’05

In 1989, Maddie Madsen graduated from Berklee College of Music with a major in music synthesis, keyboard programming and sound design. For Madsen, who grew up playing in bands, Berklee gave her the tools to create the sounds she had been using.

Maddie Madsen '89 at 5 alarm music headquarters in Pasadena, CA

Madsen was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah as the oldest of six children. She knew she was a musician early on, and she convinced her non-musical parents to let her attend Berklee thousands of miles away.

“I had to work hard at Berklee, and it took a lot of determination,” said Madsen. “My major was so specialized that all of my friends from school ended up working in the field so it also was the beginning of a strong network.”

After graduating, Madsen moved to San Francisco to find a job.

“For the first six months I temped because of the computer skills I had gained with music synthesis,” said Madsen. “I taught classes in McDraw and McWord to new computer users.”

After temping, Madsen moved to Berke Sound, an audio post-production house in San Francisco.

“I worked there five years as a studio and office manager, booking the studio and estimating projects for film, commercial and voiceover clients,” she said. “At this time I was also playing in a progressive heavy metal band. We opened up for Dream Theater when they came to town and it was a blast.”

It was during her time at Berke Sound that she first started working with music libraries. Her next opportunity would be more related to her field of study.

“I got a job working at Sound Deluxe as a sound designer assisting a team of five sound designers; I was the only female on the team,” Madsen recalls. “Scott Gershin ran the company and he was a top sound designer. We worked with studios that wanted to turn their movies into video games like Braveheart, Pocohontas, Cliff Hanger and Outbreak.”

After working at Sound Deluxe for a year, Madsen was seeking a new challenge. She found it while headed to a weekend camping trip.

“I was going camping and I saw the offices for Associated Production Music (APM),” said Madsen. “I had sent a music license application to them so I decided to stop in and introduce myself in person. I met Cassie Lord, the national sales director at APM. She offered me a job as a music director.”

While at APM, Madsen was hired to produce and write for her first music library album. She also stared playing in a band again.

“In 1999, I left APM to start a film and TV division for Killer Tracks,” she said. “After a year and a half, Cassie and composer Lindsay Tomasic were given the opportunity to start 5 alarm music so I joined them to start the company.”

The early days at 5 alarm were a true test of Madsen’s jack-of-all-trades skillset.

“At 5 alarm, I was an editor, composer and producer,” she said. “Lindsay, Cassie and I did everything ourselves from writing descriptions, to listening to mixes and editing.”

5 alarm launched in June of 2002 and since then it has become one of the largest and most well-respected independent music production companies in the business.

Madsen admitted that her journey has been rewarding, even though it didn’t turn out exactly like she thought it would.

“When I was little I envisioned myself making a living as a composer,” she said.
“I thought I would be in a cabin in the woods near a big city where I could compose and then go into town to rustle up work.”

When asked what values have made her so successful in her music career, Madsen was quick to reply.“Integrity of the art, and integrity in business,” she said. “I know that music has a value and I fight for that. Creating is a gift and you have to stick to the foundations and principles of being an artist. You also have to work hard and learn it all. You don’t have to master it all, but you do have to learn it all.”

LAB: Where Music Has Taken Me

Berklee Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Scarlata ’97
Written by: Shantell Ogden ’05

For alumna Sarah Scarlata, Berklee College of Music was a jumping off point to a diverse musical career.

Scarlata grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts as the daughter of two music lovers.

“My parents bought a piano when I was five and I took two years of guitar when I was eight,” she said. “I had small hands which was limiting on those instruments, so when I was 10 I enrolled in drum lessons. It was a natural fit for me musically.”

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