Berklee College of Music Admissions Spring 2022 Open House Berklee College of Music Admissions Spring 2022 Open House

How to Prepare for a Berklee Audition

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Ayn Inserto
Associate Professor, Jazz Composition

Career Highlights

  • Pianist, composer, and arranger

  • Leader of the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra

  • Member of the Jazz Composers' Alliance

  • Winner of a 2007 ASCAP/IAJE Commission

  • Performances with Bob Brookmeyer, George Garzone, Steve Lacy, Joe Lovano, and Frank Tiberi

  • Recordings include Clairvoyance by the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra featuring George Garzone and Bob Brookmeyer

  • Compositions have been performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, 1999 IAJE Convention, Reno Jazz Festival, Billy Higgins Jazz Festival, New England Conservatory, Berklee, Montreux Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival, and McGill University


Awards

  • 1999 Best Original Composition, Billy Higgins Jazz Festival

  • Winner of the 2003/04 and 2005/06 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award 


Education

  • M.M., New England Conservatory

  • B.A., California State University

  • A.A., Los Medanos College


In Their Own Words

"The thing that's hard about college is that a lot is crammed into such a small amount of time. So what I encourage students to do is make [harmony] a part of their everyday music lives—not just knowing the math behind it or being mechanical about it, but knowing how it applies. Can you listen to a piece of music and hear what we've been doing without having to write anything down? How does this tie in? This is not meant to torture or inhibit you, rather it's meant to help make you grow. Everybody, including myself, is still learning. The idea of learning music—particularly at a college—is to take something that's been established for hundreds and hundreds of years and figure out how you can incorporate that but make it your own."

"In Harmony 1 there's a lot of vocabulary that they're trying to comprehend to move on to the next level. Sometimes it seems like you're trying to learn the basic bricks, but where's the music in it? But you can't write a story without knowing how to spell words. Music is difficult because it's supposed to be fun and emotional, but how can that be if you can't remember what note goes on this chord? Once you internalize it, it becomes a part of you, and you don't have to worry about it. It's like being able to speak a language."

"I grew up with '80s pop. I started out with classical music, and I love that stuff, but take me to a Madonna concert! There's a lot of really great music out there that's not jazz or classical. I love to see what my students are listening to. While most of them are contemporary-minded students listening to the pop music of today, there's a reason why they're here. They understand uniqueness in music, things that sound cool and sound different. I love it when they show me music that I didn't know existed."

Daniel Morris
'98, Professor, Bass Department

Daniel "Mo" Morris is a professor in the Bass Department at Berklee College of Music, working with students since 1988. He is known for his muted tone, warm personality, and ability to work with all levels of students.

Morris gigs regularly with the band Calypso Hurricane, and was the bass player for the James Montgomery Blues Band and Jon Pousette-Dart Band. He has also performed with Bo Diddley, Robin Ford, James Cotton, and Paula Abdul. He is the author of Instant Bass and Essential Rock Grooves for Bass. He is an alumnus of Ithaca College and a Berklee graduate.

Career Highlights

  • Performances with Calypso Hurricane, Bo Diddley, Robben Ford, Jon Pousette-Dart, and James Cotton
  • Numerous Caribbean tours with the James Montgomery Blues Band
  • Jingles with Paula Abdul and Young MC
  • Author of Instant Bass and Essential Rock Grooves for Bass

Education

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music, Performance
  • Alumnus, Ithaca College

In Their Own Words

"I want students to come away from my classes with life skills, like the ability to read a situation and try to understand the natural flow of it. As a bass player, you need to be able to sense what the song needs on the bottom of the chord. The song might need a little push from the rhythm section to get it to the chorus or perhaps it may need to lay back and get minimalized in order to go back into the last verse. These are communicative skills that anyone could use in any facet of life."

"My mission is really to teach the students how to develop their individuality in terms of their rhythmic concept and their tonal concept, what notes to play and when. There's a consequence to every note you play. And even when you don't play, such as when there's a rest, there's a consequence, because when the bass comes in, it's going to be huge."

"The typical bass student at Berklee is very much a novice when it comes to understanding the role of the bassist in a group. Many of them have developed skills, flashy skills—what I like to refer to as 'music store chops.' These musicians sound great in a music store. They do some very fast playing, very exciting stuff that you can actually use at the end of a solo and the crowd will go nuts. But they're spending way too much time on that, and they're not spending enough time on the fundamental maxim of bass, which is: The bass player's role is to keep time and to address the tonality of the moment."

"There's a traditional gospel song that says, 'You have to build your house on a solid foundation.' A potential student has to be attracted to that role, and I don't think it's made for everyone. Usually, you'll find that bass players are caring people; they're somewhat gregarious, yet they're sensitive. The ego is in check more times than not."



Nicolle Horbath
‘22, Voice: Professional Music

Instrument: Voice
Major: Professional Music (Film Scoring, Contemporary Writing and Production)
Minors: Screen Scoring and Theory of Jazz and Popular Music 

Nicolle Horbath is a singer, songwriter, and arranger from Colombia who combines jazz, pop, and popular music from the Caribbean Coast of Colombia and Latin America. Horbath has performed in sold-out national and international concerts sharing the stage with Grammy-winning musicians such as Carlos Vives, Monsieur Periné, Emily Estefan, and Chucho Valdés.


In 2018, she was awarded the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation’s Prodigy Scholarship, sponsored by Carlos Vives. This scholarship covers her entire music career at Berklee College of Music, where she is currently a professional music major. 


Ayn Inserto and Daniel Morris, Berklee Faculty
Nicolle Horbath, ‘22, Voice: Professional Music