The Berklee College of Music is located in Boston, Massachusetts and was founded on the principle that the best way to prepare students for a career in the music industry is to educate them in the study and practice of contemporary music. Founded in 1945 by Lawrence Berk, the school was originally a jazz school. In the 1960’s, the school recognized the guitar as a principal instrument and rock-n-roll hit campus. In 1966, the school graduated its first fully accredited baccalaureate class.
There are nearly fifty student organizations on campus and numerous venues both on and off campus in which students may exhibit their talent. The Cat Shows are a prestigious get together where students perform after hours in the cafeteria. Performing here is a big deal – students must apply. The Red Room and cafe 939 is the campus new all-age club and a great place to grab lunch and either see or perform in a show, open-mic night or jam sessions. Students have numerous opportunities to perform regardless of level and these are perfect opportunities to make friends and connections in the music industry.
Bachelor and Certificate Programs
Musicians from all over the world come to study here and as a result, the college has the highest international student percentage of any United States college or university. Not only are students exposed to a large diversity of people from many different cultures, they also interact with a wide range of different styles, instruments and career options and may receive a bachelor’s degree or certificate in twelve areas of study.
Many students also opt for a dual degree program, and that is an extremely viable option due the fact that students accepted to the college generally have more than one area of musical interest or talent. Dual major programs take five years to complete and are available to students seeking either degrees or certificates.
When thinking about a school of music, typical areas of study such as composition, music history and music education come to mind. Modern courses of study are also available. The school offers students the opportunity to become professionals in the innovative fields of music therapy, electronic production and design and music business management.
The school offers an accelerated MBA program in which students may receive graduate credit for the music business management courses that they have taken while pursuing their undergraduate degree. This degree is in collaboration with Suffolk University and may be obtained in about eighteen months. It is typically an eighteen-course degree, but may be reduced to fourteen if the student took appropriate classes during their undergraduate career.
There are several international programs as well. Managed by the Office of International Programs, students may choose to participate in such programs as Berklee on the Road, Berklee Study Abroad and the Berklee International network. Students get the advantage of gaining experience via interacting with other people in their industry around the world while still earning their degree.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admission is extremely competitive and the school seeks only those students who have high potential in their field. Students who reflect the diversity of what the school has to offer, and have a high aptitude in their genre, be it singing, playing, writing, or aptitude for the business side of music in teaching, therapy or production, are the students that are chosen to attend. Through their holistic approach to the application process, the admissions department considers the student as a whole and evaluates the potential for success in the music industry.
To begin the application process, students will need to submit an application The application will be thoroughly reviewed, taking into consideration every strength that a student possesses. During this process, admissions officials are looking for students who are unique, creative, work well with others, are problem-solvers and who keep an open mind. Students will also need to audition and interview in order to be considered for acceptance.
Both academics and musical ability are considered, but applicants are not required to have a minimum high school GPA or standardized test score, nor do they have any specific high school course requirements. The school does require that all students be fluent in English and eligible for higher education.
The interview and the audition are the applicant’s time to shine. It should reflect every aspect that the student will bring to the school’s diverse and dynamic environment. Regardless of the student’s skill set, they must care deeply about music and let that shine through. Simple talent is not enough to get an applicant accepted; they must exhibit their own unique perspective and demonstrate how they are going to positively contribute to the school and the industry of music.
As an accredited college of higher education, the college offers student aid in the forms of both private and public, need-based and merit-based scholarships, grants, federally subsidized loans and student work programs. The first step to receiving federal financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Financial Aid available online in January. Financial information for both the applicant and family is required in order to complete the FAFSA.
Student Financial Aid Details
Though they do not offer any varsity sports of their own, the college works in collaboration with Emerson College in order to provide athletic opportunities to their students. Students are eligible to try out for any of Emerson’s varsity sports programs. These include men’s and women’s basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Men may additionally play baseball and women may choose softball. Intramural sports such as hockey, basketball, soccer and volleyball are available on campus.
The Live Well program offers different activities and workshops throughout the year in order to promote nutrition, exercise, proper sleep habits and stress-reducing habits. The program encourages students to live a healthy, balanced life and to make good choices using a holistic approach to health and wellness. The school also works with local fitness facilities and programs in order to offer student memberships at a reduced rate.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.