Developing Your Artistry


Authored by Camille Colatosti


Course Code: OLART-100

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

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
  • Assignment 1: What is Art? How do you Define it?

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
  • Assignment 2: Boxes

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
  • Assignment 3: Different Understandings of Aesthetics

Lesson 4: Artistry and Planning

  • Motivation and Planning
  • Practicing: How Do You Structure It and Fit It In
  • Academic Planning
  • Career Planning
  • Assignment 4: Career Plan

Lesson 5: Success and Role Models

  • Explore the Meaning of Success
  • Gain Advice from Others about Success
  • Learning from Others: Role Model Henry Diltz
  • Assignment 5: Interview with a Music Professional

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
  • Assignment 6: 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
  • Assignment 7: Interdisciplinary Art

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
  • Assignment 8: Receiving and Benefiting from Constructive Criticism

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
  • Assignment 9: Art, Society, and You

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
  • Assignment 10: Career Goals

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
  • Assignment 11: Art and 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
  • Assignment 12: Putting it all Together


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
This course does not have any prerequisites.


Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. 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.

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

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.

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

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 and Berklee Online. She has performed with the Boston Pops, Boston Opera Collaborative, and Opera on Tap. She is also 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 “Duet All Night” with tenor Eduardo Ramos.

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As the associate director for graduate studies at Berklee College of Music, Caraluzzi serves as the main advisor for the college’s Harvard Dual Degree program. Jennifer is also a 500-hour certified yoga instructor and incorporates restorative yoga, meditation, and overall wellness into her teaching. 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 Read Less


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