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Berklee College of Music

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by melodiaopus, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. bpa11


    Feb 9, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    I graduated from Berklee many moons ago after making the bold move from CA to MA. It wasn't half the institution it is now. Then again, neither was the tuition!

    Sure, the faculty was mix of frustrated, underpaid musicians along with true professors who possessed those all-too-elusive gifts of conveying tribal knowledge and inspiring progress. And just like any other community, it's all about cultivating a productive network.

    Based on your prior posts -- your thirst for knowledge & development, and especially your positive mental attitude & determination -- I have to believe you will absolutely thrive there.
  2. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Back from the dead I hope. With a lot of practice time behind my belt as well as a lot of thinking things over; I have come to the conclusion that I don't reallly know what I want to do with either going to Berklee or not. I figured out some things about myself that I wasn't sure of before. My main goal there is to not get a degree, since I already have a degree in music but to go and take classes for Bass and play music. I want to become a great bassist, and I have the passion and drive to so. I have also thought about moving to a state or town to study privately with a bass instructor. Since I have heard that might be a cheaper option than to pay thousands of dollars in tuition and living expenses. After reading and watching some of Scott Devine's lessons this may be the way to go. What are some of your guys' thoughts on this matter?
  3. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    Im a student at berklee right now. You already have a degree in music, if you go to berklee do something which you are not experienced with. They have the film scoring, mpe, epd, music ed programs which are all good.
    If all you want is to get good at bass just go for the private instructor (even have multiple private instructors).
    The only benefits you would get with going to berklee as a performance student is that you get to meet a lot of great musicians which are on the same track as you. And you get to play in the ensembles they have which is another great way to meet musicians.

    The problem I see with berklee for people like you is that they make you take classes such as conducting, all the liberal arts...etc which you probably have already done for your music degree. I think those classes work, just not for your situation.
  4. LaklandWest


    Jul 22, 2010
    Los Angeles CA
    West Coast Sales Rep, Lakland Basses
    It would be hard to respond to all the points brought up, but I will just say - I bet all the bad reviews weren't from graduates, but from people that went and couldn't cut it.

    The list of dropouts is quite prestigious, true. There are also a bunch of dropouts that amounted to nothing. If I were putting money on a dropout or graduate making it, I would bet on the graduate.

    I thought most of he teachers were really great. You don't get the best of the best right off the bat, but - what if you went to school for English or something? Your first year could be with a bitter novelist that had a little success with one and can't get a second one published. It's the same everywhere. At least Berklee has very few TAs teaching classes.

    The connections you will make to other people that are serious about music over four years (or whatever it is) is unsurpassed. There is just a tremendous amount of people you will meet, then they move all over the world, then you meet them later.

    You are completely immersed in music and musicians.

    Like everyone else says, you get out of it what you put in.

    If you are close to Los Angeles, come down and take lessons from a Berklee grad. There are enough of them around here.

    Derek Sivers gives a really good talk about what he wishes he knew before he started Berklee, and how he got in and got much more than his money's worth.

    Be careful who you lend your bass amp to. (Hi Corin)

  5. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca

    If I were you and in your situation I'd shed 8-12 hours a day and then get to playing in live situations asap.

    Everything you need to know about playing bass is out there on the internet or in instructional books. There's no secret to it and no shortcuts, there's no mystery behind it either. It's a lot of hard work.

    You want to learn to improvise? Transcribe, transcribe, transcribe and then transcribe some more and go take lessons from a sax player or jazz pianist/keyboardist.

