Berklee Student

Russ Sternglass

Berklee Student
Boston
Member since 2010

About Me

I have been fortunate to have music as an integral part of my life ever since the age of 5. As a young child, I always knew I wanted to play the drums. When my parents would take me to the playground, I would find two sticks and find different sound surfaces to play on. When I was in kindergarten, my parents gave me a hand me down drum set that I played on every day. When I was 7, I joined a local community jazz band with other kids that were slightly older than me and began to learn how to play jazz. I started taking lessons around this time, and quickly progressed to playing with many local groups. I became very focused and intense about playing drums, standing on the side of the stage at local shows and watching the drummer with an eagle eye.

At the age of 12 I joined my first “real” band, The Purple Valley. I played with them until the end of high school, gaining many valuable experiences along the way. Because The Purple Valley was a cover band, we would play everything from Oldies to Blues and Jazz. I learned how to be versatile and play for the song. At 14 I got a scholarship to the French Woods performing arts camp to play in the pit Orchestras for many shows including West Side Story and Chicago. After I learned to read music, I joined the Ageless Big Band, a group that went to Aruba to play for two years while I was in high school. In 2006 I attended the 5 week program at Berklee from a scholarship I got from winning the Downbeat music competition and Berklee became my first choice for college.

During my senior year of high school I auditioned for Berklee with a drum solo I had written specifically for that audition. I was awarded a scholarship, and began attending in January 2009, after deferring one semester to tour with a local band. When I got to Berklee, initially I was very intimidated by the wealth of talent shown by my peers, but soon found my niche. In my first semester at Berklee I met Danny Morris, who recommended me for the Basslines summer program. This opened up a world of opportunities for me, leading to employment through Berklee every summer in many different programs including Day Sessions and The Stage Performance Workshop. It also led me to meet my future bandmates, Pete Kendall and Dale Bales, who would form the band I play in now, Old English. This is the first time I have ever played in a group, where I truly have one third of the creative control, and am involved in everything from management to song writing. It is a side of music I sadly am experiencing only for the first time.

Since I have come to Berklee, I have played in the Jimi Hendrix Ensemble, The Beatles Ensemble, Classic Soul Ensemble, Allman Brothers Guitar Lab, Meters and Herbie Hancock Ensembles.

I have also done many studio sessions at Berklee:
Highlights:

-Sound alike – Incubus (Producer: Ryan Johnson)
-Sound alike – Regina Spector (Producer: Jesse Vengrove)
-Sound alike – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Producer: Zack Welsh)
-Project for Principals of recording production – Original Blues Song (Producer: Ryan Johnson)
-Robert Gilles project for Rivers Cumo of Weezer (Producer: Chris Moore)

I also volunteered in the Berklee organization Beyond Borders, which went to the Dominican Republic to teach music education.

Two classes that pertain to my major of pro-music are Principals of Recording and The Private Studio Teacher. In Principals of Recording, I went into the Berklee studios with a band I hired (made up of students) and recorded a song that I wrote and arranged with my roommate. The Private Studio class culminated in a complete understanding of everything that goes into teaching lessons with ease.

Currently things are looking bright on the radar. I just got back from Pasadena, California, where I played the Fiddling Frog Festival with a group called the Clayfoot Strutters for a nearly sold out audience. I also had my senior recital this semester, in which I arranged tunes for three different groups (jazz, fusion and rock) for a packed house in 1A. I am excited about the direction that my musical life has taken me, and am truly grateful for all the opportunities Berklee has given me!

IM Screen Names

Experience & Education

Current

  • Ensemble Co Director / Drum Teacher for Day Sessions Summer Program
    August 2011 to Present (over 7 years)

    I teach drums to middle school students and teach them how to play the songs that they want to learn - IE Beatles, Led Zeppelin, blues, etc

  • Cameraman/producer for Video Services Department, Berklee
    August 2009 to Present (over 9 years)

    I videotape, run sound, and produced video for the video services department at Berklee College of Music. This job includes directing cameras at the Berklee BPC.

  • Drummer for Basslines Summer Music Festival @ Berklee College of Music
    June 2009 to Present (over 9 years)

    Hired by Danny Morris (bass, faculty) to play at the Basslines Festival in an ensemble for prospective bass students interesting in attending Berklee. This summer will be my third year playing for this festival.

Past

  • Video Producer / Teacher / Percussionist for Beyond Borders: Project Hero
    September 2010 to April 2011 (7 months)

    I work in a group of 12 Berklee students writing curriculum that will culminate in a week long trip in March 2011 to the Dominican Republic to teach music education to young students. I also produce all the promo and informational video for the group.

  • Drummer for Lynda Defuria
    January 2010 to October 2010 (9 months)

    Played drums in the backing band for Berklee Vocalist Lynda Defuria. EP recorded at Sanctum Sound Studios. Gigs included All Asia and Harper's Ferry.

Education