Developing Your Artistry


Authored by Camille Colatosti


Course Code: OLART-100

Next Semester Starts
June 27, 2022

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


“To be an artist is to believe in life,” said English sculptor Henry Moore. In many ways, artists serve as the eyes, ears, and interpreters of the very complex world in which we live, expressing our hopes, dreams, sorrows, joys, and disappointments, and enabling us to understand and process the world around us. At the same time, artists need to be able to feed themselves, pay the bills, and make a living. Many of the skills needed to be successful—to gain the time, space, and money to dedicate to art—have to do with understanding the present, planning for the future, and knowing how to bridge the gap. They also have to do with understanding who you are and who you want to be as you develop and grow your career.

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Developing Your Artistry explores what it means to be an artist—both from a philosophical and practical perspective. It will examine artistry and how it has been defined throughout time, in addition to topics such as creativity as a habit, aesthetics, health as it relates to your work, planning, and sustaining your career. Throughout the course, you will focus on developing and refining your artistic statement/purpose and planning your career in the music industry. The course features several compelling artist profiles and interviews, including Victor Wooten, Nona Hendryx, Henry Diltz, Tibetan monk Lama Sonam, and many others.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explore your life choice as a music industry professional
  • Recognize the definitions of “artistry” and “creativity” as they apply to your professional work
  • Define your own artistic, personal, and professional goals
  • Consider the role of the musician in society
  • Maintain an electronic portfolio of the work and products that you create at Berklee
  • Articulate how you want to present yourself online, in writing, and in person
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: To Be an Artist: The Beginning

  • Exploring Definitions of Artistry
  • Classic Definitions, Including Aristotle and Tolstoy
  • Contemporary Definitions“Real” Art vs. “Counterfeit” Art
  • Your Own Definition of Art

Lesson 2: The Creative Habit

  • Creativity as a Habit: Exploring the Ideas of Twyla Tharp
  • Creativity Requires Hard Work: Exploring the Ideas of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Creative Intelligence: Exploring the Ideas of Bruce Nussbaum
  • Your Creative Autobiography

Lesson 3: Personal Aesthetics, Health, and Identity

  • Explore the Meaning of the Term Aesthetics
  • Aesthetics and Health
  • Self-Assessment: Health
  • Aesthetics and Identity: Discussions with Musicians Bill Banfield, Victor Wooten, and Nona Hendryx

Lesson 4: Artistry and Planning

  • Motivation and Planning
  • Practicing: How Do You Structure It and Fit It In
  • Academic Planning
  • Career Planning

Lesson 5: Success and Role Models

  • Explore the Meaning of Success
  • Gain Advice from Others about Success
  • Learning from Others: Role Model Henry Diltz

Lesson 6: Artist Statements: Your Statement of Purpose

  • Artist Statement: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
  • Victor Wooten: Portrait of an Artist
  • Communicating with the Audience
  • Bobby McFerrin’s Audience Art
  • How to Write an Artist Statement

Lesson 7: Interdisciplinary Art: The Relationship Between Music and Other Art Forms

  • Interdisciplinary Art
  • Music and Technology: Model Artist—Stephen Webber
  • Music and Film/Television: Model Artist—Lucio Godoy
  • Art, Technology and Words: Creating New Forms: Model Artist—Lori Landay

Lesson 8: Sustaining Yourself as an Artist

  • Music Business: Do It Ourselves
  • Musician’s Health
  • Body Awareness and Exercise
  • Using Feedback: Evaluating Yourself and Others: Accepting Criticism
  • Audience Analysis

Lesson 9: Artists and Community

  • The Social Role of the Artist throughout History
  • Relationship between Art and the Urban World: The Personal and Artistic Journey of Artist Model Otis Sallid
  • Relationship between Art and the Everyday: The Personal and Artistic Journey of Artist Model Greg Jaris
  • Transforming Herself and Society through Music: The Personal and Artistic Journey of Model Artist Nona Hendryx

Lesson 10: Career Exploration and the Future of Music and the Music Industry

  • Characteristics of the Music Industry Today
  • Predicting Future Changes
  • Future Business Models
  • Explore Career Resources

Lesson 11: Artists and Truth

  • Exploring What Is Meant by the “Truth” in Art
  • Exploring the Personal and Artistic Journey of Model Artist: Janis Ian
  • Other Artists Who Show the World Truth

Lesson 12: Putting It All Together: The Final Electronic Portfolio

  • You Online
  • Presenting Yourself Professionally Online and In Person
  • Establishing Voice Online and In Person
  • Creating an Effective Press Kit
  • The Electronic Portfolio
  • Revising and Finalizing Your Academic and Career Plan
  • Revising and Finalizing Your Artist Statement


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

This course does not have any prerequisites.

