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Kronos classThe Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in Music. We’re excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Myra MelfordMusic is a powerful agent for community. The music we listen to and love often defines us. It is the glue that binds groups of friends and can become the soundtrack to the most important moments in our lives. As a powerful mechanism for memory, listening to a favorite track can often bring us back to those important moments later in life, triggering strong emotions. At Berkeley Connect in Music, we will build upon this capacity for music to bring us together. Aside from helping you connect to your Berkeley community, we will also share and discuss music in a casual setting, offer mentorship, attend events, and break bread together (Yes! Berkeley Connect provides free meals!). Part of that community building, however, depends on each of us practicing the discipline of deferring judgment and becoming more open-minded as we step into ever-larger communities. Civility and culture is built upon such a foundation. We might have strong, immediate dislikes for certain types of music while thinking that we are smart and open-minded people, but there are no universals when it comes to musical taste. So, music can serve as a method of helping us confront our prejudices. One of Berkeley Connect’s aims is to help students develop awareness about prejudices and how they manifest within our appreciation of music. These are takeaways that we hope will be useful for everyone, both music majors and non-majors.

Personally, as a jazz and classically trained musician, I’ve had to confront the fact that I don’t belong to the dominant culture in the history of either music, which is largely dominated by men (in one case white, the other black). My participation in music making has been developed through being myself. The music that I compose and learn to perform creates a new and unique space for my artistic identity – and hopefully is contributing to a more diverse musical landscape. I hope my example, however humble and esoteric, can inspire anyone in any field, who hope to find their own unique voice and space in the world after graduation.

Berkeley Connect can also help address a few specific needs of music majors – issues that students in the department tend to encounter in their years here: 1) music majors often do not take classes with certain professors until their junior year, thus 2) music majors often do not receive mentoring in their preferred concentration until late in their matriculation. In my specialized area of improvised performance and composition, for example, I often do not meet prospective majors until they take my classes in their junior or senior year. If you want to be competitive for graduate school in jazz and improvised music performance or music composition, it would be more advantageous to spend three or four years preparing, instead of just your last year of college. And this is true of other music related fields as well. We are designing the Berkeley Connect in Music program to try to address these issues.

In tackling these problems together throughout the course of the semester, we hope to highlight this trajectory of finding our own unique space in the world for everyone. It can often be quite daunting in a large university to think about our own uniqueness – especially when you are taking classes with hundreds of your peers. This is where Berkeley Connect is at its best. We provide one-on-one mentorship meetings with advanced graduate students or recent PhD recipients, to supplement the biweekly small group settings, all the while sharing meals and discussing music with new friends who are facing similar challenges in life.

Professor Myra Melford
Director, Berkeley Connect in Music

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Music. These mentors lead small groups of 10-20 students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Music major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Music is that you have an interest in the field of study. You do not have to be a major in order to participate! Undeclared freshmen and sophomores are welcome, along with entering junior transfers and juniors and seniors who have declared the major.

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students.  They include:

  • small-group meetings led by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students or recent PhDs in Music, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in Music. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within Music as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.


Myra Melford

Myra MelfordMy earliest memories of making up music on the piano are from the age of 3, before we moved to the house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright where I grew up in Glencoe, IL. I took classical piano lessons until I was a freshman in high school, but my first piano teacher, Erwin Helfer, was (and still is) a great blues and boogie-woogie player in the Chicago tradition, and as a treat, after lessons, he taught me to play the blues by imitating him through call and response. This kind of eclectic approach seems to have had a lasting result (as did the experience of growing up in a Frank Lloyd Wright house), because after returning to music, from environmental science, as a sophomore at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, I immediately got into studying jazz and various world music traditions; and all of those musical strands now inform the music I make today as a pianist, composer and improviser. These days, I’m leading a quintet called Snowy Egret that plays my original music. I perform solo and in various duos and trios. You can read more about my current projects at www.myramelford.com, as well as watch videos from a 25-year retrospective of my work recorded at the Stone, NYC, in 2015. I fully endorse the Wiki article about me, and here’s a link to me playing the blues in a small club in Inage, Japan, several years ago.

Berkeley Connect Mentors

Peter HumphreyPeter Humphrey is a PhD candidate in Music.

Where did you grow up?


Where did you go to college and what was your major?

York, Music.

In a sentence or two, how would you describe your research?

The history of sound systems and mixing boards.

Semester Activities

Berkeley Connect in Music / Spring 2020

Faculty Director: Prof. Myra Melford
Mentor: Peter Humphrey
Email: peterhumphrey@berkeley.edu
Office Hours: Monday 12-1pm (Every other week)

MU 98BC – Wednesday, 5-6 PM

MU 198BC – Wednesday, 6-7 PM

All small group meetings will meet in Morrison 117.

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Music. These mentors lead small groups of students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Music major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.

In the small-group meetings you’ll brainstorm about big questions like how new technologies change our ways of listening to music or how it works as a soundtrack to everyday life. Other weeks we’ll tackle more pragmatic questions, such as how to find opportunities to do research in music fields, or how to write a great paper for a music course. Yet other times the group might just listen to a piece of music and share reactions. These intimate group meetings are complemented by activities open to all Berkeley Connect students–we’ll attend a concert together and talk about it afterwards, hear from faculty about their own musical passions, and hear from UCB Music grads who have gone on to work in music about how they got where they are and what they remember most fondly about their undergrad years. Berkeley Connect is a place to mingle with music faculty and graduate students, in an open setting without homework or evaluation, to share ideas and appreciate music together.

