The Writing Center @ NEC

NEC is committed to helping musicians develop professional skills in writing, critical thinking, project organization, and time management. Our Writing Center provides one-on-one support to all members of our community. Visit us upstairs in the library (SLPC 303) or book a session with one of our professional tutors.

Our model is collaborative. You have something to say, and we're here to help you say it in the most effective way possible, and in your voice, not ours. To that end, each of our sessions is a conversation. We find the best way to start writing is to talk about your project. More often than you think the words are already in your head; you just need help getting them on paper! Our goal is to help you develop the skills to understand the writing task, focus your thinking, and communicate in a clear and convincing way. 

While every session in the writing center is unique, the guidelines below show you what to expect during your visit: 

Will you fix my paper?

The Writing Center is not an editorial service! While we can guarantee the “after” will be better than the “before,” it’s the process of working together that will raise your work to the next level.

English is not my first language. Can I get someone to check my grammar?

Our tutors are skilled in working with English language learners. Diagnosing patterns of misuse is an important first step towards fluency. We’ll help you identify grammar problems so that you can avoid them in the future.

I don’t even have a draft of my paper yet, can I still get help?

Yes! Brainstorming is a collaborative process. Together we’ll break down the assignment, generate ideas, determine the best structure, and finally, help you identify and avoid common pitfalls like unclear thesis statements, poorly developed paragraphs, unnecessary use of the passive voice, and distracting grammar mistakes. 

Hint: this process might take more than one visit. Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your session!

I have to write a Schenkerian analysis. Do you have any Schenkerian theorists on staff?

We are not content experts, and it’s better that way. All of our tutors are well-versed in the Liberal Arts, but we are not musicians or musicologists. With your input, we’ll develop a thesis statement, ensure that your evidence supports your claims, and make sure that what’s clear to you is also clear to your reader.

I’m applying to grad school. Can you help me with my personal statement?

Yes! In addition to academic papers, we’re here to help you with graduate school and grant applications, resumes and cover letters, bios and program notes. Together with our partners in Entrepreneurial Musicianship, we’ll make sure that your written expression is just as impressive as your musical talent!

Location and Hours

The Writing Center is located in the SLPC Room 303 and is open for both scheduled and drop-in tutorials of 50 minutes each. Our tutors are professional writers and trained tutors who are skilled in working with both domestic and international students.

Schedule Appointment

Staff

Suzanne Hegland headshot

Suzanne Hegland
Director of the Writing Center @ NEC

suzanne.hegland@necmusic.edu
Suzanne directs the Writing Center and teaches College Writing. With Master's degrees in History and Education, and an MFA in Creative Writing, Suzanne has decades of experience working with students of all levels. Living by the maxim, “If you’re bored writing it, your reader will be bored reading it,” Suzanne loves the challenge of helping writers find excitement in the process of discovering their own voice.  

Patrick Keppel headshot

Patrick Keppel
patrick.keppel@necmusic.edu
617-585-1322
Patrick is the Chair of the Liberal Arts department and the founder of the Writing Center. He writes plays and stories and teaches the Liberal Arts Seminar and electives in literature and acting. He feels the best part of working with students in the Writing Center is to see their confidence rise as they begin to understand how they can revise their own writing for clarity and conciseness and how they can develop their own voice.

Tracy Strauss Headshot

Tracy Strauss
tracy.strauss@necmusic.edu
Tracy teaches College Writing, Liberal Arts Seminar, and the Film Studies elective. With MFA degrees in both screenwriting and creative writing, Tracy loves playing with the musicality of words. When she was a college student, she found writing in active (versus passive) voice to be a challenge, but now it's one of her greatest strengths, along with when to use the semi-colon. 

Daphne Strassmann Headshot

Daphne Strassmann
daphne.strassmann@necmusic.edu
Daphne teaches Critical Reading and Writing, College Writing and Liberal Arts Seminar. Daphne is a bilingual writer who has had first-hand experience with the difficulties of learning the English language. She is a firm believer in talking about the writing process before putting words on the page in order to have a clear path to any assignment. She's happiest when she can turn reluctant writers into confident ones.