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Berkleemusiccom Debuts Orchestration Course

Boston, MA (March 12, 2008), the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, is now offering a course in Orchestration.

Pictured at Record Plant Studios in Hollywood is instructor Ben Newhouse. Photo by David Goggin.Boston, MA (March 12, 2008)–, the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, is now offering a course in Orchestration.

Author, Berklee professor, and composer/orchestrator Ben Newhouse designed and wrote the curriculum and will teach the online course in the Spring Term, beginning April 7.

“Having taught both at Berklee in Boston and online with my Digital Performer courses, I have found that certain subjects really lend themselves to an interactive Internet experience–orchestration is a perfect example,” Newhouse explains. “In this course, new students will be studying in a virtual classroom alongside established professionals from the music composition and production community. What better way to learn, exchange ideas and begin the networking that is so vital to a career in orchestration?”

Getting music placed on television and in films, in video games and animation, and other modern revenue outlets requires a detailed understanding of orchestral writing and production techniques. In this 12-week course, students learn traditional orchestration as well as emerging issues specific to today’s technology. The course begins by covering the technological considerations required to create modern day orchestral sounds: sample libraries, sequencing techniques, and different types of hardware systems.

“Working as an orchestrator can create a very healthy revenue stream as you build a career,” remarks Newhouse. “It can be a fulfilling career in itself as you work with established composers, but you also gain an understanding of how the composer must interface with the producers and directors. Students of this new course will learn how to write high-quality traditional orchestration as well as how to produce a distinctive full-blown orchestral demo in a home studio using the latest sampling and MIDI sequencing tools.”

Newhouse received a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music and his MBA in 2006 from USC’s Marshall School of Business. His music has been heard in over 1,500 television shows and feature films and he has worked for such media giants as ABC, FOX, MTV, and Disney. He has arranged movie themes, Sixties pop music, Broadway shows, and provided music for several music libraries, including Opus 1, Omnimusic and Spidercues. He is the author of the book Producing Music with Digital Performer. Orchestration students will learn the characteristics and idiomatic writing techniques for each orchestral instrument family: strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion, as well as approaches for writing for full orchestra. The course allows students to use the digital audio workstation program of their choice, including Digital Performer, Logic, Cubase, SONAR, or Pro Tools.

“There are features of this course that you will find nowhere else,” states Newhouse. “The Berklee online design team did a great job of creating animated diagrams and visual elements that combine in real time the notation with a graphical representation of the music and the audio–all simultaneously. This aspect alone is a tremendous leap forward in interactive music education and greatly accelerates the learning experience.

“I have put my heart and soul into this course,” he adds, “and I only wish that it was available when I was starting out. It draws on both traditional methods and cutting edge technology to create a unique learning environment.”

Ben Newhouse