Berklee College of Music and the Origins of Jazz Education: Larry Monroe in Conversation with Ronan Guilfoyle

Wednesday, 13 February 2013, 1.00pm

Public interview with Larry Monroe, an iconic figure in jazz education and one of the founders of Berklee College of Music in Boston. Larry's insights and reflections on how Berklee evolved into the global institution it is today will be of keen interest to all with a role in bringing music to young people irrespective of genre. The format for this event is an interview conducted by Ronan Guilfoyle of Newpark Music Centre, followed by a complimentary light lunch and a very brief performance from Nikolas Anadolis, one of the young European artists convening in Dublin next week for the 12 Points Festival. NIkolas is the first ever Greek participant at 12 Points, and is among the elite group of young musicians globally to be awarded The Berklee Presidential Scholarship.

The interview starts at 1pm sharp. Please rsvp Ronan Guilfoyle at [email protected]

Larry Monroe is a very important figure in the development of jazz education. Larry was there when the idea of teaching jazz in a classroom went from being something that was either derided or treated with suspicion, into something that not only became a reality but went on to become a major force in music education all over the world. At the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Larry and a few others found ways to codify ideas and techniques that previously had only been exchanged on an informal basis and by word of mouth, and also developed methods by which these ideas and techniques could be taught and learned in a classroom format, and be recognised by Academic institutions. These methods and techniques have changed the face of music education worldwide and the methodology of teaching a previously oral music developed by Larry Monroe and his colleagues has had a profound impact on how music is taught and understood both in the classroom and in the wider musical world.

Ronan Guilfoyle, jazz bassist, composer and educator will talk to Larry about his career and how the system known as Jazz Education came about.

Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than half a century, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business, leading the way with the world’s first baccalaureate studies in jazz, rock, electric guitar, film scoring, songwriting, turntables, electronic production, and more than a dozen other genres and fields of study. Berklee serves distance learners worldwide through its award-winning online extension school, . The college’s national afterschool music program for underserved teens, the Berklee City Music Network, is in 30 cities and counting. A new campus in Spain, Berklee in Valencia, began hosting the college’s first graduate programs in the fall of 2012. With a diverse and talented student body representing more than 80 countries, and alumni that have collectively won more than 250 Grammys and Latin Grammys. Berklee in Boston is the biggest private music college in the world, with more than 4700 students.

Larry Monroe
Student, teacher, methodologist, dean, vice president, global ambassador— Larry Monroe has done it all during his 50 years at Berklee. Larry, who most recently served as vice president for Academic Affairs/Berklee Valencia, has worn many hats at Berklee, but first and foremost he is an alto saxophonist. He has performed with Lou Rawls, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Gary Burton, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. As an educator, he influenced Branford Marsalis, Miguel Zenon, Donald Harrison, Anat Cohen, Daniela Schachter, Donny McCaslin, and countless others.

A native of Randolph, Vermont, Monroe grew up listening to big bands with his father, and taking clarinet and saxophone lessons from professional musicians traveling through town. "All my friends had baseball cards, while I bemoaned the absence of jazz trading cards," says Monroe. His family couldn't afford higher education, so he enlisted into a military band to continue developing his musical craft. While stationed in Madrid he had his first important jazz experience sitting in with Don Byas, Tete Montoliu, and other leading expat and European musicians.

Discharged in 1962, Monroe enrolled at Berklee with support from the GI Bill. During his senior year, he began teaching at Berklee on weekends. Later, he would standardize the college's ear training curriculum, shifting from a classical approach to a song-based methodology. His ear training books became the college's official texts for the next 30 years. After serving as chair of the Performance and Ear Training departments, he became the first dean of Berklee’s Professional Performance Division, where he oversaw 10 departments as well as the college's concert activities.

Joining with former Berklee vice president and vibraphonist Gary Burton, Monroe established the Berklee on the Road program to present clinics and performances with Berklee faculty members in Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Argentina, Greece, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. In 1992 he was appointed vice president for international programs and began establishing the Berklee International Network of schools in 12 countries around the globe. After years of world travel, Monroe was named vice president for Academic Affairs/Berklee Valencia, organizing the curriculum for Berklee's first international campus in Valencia, Spain, which opened in 2012.


Published on 8 February 2013

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