Béla Fleck at Berklee

Bela Fleck chats with Matt Glaser during his recent visit to speak to students at the Berklee College of Music - photo by Phil FarnsworthBéla Fleck made another of his periodic visits to The Berklee College Of Music in Boston last week, a visit chronicled on the school’s web site.

He was in Boston as a part of the publicity tour for his documentary film, Throw Down Your Heart, a date which coincided nicely with the official kickoff of Berklee’s new American Roots Music Program. B?©la, along with program director Matt Glaser, spoke with a group of students at the school.

From the Berklee report by Danielle Dreilinger:

Fleck started off by giving them practical advice. “There’s a lot more to being a good musician than sitting in a room by yourself,” he said. Even practicing should be tuneful, he said: “Play scales in a musical way.”

He soon segued to bigger questions, urging players to follow their instincts. He cited his old friend Andy Statman, who turned from bluegrass mandolin to klezmer clarinet.

“When you hear something that really turns you on, that’s a cue,” Fleck said. “It’s probably something you’ll be good at. Because usually your inner voice is right.”

Fleck’s inner voice has led him to bluegrass, progressive fusion, jazz, classical and, now, African genres.

“I’m a bit of a dabbler,” he said. Because few forms of music use the banjo, he said, “I feel there are some opportunities I have to do some things that haven’t been done.”

You can read the full reoprt at berklee.edu.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.