Berklee College Program Puts Students On Stage
April 11, 2016 at 12:25 PM (PT)
BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC's newly launched BERKLEE POPULAR MUSIC INSTITUTE (BPMI) is enabling students to go from the classroom to the stage, as performers or behind the scenes in every facet of artist development and touring. The cornerstone of the program is the opportunity for students to perform at some of the most popular summer music festivals – including ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL (EDC) NEW YORK, LOLLAPALOOZA, OSHEAGA and MADE IN AMERICA.
BPMI helps ensure this innovative approach to empower student learning and experience, with 18 students selected to participate for three semesters through an interview process from nearly 100 who applied. The class listens to hundreds of submissions and votes on finalists, based on live performances, recordings, videos, and social media presence, ultimately choosing six student artists to appear at the three music festivals. Each act works with a team of three BPMI students throughout the spring, preparing for the festival season, handling artist development, marketing, contracts, tour budgets, digital presence, merchandise, and sponsorships. They also record, master, and release an artist compilation through BPMI’s label HEAVY ROTATION RECORDS, and produce an artist showcase. This year’s even packed premier CAMBRIDGE venue THE SINCLAIR.
The artists will tour to and from their festival appearance – performing club shows that the BPMI students will book, road manage and promote with assistance from professional agents, concert promoters, social media experts, and publicists. While on tour, the artists will give clinics and workshops to underserved youth at sites in the BERKLEE CITY MUSIC NETWORK. The students will use GOPRO cameras to document the entire experience.
BPMI is the vision of music business/management professor JEFFREY DORENFELD, who developed a partnership with LOLLAPALOOZA in 2011 that includes a BERKLEE artist performing at the festival and scholarships to attend the college. DORENFELD tapped JEFF APRUZZESE, former member of PASSION PIT and a BERKLEE alumnus, to be BPMI’s media and operations manager.
Commented DORENFELD: “It’s daunting for young performers who have only played on a small stage to suddenly appear on a stage that’s five to eight-feet high and 40 to 60-feet wide. Every band has benefited from the experience. They step off the stage with more confidence, and the realization that this is something they can pursue.”
APRUZZESE oversaw student group CORDEALIA & THE BUFFALO’s appearance at the 2015 OSHEAGA FESTIVAL. “They were very inquisitive about how they could improve their show and asked for tips on tour managing their band. They made fan connections from that performance and really took advantage of the opportunity to network backstage.”
BPMI’s external advisory board is led by LIVE NATION GLOBAL TOURING COO GERRY BARAD. The board is collaborating with BERKLEE to design a curriculum reflecting the latest trends and practices in the music industry.