FB: How does this work into your classroom?- How do yo convey this kind of rebirth -your sensibilities to your students?- MB: You know, I ah...I don't have...I do have within the classes I have designed the environment to touch bases on this. - Mostly I am a music teacher here, -my personality and whatever comes out of my mouth of course includes who I am, and of course, they get the idea, and once in a while, we touch bases on a few things but, as a teacher I like to convey education.- I like to be my father- "Intoation!"-"Rhythm!"-"Melody!"-"Harmony!"- "Come on!"- FB: Get the basic stuff. MB: Yes -So I am strict in that sense...and not strict hard.. strict as I try to convey that these are the things we need now. - We cannot be thinkin to be stars or do anything else if we don't have this stuff. - I find a lot of singers out of tune. - So I find myself ..."Why do we need to be in tune?" - This is essential, this is Harmony, you cannot be out of tune you know?! - So in any case I try to convey all my global experience of..."Let's have good chops!"- "Let's learn to control the voice of this universal musical element." - Not in a classical way.. but in a healthy, productive, foundation...Let's have confidence in ourselves, because we know how to produce a quality sound. Then you can manipulate it and give it whatever you want. - I'm much better at giving my students that type of tool, than a sylistic first, and then I have classes that I have designed over the years that are geared twoards for instance...the advanced vocal improvisation class, that I created after Berklee, I went to study with Jerry Burgosi privately for like three years, he is a mentor for so many of us, he treated me an instrumentlist- Oh my god, I learned all the horn paterns and...deeper into the harmony and like that..so I created this course with the intention of conveying in once semester- all of these elements to...it's a jazz course...and it's a required course for the voice department, for performance majors.- It has been enormously gratifying for me because sometimes I get students from Europe who are incredibly informed already and challenge me with the transciptions we do. We do solos, we write solos, we do horn patterns, we improvise every class. -In a scientific way, -so it is my take on the people that are improvising already a lot ... by ear.. and well.. .to say "Okay ...let's go mental now.-Literally mental." FB: Give me some examples...For vocalists and horn players. MB: Ah ..Vocalists mostly, no no no.. We transcibe Miles, and Chet Baker, and Clifford Brown.. and FB: Okay.. MB: What I am trying to do is to compensate the singer's mentality -which is natural to us to have memory ears and that kind of chops.- Then we sort of get unbalanced in terms of really knowing what we are doing.- So we do alot of ...It's a Harmony jazz course. - It is actually a sebatical project that I have now, is to make a manual of that class that I have been teaching for probably twenty years- for others to take on later, -to take my take, if one day, when I retire, there will be something there.- I love it that it is a jazz course.- Anyway I have also designed a seminar on latin American music. - When so many years ago, when so many of us here yet where I feel the need for my own identity to come, where I felt the need for my students to know more about latin america. -And this was fifteen years ago. It was very differnt, and it is an informative geographic history, what happened during conquest. What kind of Africans came to each country. - How the music in columbia, - how the black fused with the columbians and the natives and so we got two different not alike ...completely deep..but deep enough - and it is not about chops, its not really about learning FB:Social history, Musicology. MB: Social Musical History... we listen to the greatest singers. - The older singers of all the countries, and compare notes, and the meaning of the lyrics. We transcribe a song or two but just as an exercise of putting it all together music message, where the music comes from, and the power of the music. - Because if you know more - Like if I know where jazz comes from..originally, I'm gonna put that into the context, into the meaning of my new songs. - If I know where Samba comes from in brazil, and this was.. the original was.. the slaves that would flee the plantations, would escape into the mountains and then they start dancing this fertility dance, called zemba, -then became Samba.- So, I find that all the great musics that has endured Jazz, the Blues, the Groove, comes from a survivalistic type of moment. All the human need to create something -to make meaning. FB: Maybe we can make some field trips to Havanah again sometimes soon. MB: But you know what I'm sayin .. In that sense I'm very religious about where music comes from nd in that class I have a chance to figure out where the music comes from.- and in that class I have a chance to talk about those things -the power of the music.- and students love it.- It's a very tiny class because it's two credits because people don't have sometimes the time or the credits... and the last course I designed is more pro-active, and it's a Latin and Jazz performance. The Voice department provides me with a fantastic Rhythm section and there are eight students and we explore musics from all Latin America...students..I provide, but I suggest, and I have found that when put in the right spot, students transcribe and they learn to build the charts perfectly, because we have a professional rhythm section the intercaction I try to create is completely a workable thing. They learn to write good charts and good rhythms and to speak the language. Learn new music, learn new rhythms, and I get a recital every semester, and get people from Isreal speaking in Spanish. People from Japan singing in Portugese and three or four of them doing background. -It's just the most fun thing in life. FB: So the ..of the three classes probably gives you a chance to balance the tradition with the innovation. MB: Exactly, and to teach -Method. Because there are no bad charts in my class. No bad intonation, no bad rhythm, so we get a chance too...and we get a chance to make the singer aware that we are one of the band. - That we must include everybody. -All my classes, everyone there, the improv class, - the environment- the non competitive environment- to learn to learn. We're pushed into situations all the time that are very competative and very scary sometimes for many singers. So, I try to give them to be in a completely safe and nurturing environment where they can be themselves and not compete with each other - "How many syllables I do?" - "How many lines I do?"- -To me each individual is precious in the sense of capable of growth. So I really try to establish this in my classes that we are all equal in this sense and that we are all responsible for each other. We're not better than others, -to learn. We all know that we are differnt, we all know that you have more chops that me, who cares.. My mind is capible to do the same so to do method, lines, patterns, science, - I know that this person who was already good..more advanced...is learning..but then ...this one is also learning. You know so, In that sense It is exactly what I like to do.- FB: Miles always knew he wasn't Clifford Brown. - So he tried to make an advantage out of that by playing lyrical, laid back, ... MB: God and He created... SO, this is what I like the most about what I have developed through the years at Berklee. Now, I am fully happy incorporating my personallity in this. There is no stars in my room.- No one. We are pals, -we learn from each other, and we really need this interaction to - we need to learn that we can learn better, if we are not trying to be better than the next. And with singers this happens a lot you know.- Not me , but I see it around, FB: Because of the mentality that is instilled by the jazz community-that the singer is apart from the jazz musicians, - that's been a bug bear for decades.. MB: That added with with the woman, -chick in front, - pretty -all of that and then add it too the stylistic thing, we don't get the right path to become the musician we are.-as singers. FB: Right. MB: Because if you do that then you are fine.- You won't care anymore about, you were prettier today or yesterday, or that somebody is better, no..because you are having fun in a differnt way. It's a different kind of fun.-It's a deep kind of fun. It's not a fun of show and -you still can show that part of you. - but it balances, and it helps you be more original. Because you don't have to repeat the same syllables and the same scatt, that's how jazz musicians do it, I've been trying to give my little grain in that sands... FB: Yeah that's good... too many people get into the kind like the ..ah ..cheerleader mentality - they've always gotta be up and on.. and the make up's gotta be alright and ..it should be irrelavant when music is an..aural thing.. rather than just a light show.