Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: thock

Hollywood Transplant: George S. Clinton Transitions to Berklee

This blog post was written by George S. Clinton, chair of Berklee’s Film Scoring Department.

Imagine if you will, that you’ve been sailing around the world in a small boat. It’s a worthy vessel that you have steered for years through many a stormy sea. Then imagine you are suddenly transported aboard a huge ocean liner and in charge of one of the many departments critical in keeping it afloat and on course. That’s sort of the way it feels coming from my solo career as a film composer in Los Angeles to being chair of the Film Scoring Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston. It is both an exciting and intense transition, and I’m loving it.

George S. Clinton

 

My wife and I are renting a place in Beacon Hill and have left our cars in LA. We are walking or taking the “T” almost everywhere. Public transit—what a concept! I see more people in the course of one day than I used to see in a month in L.A., simply because I’m not isolated in an automobile. We’re near the Boston Common and the Frog Pond has just opened to ice skaters. Add to that the glorious autumn foliage and people bundled up in hats and scarves. I start to feel like I’m walking through a Currier & Ives postcard. Our daughter just came up from New York to join us for Thanksgiving. I mean, Thanksgiving in New England, the home of Thanksgiving. I had to fight the urge to dress up like Miles Standish.

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Nate Morton ’94: A Week in the Life on The Voice

Drummer Nate Morton ’94 has been performing and touring with The Voice since its inception in April 2011. Morton also performs with Cher, and in the house band for the NBA talk show The Bonnie Hunt Show.  He’s performed with such artists as Gavin DeGraw, Carrie Underwood, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Mandy Moore, Michael Bolton, and Richard Marx. He is currently a Pearl-, Remo-, and Zildjian-sponsored drum clinician and holds many awards in the field of drumming. Morton penned this post about his weekly schedule for The Voice.

Nate Morton '94, center, with a group of aspiring Berklee students, who were invited to go backstage on The Voice

Hi friends. Thank you to everyone who drops me a line from time to time and says hello, or comments on The Voice. Occasionally someone asks, “So, besides The Voice, what else are you up to?” That’s when it dawns on me that the show is on TV two nights each week, but not everyone knows what happens each week to bring those shows to air. I thought I’d share a little “behind the scenes” insight.

This is a typical work week on the show:

Wednesday– The band comes in and spends a couple of hours learning the songs for the next show. That’s followed by a full day of shooting reality/rehearsals of those songs with the coaches and contestants. This is usually a 10-12 hour day.

Thursday – The band and contestants have their second rehearsal of their song for that week. . . this is also a day when the band might need to learn additional songs such as coach songs, or group numbers. Sometimes a contestant will change [his/her] song… in which case we have additional music to learn and have to reshoot rehearsal with [his/her] coach. This day should be short, but always manages to stretch into a 10-hour day.

Friday – Band goes to Ocean Studios and arranges and records full length versions of all that week’s songs for release on iTunes. This week, that meant 12 songs, complete with all instrumental overdubs and background vocals. This is almost always at least a 10-hour day… and longer for guys who have to do overdubs.

Saturday – On stage at Universal Studios sound stage, we rehearse all the songs for Monday’s show with the contestants for camera blocking and lighting. This is usually a 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. day.

Sunday – On stage at Universal Studios sound stage, we rehearsal all the songs for Tuesday’s show. That’s usually group numbers, or a coach’s song(s). This is usually a reasonable day… sometimes only eight hours

Monday – Full “performance show” dress rehearsal… then load the audience and go live at 5:00 p.m. … show taping ends at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday – Full “results show” dress rehearsal… then load the audience and go live at 5:00 p.m…. show taping ends at 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday – Start the entire cycle all over again. . . This is our weekly schedule if everything goes absolutely perfectly, and we all know how often that happens. Inevitably, songs change, coaches have other time commitments that have to be worked around… and when that happens, everything can go upside down… It’s not uncommon that we might have a full show day on Monday, then after the show, learn and camera block two new songs. We’ve even had days where we’ve had a full show day, then had to go into the studio that night to record three songs. . . The band includes: musical director Paul Mirkovich, Sasha Krivtsov on bass, Eric Daniels on keys, Dave Barry on guitar, Rafael Moriera on guitar and BGVs, Kara Britz, Stevie Mackey, and Denise Janae (Berklee alumna).

The gig is a bit of a whirlwind leaving just enough time to sleep & eat. Having said that, I am so stoked to be busy and fortunate to have the opportunity.

Check out how Nate Morton gave back to the Berklee community.

Saxophonist Dayna Stephens Shares His Passion

My name is Trevor Hock, I am a first-semester saxophonist from Los Angeles and I plan on entering the electronic production and design major.

Dayna Stephens, a graduate of both Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, is heavily regarded in the jazz world as a phenomenal player with an impeccable tone on the sax. He is also known for his amazing compositions and arrangements.  He was able to take time out of his busy schedule of recordings, live performances, and production to come put on a clinic for Berklee students. The clinic was part of The Checkout – Live at Berklee series, which features alumni performing for students and faculty.

 

Dayna Stephens was the featured guest at the most recent The Checkout – Live at Berklee.

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