Berklee today

JUN 2018

Berklee today is the official alumni publication of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a forum for contemporary music and musicians.

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20 Berklee today alumni constitute the largest segment in the international alumni cohort. In 1992, Berklee's second president, Lee Eliot Berk, devel- oped the concept for the Berklee International Network (BIN) of music schools. It was designed to offer a way for Berklee alumni that seek to open schools in their home countries— and other established institutions—to formalize agreements to employ Berklee's teaching methods and create a path for their students to continue their education at Berklee. The first BIN members were the L'Aula de Musica in Barcelona, Spain; the Rimon School of Jazz in Tel Aviv, Israel; and the Phillippos Nakas Centre of Music in Athens, Greece. The Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki, Finland, and the American School of Modern Music in Paris, France, joined the network two years later. As noted above, in 1995, Sugauchi signed an agreement making Koyo Conservatory the first school in Asia to join the network. In a recent conversation over lunch in Kobe, Sugauchi ex- plained that he founded Koyo Conservatory to further his own music education. A jazz pianist, and former concert and record producer, Sugauchi has a lifelong passion for jazz. "I started the school because I wanted to learn," he says with a laugh. "I was the first student when the school opened in 1980." Jazz Foundation Many Japanese-born Berklee alumni play key roles as teach- ers and administrators at Koyo and the other Jikei schools. Each possesses a zeal to share the knowledge they gained at Berklee. They have nurtured the talents of numerous musicians such as Koyo alumnus Keita Ogawa, the Grammy- winning percussionist for Snarky Puppy. They also assist students seeking a path to Berklee. A prime example is tenor saxophonist Eiichiro Arasaki '84 who became an influential teacher at Koyo Conservatory in 1985. After earning a degree in chemistry at a university in Osaka, Arasaki moved to Tokyo to explore the jazz scene. He studied with celebrated saxophonist Hidefumi Toki before deciding to attend Berklee and broaden his knowledge. "I came to Berklee in 1982 to study jazz composition and arranging," Arasaki says. "Herb Pomeroy was my favorite teacher. After Berklee, I returned to Osaka and started looking for a school where I could teach." Arasaki was hired by Koyo Conservatory in nearby Kobe, and started sharing the knowledge he'd gained at Berklee. "I began handwriting textbooks in Japanese for my classes in harmony, arranging, ear training," he says. "It was a lot of work." Arasaki's course materials blended Berklee's methods and his own ideas and became the foundation for Koyo's jazz curriculum. "Through the years, I've had a lot of good students who have gone on to professional careers," Arasaki shares. In addition to teaching, Arasaki works steadily as a per- former and arranger. "I do about three gigs a week going be- tween Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Hiroshima," he says. "For 30 years, I've also led a big band that plays my charts." Career high-water marks include performances with Japanese rock star Eikichi Yazawa and sharing the bandstand with American jazz artists Lester Bowie and Vincent Herring. Stressing the Roots Keisuke Okai '99 is the current assistant director of inter- national affairs for Koyo. He handles communications with Jikei's partner schools and admission of international stu- dents seeking to enroll at Koyo. "We have had quite a few students from overseas seeking to earn academic credits at Koyo that they can transfer to Berklee," Okai says. "I oversee students on the track to Berklee and give them information about their musical proficiency and English skills." Okai didn't play an instrument until his senior year in high school when he was an exchange student in Pennsylvania. He'd long been interested in African-American culture and musical styles, "But I hadn't listened to jazz," Okai says. "When I went to Pennsylvania, I brought more than 100 Miles Davis albums on cassette that I borrowed from my Japanese high school teacher. I spent the year listening to them and decided that trumpet would be my thing." Circa 1993, while considering colleges, he met a jazz musi- cian from New Orleans who told him that if he wanted to pursue modern jazz, he should study in New York or Boston. "I'd read about Koyo Conservatory and found that it had a connection with Berklee even though they had not signed a formal agree- ment yet. Koyo was jazz oriented and taught some Berklee methods and had two big bands. I studied there for two years." In 1995, Okai came to Berklee and majored in trumpet per- formance, studying with Ken Cervenka, Jeff Stout, Ray Kotwica, Susan Fleet, Lin Biviano, and Darren Barrett. Shortly before he was to graduate, his mother developed a brain tumor and had to quit her job. With his financial support dried up, Okai returned to Japan. Finding it hard to make money in the short term as a trumpeter, he completed the certification process and started teaching English to high-school students in prep schools. "By the time I'd done that for 10 years, I was married with a child and was approaching 35," he says. "In Japan you have to be in your career track by 35. If you change jobs after that you will be considered a beginner and will have difficulty getting hired. I always thought that my career would be in music, so I tried to find a way to connect with music again." After being away from Koyo Conservatory for about 15 years, Okai cold-called the school and spoke with Mr. Sugauchi directly. "He remembered me and told me to send in my ré- sumé," Okai says. "He thought I would be good for recruiting students as I had done at the schools where I taught English. I was so happy to get back into a music environment where I could pass on my experience to the younger generation." Koyo Conservatory is a practical training school that accepts people of all ages, from secondary-school students to college students to adult learners. It's unique among Japanese music schools because of its jazz-oriented curriculum. "We spread the word that if students study roots and jazz music, they will be ready to go into any contemporary music style," Okai says. Musical Motivator Since 2015, Naoyuki Hosokawa has been part of Koyo's manage- ment and today he serves as the vice president and director of international affairs. But he still teaches some classes at Osaka School of Music, which is part of the Jikei network. "At Osaka, I love teaching jazz history," Hosokawa says. "We listen to a lot of music and talk about the artists." That's home turf for Hosokawa whose biggest influences in his youth were saxo- phonist John Coltrane and drummer Elvin Jones. "I was very influenced by jazz and wanted to become a jazz guitarist when I finished high school," Hosokawa says. "I spent four years working to save the money to come to Berklee." High points at the college were his studies in jazz ar- ranging with Herb Pomeroy and guitar lessons with professor Jon Damian. In 1987 he graduated from Berklee with a di- ploma in professional music. He returned to Japan and began teaching music theory, composition, and guitar at Osaka School of Music. "After teaching at Osaka for 10 years, I started thinking I needed to learn more to teach the students, so I came back to Berklee and got my degree in 1999," Hosokawa shares. "After that, I wanted to stay in the United States and found a job at the Boston Higashi School." [Japanese autism education spe- Eiichiro Arasaki '84 Keisuke Okai '99 Naoyuki Hosokawa '99

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