Percussion, Piano

An experienced music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, Brooke Sofferman teaches a wide variety of genres including, but not limited to, jazz, classical, rock, folk/Americana, blues, reggae, funk, Latin and world styles. Recognizing that each student comes to CCM as an individual with their own strengths, Brooke strongly believes there is a way to connect to each student and to discover their unique learning style. As he says, “I don’t use a cookie cutter approach, not all students learn the same way, so it is my job to find the way that works for each particular student.  I’ve found you can still teach them everything you feel is important, while using their musical interests as a guide.”

Being a flexible, creative, and inventive educator, Brooke is adept at connecting with his students as individuals and making learning fun.

“Along with all of the hard work a student must put in, I believe music should be fun, or it’s not worth it. I teach students the importance of methods and technical exercises, while drawing on what they want to learn.” Brooke continues, “I have found that incorporating my students’ interests leads to more focus, more practice, and more enjoyment both for the student and myself. I’m also always excited to hear music I haven’t heard before, and learning from my students.”

Brooke stresses the importance of learning all of the technical elements, so that they can best express themselves musically and creatively. He believes that if they are equipped with the necessary tools, they’ll be ready to create music. However, he explains, “I also think it’s vital to be listening constantly to the musicians who have come before us. It’s a language, just like speech, and emulation is the way we all learn. Eventually, we all speak our own way, but copying is the best way to get started.”

His ability to play many instruments allows Brooke to immediately play along with his students so that they become comfortable playing in groups with other musicians, and not overwhelmed or distracted easily. They get a real sense of how multiple instruments work together as a team. He plays and has taught drums, piano, guitar, bass, and voice, in addition to providing instruction for ensembles, theory, ear training and composition. Brooke has also led masterclasses with his quartet, performed at festivals across New England, and is an active member of the Boston and New York jazz scene.

Brooke has been teaching  for more than 20 years at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), where he had also received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. At NEC, he runs several ensembles and teaches composition and various instruments.  Brooke has also been teaching percussion at UMass Boston for more than a decade, in addition to teaching Ear Training, Solfège, and Theory at the Berklee College of Music’s 5 Week Program. His original bands The Sofferman Perspective, The Adventure Time Trio and an organ duet entitled Lean 2 keep him busy along with the demand as a sideman.

Brooke is an avid class 4 whitewater canoeist. He paddles across New England year-round and is the President of the Merrimack Valley Paddlers. Brooke loves XC skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skating, hiking, camping and most things outdoors.

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Musician’s Toolbox: Basics of Music Theory

“Music is all around us. The rhythm of the elements, the melodies of the birds, the sounds of the earth all came before us, and we are forever emulating its magic. I grew up in the woods of Vermont, where I found my initial love of music in nature. Even after moving to Boston, I continued to hear the rhythm of the city and its bustle as inspiration to create. Obviously there were actual musical heroes, mentors and inspiration, but the influences would be too long to list.”