Berklee or L.A.?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LazyAssedLover, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. LazyAssedLover


    Mar 5, 2019

    First off let me explain the situation I‘m in right now:

    I am a 19-year old Austrian bass-player looking to study electric bass in the U.S. I have applied to Berklee, LACM and Musician‘s Institute. I got accepted to all 3 of them.

    Now I was wondering if it the city you study and therefore the scene you become a part of and the connections you make, are more important than the program you attend. I am pretty sure that everyone single of these schools has good to great teachers but what does really make the difference? I have heard that a major part of the Berklee graduates move to L.A. So I wondered if it‘s better to study in L.A. in the first place than to study in Boston and move to California after graduating.

    What‘s your take on that? I would appreciate any kind of helpful opinion!
    Luigir and Outtaseezun like this.
  2. Ralph69


    Oct 8, 2015
    Tampa, Fl.
    I would go to Berkley. Also, Nashville is the new LA for musicians.
  3. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    East Coast IMHO.

    Whichever you do, watch this. I wish someone had said all this to me before I went to college:

  4. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
  5. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    I would make my first priority the school that will help make me the best musician the 4 years I'm there. If you go to Berklee now, and show up 4 years later in Los Angeles (or New York or Nashville or wherever) with monster chops, tasteful playing, well-rounded musicianship, and a great attitude, you will make your connections quickly enough.
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Depends on what you plan to do. Gig or teach? I find a lot of Berklee grads end up as teachers. I know a ton of them. Some do a minor amount of gigging but most teach or start a music school. The really good musicians get yanked out of school and gig a lot. If you get into Berklee, you are already a badass.
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  7. Cannot one do both?

    I gigged with half a dozen each: Berklee and GIT/MIT grads in the late 80s/early 90s. Teaching or transcribing was often a side gig(that sometimes paid more than a 4/7 night gig schedule.)
    DWBass likes this.
  8. LazyAssedLover


    Mar 5, 2019
    Thanks so far for all the replies! Really appreciate it!

    So as far as I understand it is better to go to Berklee because of the musical training and move to L.A. in a later point in time? I am definitely not the teaching kind of guy. I would totally do some teaching on the side but to me the main focus is about gigging and playing sessions.
  9. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    That's a question only you can answer for yourself. And then once you have, you might find that opportunities arise in other places, and you end up somewhere completely other than you expected. Whatever decision you make, give it your best.
  10. Berklee is a lot of cake. Probably too much, and I know some bass teachers that don't recommend them.

    It's like paying more to go to an Ivy. The education isn't much better, but you do have the sheepskin and connections that come with it.

    None of my favorite bassists went there.
  11. I am not familiar with the LA scene, but I played in a jazz guitar ensemble in Tucson, Arizona years back, and we did Berklee produced music exclusively. It was definitely pro level stuff that relied heavily on your reading ability. Since those days I believe studying at Berklee will make you a top notch reader, and with that skill you should be able to go anywhere you want. I think a degree from Berklee garners a lot of respect in the music community.

    Thump on,

  12. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    Berkeley is considered to be the most highly esteemed of the music schools (at least of the ones mentioned). Expensive as all get out, but the pedigree will open doors for a lifetime.
    Afc70 likes this.
  13. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    My preference would be for Berklee, however I live in NY so I may be biased, my teacher went to Berklee also, there is a lot of work in NYC on Broadway and in NY in general, along with being close to Europe, both are legal states so you should be ok on that front, good luck with your decision
  14. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Whichever one you choose make sure you’re going in with your eyes open (that means understanding that the session scene is very small and the chances of making a decent living as a gigging musician are slim). Unless you have a scholarship or parents with money then you’ll be paying off student debt for quite a while.
    RyanKinBK and teh-slb like this.
  15. pnutz

    pnutz Supporting Member

    i went to b.i.t. (m.i. in hollyweird) back in the 80's. the one thing that stuck with me most is that i learned more hanging outside the school building with my fellow classmates/musicians than i did sitting in a classroom setting. no doubt my teachers (bob magnusson, putter smith, jim lacefield, et al.) left a lasting impression on me but hanging outside with your bass jamming with other musicians and their varied musical backgrounds was a life lesson no tuition could cover.
    dramatwist, Bob_Ross, DWBass and 3 others like this.
  16. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    I would recommend that you choose none, and select a major and college that would give you a career to pay for your musical career.

    But if you must, look at the amount of alumni and the associated network as one of the big factors in your decision.

    This, of course, is if you don't have a trust fund. If you do, pick the one that interest you the most.
  17. Berklee, especially if you plan to move to NYC

    Unprompted advice from someone who went to music school: Moonlight teaching yourself another in demand skill to fall back on. Be it IT stuff, carpentry, plumbing, or whatever. (This only applies if you need a financially stable career. If you're already set through investments/family then don't worry about it.)
  18. Davbassdude


    Mar 16, 2012
    Back in the day, I played with a couple of Berklee dropouts (one was a guitarist from my part of N.J. and the other a drummer from Brooklyn) who had mad skills, but said that once they got there, they were seduced by jamming with amazing musicians, rather than attending classes and completing assignments. If you have the financial means and the discipline, go for it. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and seriously perform a cost/benefit analysis. In any case: Congratulations on your acceptance to some impressive music programs!
    Mike Whitfield, dramatwist and BOOG like this.
  19. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Berklee is the best option.

    I’ve heard many times, it’s easy to get in to Berklee, but hard to get out. Their curriculum is pretty intense but you’ll learn a lot in a short amount of time and get a lot of playing opportunities in ensembles.

    Plus, the people you connect with there can open up doors to you in New York, Nashville, LA, or in any other music scene.
  20. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    +1 on Berklee.

    Lots going on in Nashville... but it can be a tough place to break into... lots of established "old guard" there.

    Ever consider applying at Belmont in Nashville? Great music school... the weather is certainly better than Boston and life is a little more sane than California. :smug: