Prof. Rosey Lee

Professor of Composition at Berklee College of Music 

Composing and teaching are not only the most important things in my life but also my passion. The best reward for me, like creating a piece of music, is to see students making progress in my class. I always tell my students, ‘If you like to learn, I love to teach and give you all I know about music.’

I don’t remember how little I was when I began to learn notation and to sing do, re, mi, but I love to solfège any melody I know and write it down. I didn’t know that what I was doing was called ear training until I was about 7. I loved to play with it.

Part of the great pleasure of teaching is to share what I know about music and to continue learning about new ideas with my students.

Ear training is one of the most important and fundamental skills for a musician, as well as harmony, counterpoint and music history. Students might not know or understand how important it is to have this training and discipline. I believe that it is my job to pass on what I have learned in music to prepare my students for their musical careers. I always say, ‘You might not think you need it now, but it might be very useful in the future.

I hope my students understand that music is like a spoken language, and musical events are just like daily life. For example, counterpoint. This term may be scary for a lot of people, so I tell my students, ‘You’re listening to me, and you’re sitting there with your heart beating, and you’re still breathing. You have at least three things going on together simultaneously, and they all cooperate by themselves naturally. That’s three- or four-part counterpoint.’ If Bach can do it without a laptop, you can as well.