    If your technique is as good as you say it is then there's no real need for a bass teacher.
  6. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Since most of ambition is to be able to play in any setting with a large influence and scope on jazz I have always felt more gravitated towards Berklee than say M.I. and the B.I.T. program there. Though the program seems like it's almost what I would want to do. I don't want to get another degree per se, but the programs at Berklee seem to be leading towards that direction. If anything I would just go and take all the classes and ensembles I could and hopefully come out as a monster. I'm sure I could acheive this by going to M.I, UNT, Player's School of Music, or any other school. What about taking lessons weekly or daily with a world class bassist, would this be a better option? Possibly just going to PSOM in Florida? M.I?
  7. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I think that my fiance would kill me if I was practicing 12-16 hours a day, plus with my job hours would leave me no time with the soon to be wifey. My ultimate goal is focus on jazz, since I am new to the genre and have only played in school bands where bass parts were written. My walking lines really lack in this area. I have Ed Friedlands walking bass books that I need to really work through. Also, I took a lesson with Chris Tarry which he and I went through some really useful ways to develop my walking lines. I just haven't had the time to practice as much as I would like since my wedding is in a few weeks. Most of days have been planning the wedding with my fiance and our family. So, hopefully once the smoke has cleared from the wedding planning and all the excitement from this I can really get to my practice routine. Also, been thinking about taking a few Skype Lessons from Dave Frank (jazz pianist) on theory and improvisation. I think this would be a great resource to have in my bag.
  8. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    This could be a problem. Then how's she going to feel when you need to make some bread on a touring show, leaving for a week or even months at a time?
  9. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    If you're going to be going to Berkley or MIT you're going to be playing/practicing 12-16 hours day. If you want to become a monster that's what it's going to take. I think you're missing the point you're trying to make. Just going to the school for 6-8 hours isn't going to turn you into a world class bassist, its' the additional 6 to 8 hours of daily practice that's going to do it for you.

    Putting into perspective, I'm married with a 1 year old, my wife is very, very supportive but even my 3-4 hours of practice a day and regular gigs have started to put a strain on our relationship.

    You should make sure your wife truly understands what it's going to take for you to reach your goal.
  10. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    if youre not world class going into berklee, im going to say youre probably not going to come out world class. you may be a better more educated musician, but a lot of that "world classness" is evident early in ones development imo.
  11. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
  12. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    all of which is a good reason that lessons with a good bass teacher at one's own pace seems the most reasonable immediate strategy. If that leads to much improved playing and inprovisation that can lead to a place like Berklee or even more 'private' study or fuller time challenging gigs.

    There's no reason to try and get it all done in one gulp with what you have on your plate. Baby steps with discrete goals -- aware that any progress can branch off in many directions.
  13. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I can see everyone's point. I can see myself practicing 12-16 hours a week, but a day! that seems a little excesive especially on the physical side. When I first started playing bass I probably practiced this in an entire for a good 3-4 years. I understand that class time has no influence on my instrument unless that class time is playing my bass. I know that I could play my bass for that long, and on material that I need to practice, but to be realistic there isn't that much time in the day. Working 9-5 and come home and play for 8 hours straight would make me very dull boy.

    Don't get me wrong, music means everything to me (besides my fiance) and to not get where I want to be is something that scares the **** out of me. There is sooo much that I want learn and have A LOT of practice to do to figure these things out. I have been reading through Mark Levine's Jazz Theory book and it seems to be opening new doors to me. The chapters I have been reading I feel pretty comfortable with, the main thing I would like to learn is reharmanization and chord substitions. Those areas in my theory knowledge are quite lacking. Since, my studies have been classical and not jazz. I remember looking at a piece in the book last night and where one of the composer reharmonized a E-7 chord to an E7#9 chord, and I don't know what makes that a reharminization, what is the theory behind altering the 9th to mimic an E-7? I guess the #9 would act as the minor 3rd what about the G#? If you juxtapose the two chords you get
    E - G - G# - B - D So the #9 acts as the minor 3rd, but why wouldn't they just call it a E-7 and omit the major 3rd out of the E7#9 chord?
  14. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    I am a Berklee Grad, this is ridiculous. You will not and should not practice 12-16 hours a day. You will burn out and more than likely end up damaging your shoulders, wrists, or hands. If one can practice even half that much a day is even a lot to ask. Remember that its a music COLLEGE, there is math, social science, history, conducting, arranging, harmony, ear training, etc.

