Metro Schools and Berklee College of Music announce partnership to boost music education

Mariachi_2015 Metro Schools is partnering with Berklee College of Music to enhance music education with a comprehensive online resource. Starting in January 2016, middle and high school students and all music teachers in Metro Nashville will gain access to the Berklee PULSE® Music Method, an innovative contemporary music education platform that teaches popular styles through a collection of interactive lessons, games, music production tools, videos, and other resources.

The partnership was forged last summer at Modern Band Rockfest, a national conference hosted by Little Kids Rock and focused on advancing contemporary music in the U.S. public school system. In recent weeks, Berklee created PULSE accounts for 217 teachers in Nashville. Ongoing training will be led by a local educator in the district, in coordination with the Berklee PULSE team.

PULSE is a key component of Nashville’s Music Makes Us initiative, which aims to strengthen music education through a contemporary curriculum that embraces new technologies and a more diverse musical landscape.

“Berklee PULSE helps us reach our goals of music access and participation for all Metro Schools students”, says Laurie Schell, director of Music Makes Us. “In a diverse, urban school district, we understand how important it is for our students to be connected to learning. Berklee PULSE is a compelling enhancement to our existing resources.”

Recent studies in Metro Schools and nationally report learning and playing music helps students develop personally and academically, increase language skills, promote higher self-esteem and sharper concentration and memory.  

Berklee’s presence in Nashville spans several decades. Over the past 30 years, more than 3,000 Berklee students have spent their spring break in Music City gaining insights from songwriters, producers, and music business professionals. Notable Berklee alumni based in Nashville include Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Charlie Worsham, and Sierra Hull.

The Berklee PULSE platform is organized into four virtual rooms, each representing an important component of the program:

  • The Study Room teaches music theory through a series of interactive games, books, videos, and quizzes.
  • The Jam Room spotlights ensemble playing, allowing students to load songs into a multi-track mixer, access notation for any instrument played in the song, and create custom practice loops.
  • The Practice Room is devoted to private lessons, offering a variety of instrument-specific practice tools and instructional videos from Berklee faculty.
  • The Listen Room supports a massive media library with video workshops and performances from Berklee visiting artists.

For teachers, PULSE offers a deep curriculum of instructional resources, teaching aids that help incorporate these materials into lesson plans, downloadable sheet music, and a forum that facilitates collaboration with other PULSE educators.

Learn more about the Berklee PULSE Music Method platform in this video.