Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Erin Genett (Page 1 of 2)

New and Improved Search Tools On PULSE

Over the past year, we’ve released a ton of great new content on PULSE! The list includes launching four brand new units, adding new materials to the existing units, and even the redesign of certain sections of the site. We’ve also posted new videos, interactive tools and games, and great new tunes to learn. In addition to the new content and redesigns, we recently revamped the Index and created a new resource for teachers. These search tools were developed to help our users find exactly what they’re looking for.















To start, we upgraded the PULSE Index with new features and a sharp new interface. You can now search for terms and filter the results by media type, room, or categories. It is easier than ever to find materials to support the topic you are teaching or songs to build connections to the classroom.















Next, we decided to create a tool to help teachers refine their content search. There are so many wonderful topics and materials that it is sometimes hard to know where to start. This is where our new “Teacher Quickstart” can help.

Teachers are asked a series of quick questions about their classroom, such as if a computer is present or if students have access to computers. Then they choose the topic of the day’s lesson. The final result is a list of suggested activities that they can use right away.

This is perfect tool for a number of different scenarios. For instance, the Quickstart is great for teachers who are new to PULSE navigation, for teachers who want to make a quick change to their lesson plans, or for teachers as a tool to discover new materials on the PULSE site. Currently, there are activities for the Production, Arranging, and Improvisation Units.










We’re hoping that these tools inspire and kick-start your classrooms! We are always amazed at the creative approaches to music education exemplified by the brilliant teachers that use PULSE.

Give these tools a spin, and let us know what you think!

Berklee @ SXSW interactive

Every year thousands of musicians, industry folk & fans roll into Austin for SXSW music – including a bunch of us from Berklee. Before the music portion starts, thousands of nerds roll in first for SXSW interactive & film.

Of course I mean nerds in the most awesome sense – designers, programmers, educators, social media gurus, and general Internet enthusiasts – and as Berklee PULSE’s Senior UI Designer, I certainly fit the bill.

You might wonder why Berklee would be at interactive at all, as a college of music? That’s just it – first and foremost we’re a school. The way we think about education has shifted drastically with the advancements of technology – gaming, social media, online courses & the availability of information through the web.

As a group of musicians, teachers, multimedia producers, designers, programmers and writers working on an online music curriculum, the PULSE team embraces the idea that learning should be an interactive experience. PULSE isn’t an online course, but rather what we think the textbook of the future should be: full of games, storytelling, multimedia & fun!

Picked up my SXSWi badge!

I arrived in Austin last friday, excited to learn about the latest and greatest in interactivity, discuss games and web interfaces, and hopefully meet some great people. My expectations were blown out of the water!

One of the biggest themes of SXSWi was how games are revolutionizing education! In fact, the Seth Priebatsch keynote on the first day dove right into that topic! I attended panels on casual educational games, game design as an educational gateway, designing stuff for kids, the future of education and game usability design (to name a few.)

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Send us your Tunes!

If you’ve seen Take 5, Rising Star, and other PULSE videos, then you already know what a large role music plays in the production of the PULSE videos.  As you can imagine, we listen to and create a lot of music in search of just the right tone for the project at hand.

Now, we are opening our doors and giving you all the opportunity to have your music featured in various upcoming PULSE projects!

You will gain an opportunity to expose your work to the public, and City Music and Berklee communities while giving back to today’s youth.

We are looking for various styles of music that we may choose from.  When the need arises for a certain tone, your track may be exactly what we are looking for.

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PULSE Practical Skills Video Shoot


A quick photograph; a brief summary or profile; one day of production madness with the PULSE video team and tons of talented musicians.

If you stopped by the set at The Loft on July 27th, then you know we held nothing back for this shoot for PULSE’s Practical Skills unit. A professional photographer. Three cameras. Even our very own PULSE DJ!

Our goal was to get footage for our upcoming unit that will focus on three types of stories:  Building Your Team (mentoring, partnerships); Dreams & Goals; and Presenting Yourself. With more than 24 hours of footage and a whopping 40 members of our cast, you could say we outdid ourselves!

And our talent definitely brought their A-game. From Berklee student Adam Newall tearing off his shirt to show his body art, to 12-Week student Vaughnette Bigford stunning the crew with her stage attire, to father-and-daughter Berklee team Marian and Phil Wilson getting us all teary eyed with their performance of God Bless the Child. It was a day of awesome and truly inspiring tales.

Get your very own snapshot of the day by checking out the amazing photographs by Angela Harrer on Flickr.

And stay tuned for the exciting release of the videos this fall!

Planning the PULSE Training Institute (isn’t easy)

For the past 3 years summers, we’ve held a training event for City Music Network teachers & administrators about how to  teach using the PULSE Music Method. This event started out pretty small and a little chaotic, but nevertheless was a great learning experience for everyone, especially our team. Since then, the website, our team, the Network and this event have all grown exponentially!

This year’s PULSE Training Institute (or PTI) will be held from July 19th to the 23rd, which is also the 2nd week of the Berklee 5-Week Program. The timing is more than a coincidence- we’d really like the teachers to be able to observe a few of the ensembles in their earlier developmental stages.

We’ve been planning this event for months now, trying to brainstorm, consolidate, revise, and organize the sessions. Folks planning an event can empathize with the tangibles of this process: the many documents, spreadsheets, and e-mails, all of which became a little overwhelming.

We brought some post-it notes & markers to our latest planning meeting so we move things around and make sense of it all.

We even color coded the various events for these categories: (1) Teaching with PULSE, (2) Professional Development, (3) Network Panels, and everyone’s favorite (4) Free time!

Although we’ve covered a lot of ground already, we have a long way to go. With all of our hard work and so many of our new Network members in attendance, this year is sure to be a great event, and as always, an incredible learning experience for everyone!

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