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 Monday, 30 March 2015
Branford Marsalis Accepts Honorary Doctor of Music Degree at Berklee College of Music PDF Print
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 11 September 2006
Branfors Marsalis © Phil Farnsworth.jpg
Three-time Grammy-winning saxophonist and Berklee alumnus Branford Marsalis received an honorary doctor of music degree for his outstanding contributions to contemporary music at the Berklee College of Music 2006 Entering Student Convocation, Friday, September 8, 2006, at the Berklee Performance Center. Marsalis, Berklee President Roger Brown, and Vice President for Student Affairs Lawrence E. Bethune, welcomed approximately 766 students from 42 countries at the ceremony.

Addressing the class of 2010 after accepting his honorary doctorate, Marsalis—who roomed with Donald Harrison, and met longtime bandmate Jeff “Tain” Watts, while studying at Berklee—reflected on his time in Boston. “The ultimate goal is to gain tools to become a professional working musician, and there’s no better place to do that than here. At Berklee you’re able to share your musical experiences with people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I’d never met anyone from Japan until I got here. I’d never met anyone from Philadelphia until I got here. For the next four years absorb as much music and information as you can and you’ll be better for it in the end.”

Marsalis also told students not to be afraid to question the rules, noting that his most meaningful relationships with teachers were often forged on disagreements. “Be curious … raise you hand and say ‘I don’t agree,’ but you have to be willing to say why you don’t agree.”

After his remarks, returning students paid tribute to Marsalis with a concert featuring music associated with his career. Highlights included saxophonists Nir Namaan and Donald Lee performing renditions of Marsalis’ tunes “Mo’ Better Blues,” and “Doctone.”

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over half a century, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who's who” of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today — and tomorrow.

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