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Clive Davis Institute x Berlin: Future Pop Music Studies

Come learn about - and help create - the future of global popular music in Europe's most exciting, vibrant metropolis. 

This application is now open to non-Recorded Music majors and visiting students.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Currently experiencing a major renaissance, Berlin is a historic world capital and an electrifying cultural center for artistic creativity. The city has long been an inspirational haven for artists from all over the world, and in the aftermath of its 20th century political turbulence and upheaval, Berlin boasts inexpensive rent and a vibrant nightlife scene featuring world-class clubs like Berghain and Tresor. Having long attracted and inspired American musicians like Lou Reed and British artists like David Bowie, Berlin has a distinct and mythic musical history.

Drawing on the strengths of Berlin as a multicultural world capital and a preeminent destination for a wide range of musical and sonic innovation, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has created a unique and groundbreaking study abroad program that focuses on pop music experimentalism and the avant-garde. We push the envelope to consider the future of music production, business, technology and emergent media, performance, songwriting and journalism.

You will be able to learn about the fascinating past, present and future of music making in Germany and Europe at large, and you’ll be able to practice your craft and learn about the arts and emergent media scene while meeting and working with influential Berlin-based industry professionals. 

CURRICULUM

Students must enroll in core program courses, as well as additional complementary general education or elective courses, in order to complete a full-time, 16-credit semester.

Students are required to take: 

  1. German Language (4 units)
  2. REMU-UT 9810 Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future
  3. Music in Germany: History, Culture, Politics (2 units)

PLUS, 8 additional units that may be fulfilled with any of the below elective courses or other general education or elective courses offered via NYU-Berlin.

German Language

4 units | Required

All students studying in Berlin are required to take a German language course (or course taught in German) for graded credit. This course cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

This course will count towards General Education - International for ReMu majors.

Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future

REMU-UT 9810 | 2 units

Pre-requisite for ReMu majors: REMU-UT 1218 The Business of Music (in-development). This course will count towards required Business core for ReMu majors.

With sales of more than 1.3 billion, the German recorded music market is the third largest in the world: it is larger than the UK music market and behind only the USA and Japan. Beyond just numbers, the Berlin music business is unique: it’s home to hundreds of powerful independent and D.I.Y. record labels; it’s historically been ground zero for innovative electronic and dance music; and it’s a burgeoning tech hub for innovative software/hardware companies like Native Instruments, Ableton and Soundcloud. In this colloquium series, students will meet and hear each week from key creative entrepreneurial figures and innovators in the German and European music business.

This course has several purposes. First, students will consider how ongoing economic and technological changes might be impacting the worldwide music business, as speakers discuss controversial trends like the rise of cryptocurrency, block chain and cashless systems, customization technologies like 3D printing and developments in robotics, and radical, disruptive approaches to copyright. Second, students will develop a greater understanding of the chief similarities and differences between the traditional European and US music business operations, particularly with regard to label operations, publishing and copyright, touring and festivals, and nightlife promotion.

Third, students will become more informed about the D.I.Y.  music business in Berlin itself, as they hear from speakers about the promises and challenges one faces in launching innovative music start ups in Germany. And finally, students will get to meet and network with key movers and shakers in the Berlin scene, past and present. In anticipation for a guest class visit, students may be required to investigate websites, read biographical or contextual material, or attend events outside of class time. Students will be expected to ask informed questions of the guests and to develop responses throughout the course of the class.

Students should leave the class with a greater understanding of how the European and German music businesses work and how they themselves might make a business or sales impact on a global scale. 

Popular Music in Germany: History, Culture, Politics

REMU-UT 9811 | 2 units

There is no pre-requisite for this course. This course will count towards required Writing, History, & Emergent Media electives for ReMu majors.

From Karlheinz Stockhausen and Kraftwerk to D.A.F. and the Euro disco of Snap! – the first seven weeks of class considers the history of German electronic music prior to the Fall of the Wall. We will particularly look at how electronic music developed in Germany before the advent of house and techno in the late 1980s. One focus will be on regional scenes such as the Düsseldorf school of electronic in the 1970s with music groups such as Cluster, Neu! And Can, the Berlin school of synthesizer pioneers like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Manuel Göttsching or Giorgio Moroder's Sound of Munich. Visits will be made to experience Oskar Sala's Trautonium - an early proto-synthesizer with which he created the sounds for Hitchcock's „The Birds“ - at the Musikinstrumenten Museum and the location of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, an experimental club founded by Conrad Schnitzler and Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Students will be expected to competently identify key musicians and recordings of this creative period.

The second half of the course looks more specifically at the arrival of Techno, a new musical movement, and new technology in Berlin and Germany in the turbulent years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, up to the contemporary moment. Indeed, Post-Wall East Berlin, full of abandoned spaces and buildings and deserted office blocks, was the perfect breeding ground for the youth culture that would dominate the 90s and led Techno pioneers and artists from the East and the West to take over and set up shop. Within a short space of time Berlin became the focal point of a new culture, attracting enthusiastic followers from all over the world to clubs such as ‘Tresor’ and ‘E-Werk’. Among those early techno aficionados were writers, artists, photographers, musicians and fashion designers. Techno quickly developed into a lifestyle and mass movement, finding its most exhilarating expression in the Love Parade and, recently, the club/movement Berghain.

As students consider Berlin’s slow transformation from divided city in those anarchic and pioneering days of the early 90s into the bustling, world-class nightlife capital it is today, they will also consider the changing and controversial cultural and socio-economic landscape of the city, and how Berlin continues to retain its uncompromising, avant-garde ethos. Students will be expected to write final research paper drawing on issues discussed in class and in the readings. 

Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies

REMU-UT 9815 | 2 units

This course is not offered every semester, subject to availability.

There is no pre-requisite for this course. This course will count towards required Technology electives for ReMu majors.

This unique course introduces students to innovative and cutting-edge technologies of sound, video, and interfaces that are changing the way music is performed, produced and received. Music and creative technologies have shifted in the last years from preset-focused black-box devices to open and hackable hard- and software. Examples are MaxMSP (Ableton), the Kinect Motion sensor, VR Platforms or open source music instruments like Korg’s Mono series, little bits or bastl. This shift enables artists today to understand the inner workings of instruments better and engage a very different working process: these days, devices can more easily be created and manipulated, forming future tools and creating a rich variety of different media.

The course consists of both a theoretical and a hands-on part, and has a workshop component.

No special knowledge like programming or electronic skills is presupposed. As this course is intended for students from different disciplines, the content will flexibly be adapted to the level of knowledge of the students, especially for students with little or no technical background.

Experiments in the Future of Performing and Producing

REMU-UT 9814 | 2 units

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1004 Producing the Record: Side B, with a grade of C or better or comparable course. This course counts towards Recorded Music electives.

The purpose of this workshop is to expose students to forward-thinking ways to conceive of creative approaches to performing and producing.  As the traditional global recorded music economy has diminished over the last two decades, live performance and touring has become an increasingly important and primary source of income for recording artists. Record producing — once a stable artform largely tied to the manufacture and distribution of physical products like the album and the CD — is evolving in a post mp3, post-ownership moment dominated by streaming services.

During the first half of the course, students will strive to produce original music that draws on a long history of experimental studio practices and techniques. To achieve those aims, students will be exposed to Germany’s key historical role in helping to radicalize the use of the recording studio in the 20th century, as well as the innovative work of composers like Olivier Messiaen, Stockhauser, Steve Reich, Joe Harriott, Anthony Braxton and Iannis Xenakis. They’ll also consider contemporary experimental approaches to making recordings that include sound art. In the second half of the course, students will work with their instructor to find creative ways to stage the original music that they’ve written and produced. The focus will be on immersive performance, and the incorporation of cutting-edge electronics and live visuals, with an eye to experimental spectacular performances of the past (Yma Sumac, Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones, Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, Diamanda Galas, Bjork, etc.) The semester will end with a final concert at a Berlin based music venue.

Internship Seminar and Fieldwork

NODEP-UA 9982 | 4 units

This course will count towards the Industry Internship requirement for Recorded Music majors.

This internship course is focused primarily on community placement. With the guidance of the instructor, students independently reflect on and formulate concepts relating directly to their community placement (normally, an internship or volunteer opportunity). The community placement, which the student actively participates in securing with guidance from the relevant site or professional personnel, falls within the area defined by the student ́s concentration and, as much as possible, relates to their individual academic interests.

The course provides students with eight seminars (full-class sessions and individual conference meetings) and support for their placement, as well as for the preparation of their final project. The seminars focus specifically on intercultural workplace skills, the exchange of project plans, the improvement of research, argumentation, and writing skills. 

Students must apply for the academic internship in Berlin.  Students can access information about the internship, instructions, and the application here.    

WHAT COURSES SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Depending upon your entrepreneurial focus within the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, enrollment in the following courses is suggested:

Business Focus

  1. German Language (4 units);
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units); 
  3. Popular Music in Germany (2 units);
  4. PLUS one elective, such as Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units); Internship (4 units); AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)

PRODUCTION FOCUS

  1. German Language (4 units); 
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units); 
  3. Popular Music in Germany (2 units);
  4. Experiments in the Future of Performing and Producing (2 units); 
  5. PLUS one elective, such as Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units); AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)

PERFORMANCE/SONGWRITING FOCUS

  1. German Language (4 units); 
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units); 
  3. Popular Music in Germany (2 units); 
  4. PLUS two electives, such as Experiments in the Future of Performing and Producing (2 units); Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units); AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

  1. German Language (4 units); 
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units); 
  3. Popular Music in Germany (2 units); 
  4. Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units) 
  5. PLUS one elective, such as Internship (4 units); AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)

JOURNALIST FOCUS

  1. German Language (4 units); 
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units); 
  3. Popular Music in Germany (2 units); 
  4. PLUS two electives, such as Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units); Internship (4 units); AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)

Program Dates

Fall 2017

Student Arrival: Monday, August 28, 2017
Student Departure: Thursday, December 7, 2017

Spring 2018

Student Arrival: Monday, January 22, 2018
Student Departure: Saturday, May 19, 2018

ADMISSIONS

Deadlines:

Spring 2018: Friday, September 15, 2017 at 5:00PM ET

For more information, please view our Admissions Calendar.

Please note that this program is mandatory for all Recorded Music majors. If you are a non-Recorded Music major, you should apply via the Tisch Special Programs Study Abroad application portal using the Apply button below.

This application is now open to non-Recorded Music majors and visiting students.

Expenses

  • Academic Year 2017-2018 Full-time Tuition, 12-18 unit flat rate per term: $26,451

Additional Fees Include:

  • Nonrefundable Registration and Services Fee: $1,261
  • NYU Housing: Visit the NYU Berlin website for options and costs

Please review the Tisch Special Programs cancellation policy.

Visit the Office of Global Programs for additional study abroad costs.

SCHOLARSHIPS & FINANCIAL AID

There are opportunities for financial assistance to study abroad.

Please review the Scholarships and Financial Aid for Study Abroad page for more information.

HOUSING

Visit the NYU Berlin website for housing options and descriptions.