Berkeley Connect requires no homework assignments, papers, or exams. You are simply required to participate. What do we mean by participation?  For the two one-on-one mentoring sessions, we expect you to respect your mentor’s time by showing up promptly and prepared to engage in an honest conversation about your academic interests, goals, concerns, challenges, etc. The section meetings are designed to involve students in interactive discussions and activities. The more students share their ideas, opinions, and perspectives, the more valuable these sessions will be for you and for your fellow students. We understand that some students are more comfortable speaking in group settings than others. We strive to provide ways for students to interact in pairs and small groups, and to contribute in various ways. You don’t have to be a frequent speaker in order to be an engaged participant; listening is also a powerful way of being present. We do ask that you give your fellow students your full attention, and that you commit to being an engaged member of the group, even if you do so quietly. This means, among other things, putting away all screen devices unless you’ve been invited to use them for a specific activity. Meeting these expectations will allow you to reap the full benefit of participating in Berkeley Connect, and make your presence a benefit to others.

Website: http://berkeleyconnect.berkeley.edu/music/

Attendance policy and grading:

Berkeley Connect is offered Pass/Not Pass. In order to receive a Pass, you must:

  1.    Attend the eight scheduled small-group sessions (attendance will be taken)
  2.    Participate in two one-on-one meetings with your mentor
  3.    Attend the special events (panel discussions, etc.) unless you have an unavoidable scheduling conflict, and at least ONE of the field trips which you report on to your mentor
  4.    Complete the required exit survey at the end of the semester


Your emergency evacuation assembly area is the lawn just south of Hertz Hall.

In the event of an emergency please follow instructions from your instructor and Music Department staff.

Take note of emergency procedures posted in your classroom. If the fire alarm is sounding, exit the building immediately. In the event of an earthquake, duck when possible and hold in place, covering your head with your arms, a binder or your laptop. Then exit the building when the shaking stops.

If you are in a wheelchair and on the second floor of Morrison, proceed to the Designated Waiting Area for evacuation. A Disabled Evacuation Chair is located in the first floor classroom hallway.

If you are in a wheelchair and in the basement area, exit through the long locker hallway and through the service area out the door to your right at the end of the hall. You may need assistance to open the outside door.


  •    UC Police and all emergencies number from campus phones: 911
  •    UC Police and all emergencies number from cell phones: (510) 642-3333
  •    UC Police non-emergency number: (510) 642-6760


Federal copyright laws protect all original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. When using material that has been written, recorded, or designed by someone else, it is important to make sure that you are not violating copyright law by improperly using someone else’s intellectual property.

The Department of Music is committed to upholding copyright law. As a student enrolled in this music class, you may be provided with access to copyrighted music which is directly related to the content of this course. It is our expectation that you will utilize these digital recordings during the course of the semester that you are enrolled in this class, and will delete these recordings after the close of the course. The purpose and character under which these recordings are being provided to you is for nonprofit educational purposes only.

To read more about UC’s Policy and Guidelines on the Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials for Teaching and Research, visit http://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/index.html (Links to an external site.)


Week 1 – Jan 22

*5:30 – 6:30pm Opening Welcome Event* Morrison Room 117

Week 2 – Jan 29

Small Group 1 Introductions, ice-breakers & meet your colleagues: We will get to know one another in this session, explore our tastes in music and what to expect from Berkeley Connect in Music this semester.

Week 3 – Feb 5

Small Group 2 Talking about music – How do we talk about music? Why do we do it? We will discuss ways to talk about music and explain what we like and don’t like about a piece of music.

Week 4 – Feb 12

*6:00 – 7:30pm Small Group 3* 10 Evans
Tony Cascardi & Jenny Dearborn Interview

Week 5 – Feb 19

No Meeting – Meet Your Mentor Sessions

Week 6 – Feb 26

Small Group 4 Sound Technology – We will look in a general sense how questions around technology interact with music and why this is important/relevant now.

Week 7 – Mar 4

Small Group 5 Movie Soundtracks – What makes a good soundtrack? What aspects of music work with video? We will explore your favorite movie soundtracks and discuss.

Week 8 – Mar 11

No meeting

Week 9 – Mar 18

Small Group 6 Improvisation – What is improvised music? How does improvisation work in music practices?

Week 10 – Mar 25

Spring Break

Week 11 – Apr 1

Small Group 7 Music Genre – What is genre? Why does it matter? How does it impact your experience of music? We will discuss the role of genre categories.

Week 12 – Apr 8

Small Group 8 Presentation by Berkeley Connect in Music Director Myra Melford

Week 13 – Apr 15

No Meeting – Meet Your Mentor Sessions

Week 14 – Apr 22

No Meeting – Meet Your Mentor Sessions

Week 15 – Apr 29

No Meeting

Week 16 – May 6

Study Break snacks & chill with your mentor, YouTube Karaoke, Musical Potluck

Field Trip Options:

  1. February 9 – An Evening of Jazz Duos Onstage (Zellerbach Hall, 7pm
  2. February 15 – Jazz Improv (Hertz Hall, 7pm)
  3.  March 4 – Noon Concert: Graduate Student Composers (Hertz Hall, 12pm)
  4. March 17 – Dartmouth Big Band & Berkeley Nu Jazz Collective (Morrison, 250
  5. April 14 – Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret (Freight & Salvage, 7.30pm)


To find sections in the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for Music 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).

To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.

How to Sign Up

To participate in Berkeley Connect in Music, you enroll in a designated section of Music 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens.  Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”

**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.

If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQs.  If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Music, please contact:  Professor Myra Melford (mmelford@berkeley.edu).

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office  at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu or (510)664-4182.

Links & Resources