Developing Your Artistry


Authored by Camille Colatosti


Course Code: OLART-100

Next semester starts September 28

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 (available in the course when joining your first chat)
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal Microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection




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.



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 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



Caroline Harvey is a writer, performer, and somatic therapist. She teaches and performs poetry nationwide, and is the creator of two original voice curricula, Free Your Voice™ and Embodied Poetics™. She was featured in two documentaries and appeared on Season 5 of HBO's Def Poetry. A past member and coach of multiple Poetry Slam Teams, Harvey has been a part of victories on both national and regional stages. Most recently, she helped the Berklee College of Music Slam Team win the "Spirit of Slam" award at the 2010 Collegiate National Poetry Slam. She has performed with Alicia Keys, Mos Def, John Legend, Reggie Gibson, Joshua Bennett, Donna De Lory, and others, and is honored to have been featured at schools and organizations such as YouthSpeaks, The Esalen Institute, Bristol Community College, Northeastern University, University of California at Berkeley, and University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

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Harvey was awarded a BFA in Theater from Boston University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and won the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence. Her stage directorial debut dealt with the work of poet Anne Sexton and was chosen for review by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. She later earned a Master's degree in Dance from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures. Harvey's writing, which explores ideas of the sacred and tracks her belief that even the fiercest traumas contain within them the capacity for profound healing and beauty, has been published in various literary journals and anthologies including the 2005 National Poetry Slam Anthology High Desert Voices and the Harvard publication The Charles River Review. She is currently working on a new collection of poems based on the women Salvador Dali painted and a book about her most recent travels in Asia and Central America. Read Less



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 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.



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



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.


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