Required Textbook(s)

After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact for any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in live chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of  Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Camille Colatosti


Dr. Camille Colatosti serves as Provost at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where she leads education and student affairs programming for the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Interlochen Arts Camp, and the Interlochen College for Creative Arts. Prior to her appointment at Interlochen, she served as Dean for Institutional Research and Assessment/Graduate Studies at Berklee College of Music. There, she led master’s education, and directed the college’s accreditation, institutional assessment, program review and continuous improvement initiatives. Camille has published numerous articles on education, women’s issues, and other social topics. She is the author of the books To Be an Artist: Musicians, Visual Artists, Writers, and Dancers Speak (2012) and Stopping Sexual Harassment (2002). Camille earned her Ph.D. and Master’s of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Divinity Roxx


Divinity Roxx is a multi-hyphenate Grammy nominated musician, recording artist, and composer who is celebrated for her ability to inspire others with her infectious grooves and memorable lyrics. 

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Her career as a bass-player skyrocketed after attending a bass camp led by the legendary Victor Wooten where she was invited to tour with the 5 time Grammy award wining virtuoso three months after the camp. 

After touring with Victor for 5 years, she toured and performed with Beyoncé as her bassist and Musical Director.  She was also a featured soloist on tour and composed original music for the I…AM Sasha Fierce tour and DVD. She has appeared on countless television shows including The Grammy’s, SNL, Good Morning America, Ellen, and more, with personal highlights including a special performance at The White House with President Barack Obama, and an appearance on the hit TV show ‘Soul Man’.

Despite her appearances with so many legendary and iconic figures, it is in her solo performance that Divinity shines brightest. She combines virtuosic bass playing with an eclectic mash-up of hip-hop, rock and funk that she calls ‘Alternative Soul’.  Her passion for composition combined with her lyrical prowess and electrifying stage presence has earned her the moniker “mood elevator”. Her 2016 release ImPossible received critical acclaim and earned her an Independent Music Award for ‘Best Spoken Word Album’.

Divinity is furthering her mission to inspire and empower others through her newly formed production company, Divi Roxx Kids. She released her debut, full-length Family Music album, ‘Ready Set Go!’ in 2021 to critical acclaim. She also released two books published by Scholastic Inc,  based on two of the songs featured on the ‘Ready Set Go! album. “Happy and Healthy” and “Me +U”. 

Divinity currently lives in New Jersey with her family and continues to tour, teach, and produce multiple projects. She is the voice of Leetah in the upcoming ElfQuest Audio movie, and is currently composing music for theater, writing her own stage play, developing a short film, and a series of children’s books.  Read Less

Ellen Francese


With a teaching career that spans over three decades, Ellen Francese has taught art and English to students of all ages. She holds a master’s degree from Simmons College. Since 2006, she has been at Berklee College of Music teaching English and Artistry classes. As Berklee’s international population has grown, she has more recently been supporting these students both inside and outside her English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Ellen is also dedicated to developing programs for local and global citizenship at Berklee. Her service learning projects have taken place in Latino neighborhoods and teen lock-up facilities. Students have fulfilled their Act of Kindness Projects by giving music lessons to the homeless, performing concerts at nursing homes, writing music for nonprofit websites, cleaning up an old recording of an elderly musician’s music, and bringing an instrument petting zoo to immigrant preschoolers. She has received two Berklee Urban Service Awards for her commitment to fostering student social responsibility, the Dean’s Award for Teaching for Excellence, and the faculty-led Innovations in Teaching Grant. In addition to her work in Boston, Ellen has created global music programs for students in South Africa and Haiti. For two years, she ran an after-school Skype music program in South Africa, powered by Berklee students. For the last two years, she has been doing a similar program for orphans in Haiti. Last year, she received her second Urban Service Award. This year, she was awarded the Faculty-led Innovations in Teaching Grant. Through this, she has been able to support service learning projects in each division at Berklee as well as one at Boco to help teach social responsibility to the students.

Carolyn Wilkins


Carolyn Wilkins is a Professor in the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music. She is an accomplished jazz pianist, composer and vocalist whose performance experience includes radio and television appearances with her group SpiritJazz, a concert tour of South America as a Jazz Ambassador for the US State Department, performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony as a percussionist under Andre Previn, and shows featuring Melba Moore, Nancy Wilson and the Fifth Dimension. Carolyn has performed at Boston's Regattabar, Scullers' Grille, the Globe Jazz Festival and the Many Colors of a Woman Jazz Festival.

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Carolyn is the author of Tips For Singers: Rehearsing, Performing and Auditioning (available from Berklee Press), They Raised Me Up: A Black Single Mother and the Women Who Inspired Her and Damn Near White: An African American Family’s Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success (available from the University of Missouri Press) and Melody For Murder: A Bertie Bigelow Mystery. Read Less

Roya Hu


Stefani Langol


Stefani Langol is a music educator, clinician, author, and consultant. She is currently Assistant Professor of Music Education at Berklee College of Music and also serves as the technology coordinator for the department. Stefani spent many years using technology in K–12 music classrooms and has trained hundreds of in-service music educators across the country on effective uses of music technology throughout the K–12 curriculum. She is currently writing a curriculum for Alfred Publishing focusing on MIDI sequencing in the music classroom.