    Monster players coming in are monster players coming out, but that has NO correlation to a player going in with an open mind and ears. Many players coming in were the biggest fish in the pond they came from, but in the "Berklee" environment filled with those big fish in a bigger pond. Many players come out world class, thinking you got to have Marcus Miller chops to be world class is whack. Do not forget about all the "real" years of experience after Berklee. If you can afford them the agents, promoters, managers, and casters can get you around the world with yer face on billboards in Russia...If you have the cash. In the real world, you have to be on the phone/computer as much as you practice to book your self solid to make no less than 1,000 a week. Remember that unless its cash it has a chance to be taxed, and the proper venues give you a 1099 with your pay. Then take expenses like fuel, gear, travel/ entertainment, practice time, insurance (if you can), and food.
    In this economy more and more less than $100 gigs sprout up because there is always someone hungry for it. Double the gigs for the same pay, and more cost :( Now do you find an agent more appealing with a 11% gross cut?

    I know far more "world class" players that got burned out by the intensity of Berklee, stopped because of the reality that there are a ton of world class players that do not want the life of a musician, can not play after the fact because of loans from Berklee require a job that covers life and the past few years of college. From my time at Berklee than the less than 50 that are still doing it every day and night most have other sources of income (teaching). Of the 50 maybe 8 have earned enough clout to make a decent living for a family.

    MIT??? I assume you meant M.I. (musicians institute), MIT is right across the Charles river so I looked back in threads in confusion. :p
  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Guys like Norm Stockton do skype lessons... MusicDojo I believe is anohter place he and Adam Nitti do lessons
  16. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    forward: I did not read the entire thread... just the first page.


    As a guy who hires professional players...

    I'm always bafled how schools will set out a commercial player lacking four skills

    3-Pro Sound Knowledge

    I have a music degree. I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who had to hustle to get jobs in the real world.

    Did my degree help? Not quite sure I make more than my counterparts as I had to pay for college.
  17. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    i know a lot of people who graduated there. most of them don't appear to me like they really went through a music program.

    on the flip side, there are some great players who went there. i know charlie hunter did..
  18. throughthefire


    Oct 1, 2010
    Melodiaopus, What's your business plan?

    Is your plan to make money out of music, or to go to a music school?

    If you go to a music school, how are you going to pay the ongoing fees? How are you going support yourself while at school ? What are the prospects of making this your career afterwards?

    Remember; music schools make (much) more money out of wannabees than from professionals. I'd say that 80% of people who go to music school don't make enough money afterwards from music to support themselves. NONE of the teachers at Berkeley make 100% of their income from gigs and recording sessions - which is why they teach.

    If you want to play, get out and play. If you want lessons, find the pros out there who give lessons; not bass teachers, or music teachers - find someone who makes their money from playing bass, and who teaches a little on the side, not the other way around. Learn what you can from them - all aspects, not just the playing. Find out who they get gigs from, and get to know those people. Become known in your local area for being reliable, a nice person, and competent, and you'll get the gigs and sessions.

    You already have the qualifications you need - a bass guitar and some ability. Work out what your target is, agree it with your girlfriend/wife, then work together towards that target.
  19. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I did, for almost a year, I was a kid living at home then but it sure transformed my playing. I went from playing single note bass lines to playing Teentown in the span of 6 months.

    If I had the opportunity to practice that much again I would.
  20. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    My plan is to make a living playing music. My goal is to play music professionally and make a living, I'm not expecting to make millions or anything, but enough to support myself and my wife. Music is all I'm passionate about as a career pathway, I don't see myself teaching music at a high school or university since that's not what I want to do. I would be more than fine with playing with a loop pedal at small restraunts and bars making $100 for an evening. My goal is learn how to compose my own pieces and piece together chords and progressions that make up tunes. Playing in band situations is very natural to me since I picked up the bass playing in a band when I started back in 1998. I am a multi instrumenalist with bass being my primary focus and love. My dad plays drums so naturally I picked up the drums and learn a few techniques and skills before jumping on the bass. I picked up the guitar quite naturally since it's a string instrument and somewhat similar to bass playing. I want to learn how to record my ideas and create demo's and send them out to restraunts and bars to get gigs, I don't necessarily want to be a solo bassist (e.g. Victor Bailey, Victor Wooten, Gary Willis etc...) I would like to play music that is challenging and rewarding and be competent enough to get any gig. That is my main goal as a musician and person.

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