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Additionally, Stefani has worked as an educational consultant and music technology applications specialist for SoundTree/KorgUSA, Opcode, Cakewalk, Warner Brothers, Cablevision, and GIA Publishing. She serves on the Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) Board of Directors and is editor-in-chief of the TI:MES newsletter. Read Less

Jennifer Caraluzzi


Hailed by Opera Today as a "polished, soaring soprano," Jennifer Caraluzzi is a versatile vocalist and educator who serves on the voice faculty of the NEC Preparatory School and School of Continuing Education. She has performed with Boston Pops, the Boston Opera Collaborative, and Opera on Tap, and is an accomplished studio vocalist; among other projects, she sings the title role in a critically acclaimed recording of Seymor Barab’s children’s opera Little Red Riding Hood on Centaur Records.  Caraluzzi also works in musical theater and cabaret, and has collaborated on her own musical theater/ cabaret crossover DuetAllNight with tenor Eduardo Ramos. 

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As the program manager for graduate studies at Berklee College of Music, Caraluzzi serves as the main advisor for the college’s Harvard Dual Degree program. She is passionate about advocating for artists and performers, and helping students accomplish artistic excellence without compromising mental, physical, and emotional health.  

Caraluzzi holds a joint MBA from Berklee College of Music and Southern New Hampshire University, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory. Visit her online at

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Rob Hochschild


Rob Hochschild has written about music and other subjects for a range of publications, including The Boston Globe. He has worked as a print and broadcast journalist, web editor/writer, and radio host. He has launched three podcasts, including, most recently, The Media Narrative. Hochschild has taught in Massachusetts prisons through the PEN New England Writing Program. On the Berklee campus, Hochschild teaches writing, LENS, and, soon, podcasting. He earned a B.S. In Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Emerson College.

Leah Waldo


Leah Waldo is the Associate Director of Online Curriculum for the online division of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. After completing her studies at Berklee, Leah received her Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. An alumna of the Arts in Education program, Leah focused her studies on curriculum design, edtech, and educational neuroscience. Her work in online education is deeply rooted her belief that increasing access to music education breaks down the walls that divide us and inspires us to stand together as a global community. In collaboration with Grammy–winning faculty, international non-profit
organizations, and distinguished foundations, she designs rigorous and meaningfully relevant degrees, certificate programs, and courses steeped in project- based learning, inquiry-based learning, and learning by design. When Leah is not reading articles on nascent edtech technologies and studies in educational neuroscience or listening to new music, she can be found performing with her band, Elisa Smith & The Tiny Little Lies.

Zahili Gonzalez Zamora


Zahili Gonzalez Zamora's musical career path and thirst for constant professional growth brought her on a long professional journey from Cuba, to Canada, to Southeast Asia, to the U.S.A. In 2017, she graduated from Berklee College of Music, summa cum laude, with a dual-degree in Jazz Composition and Jazz Piano Performance. In September of 2019 she joined the Piano Dept. at Berklee. 

Zahili has written and arranged pieces mostly within the Afro Cuban jazz genre. Her rich musical background, career experience and extraordinary improvisation skills render her a leader in the modern Latin jazz idiom and an influential, emulated musician.

Her Afro Cuban Jazz Trio, MIXCLA, features new original tunes and arrangements by her, which have quickly turned the attention of major agents locally and internationally. The trio has since headlined at the 59th Monterey Jazz Festival, the 2016 Stave Sessions, by Celebrity Series of Boston, the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival, Scullers Jazz Club in Boston (2018 and 2020), and other highly respected venues and Festivals around the world. With her trio MIXCLA, Zahili's newly released album has thus far advanced in the world of Jazz, adding to her accolades two nominations to the Boston Music Awards (2018 and 2019), under the Jazz Group category, and a finalist place at the DC Jazz Prix Competition, in Washington DC. 

Other accomplishments as a composer include, the Duke Ellington and the Wayne Shorter Awards for her outstanding creativity and musicianship, and the 40th annual Downbeat music award, 2017, under the Outstanding Performance category.  

Kenn Brass


Professor Kenn Brass received his BFA and MFA from Governor’s State University located just outside of his native hometown, Chicago. Having served as chair and assistant chair of the Professional Music Department for 26 years from 1988 to 2014, he has now set his sights on the classroom.

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Kenn has been involved extensively in various musical settings embracing a myriad of traditional and contemporary musical styles. A trumpeter by trade, he has performed with groups and individuals the world over which include Nancy Wilson, Mitzi Gaynor, The O’Jays, The Temptations, and The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra to name a few. He continues to perform regularly in the New England area with his co-lead band Enfusion.

While at Berklee, Kenn has fulfilled a long-time commitment with the Five-Week Summer Performance Program in addition to being an adjunct professor at nearby Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. He has also served on various area advisory boards in conjunction to working with a number of community-based organizations with an Arts-centered focus. Read Less

Mark Polanzak


Mark Polanzak is the author of POP! (Stillhouse Press), a hybrid work of memoir and fiction. His short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The American Scholar, and elsewhere. His story "Giant" will be included in the anthology Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2017. A runner-up for the Italo Calvino Prize for Fabulist Fiction, Mark is a founding editor for draft: the journal of process, and a producer for The Fail Safe podcast. He received an MFA from the University of Arizona. Mark teaches Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing at Berklee in Boston. He lives in Salem, MA.


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