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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by cadillac, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    I am planning on attending Berklee next fall, and I was wondering what everyone has heard about the school. Is it a good choice? Thanks in advance for the input.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Search old threads. Consensus: easy to get in (they want your money); everyone there will be better than you; competition and 24-7 practice will rob you of some playing enjoyment.

    Some Olympic-style four digit judging will determine your initial place in the pecking order. You'll bust your hump to improve that rating. Or drop out to pursue gigs. Good networking opportunities, assuming you know how to network. Great players who graduated from there were great going in. That's about all I got.
  3. Sounds very similar to North Texas. One great point - the great graduates were probably pretty damn good freshmen, too. Stringently measuring yourself by their standards can be rough on you. The best benefits I took from my brief time in NT's music school (graduated with a finance degree) were:

    * Exposure to incredible players and the realization that you are not the big dog anymore (trust me - unless your last name is Garrison or McBride, you're not the big dog!:D)
    * BIG EARS! The ear training blew my mind and continues to pay massive benefits today. The people who really excel at this are in the best position to succeed throughout their musical careers.
    * Exposure to new music.
    * A better understanding of how to be a professional and how to meet professional expectations.
    * Instant calling card. Despite my finance degree, many people still look impressed when I mention NT music. It help to open doors, but it can also raise expectations.

    Every one of the points above will apply to Berklee as well. From what I hear, it's an amazing school and if you'll have TONS of growth opportunities! Good luck! :)
  4. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    Christopher, you make Berklee sound terrible. What other schools would you suggest? Thanks
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Well, no. That was a digest of posts on the BG side that I've seen by Berklee alumni. I have no doubt that one becomes a better player by going to music school; beyond that, I'd say the value of a music education is somewhat dubious. Music careers are iffy regardless of pedigree. Feel free to disagree.

    Berklee and North Texas State have the "brand" names for jazz education. USC and Univ. of Miami have decent jazz programs as well. I think Eastman might have one too. Check downbeat magazine's site; they list all the good programs.
  6. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    Thanks Christopher, I'll check those schools out. I know Eastman has a good program. I just want to spend my money in the right place.
  7. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Inactive

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass

    Cadilac, I go to berklee. Feel free to ask me some questions.
    Everything Cris says is true cept hes says it all in a negitive context.

    Berklee is a great place shure it can be brutal but this is the music industry.

  8. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    Hey Andrew, how is the career placement there? I would imagine that it is pretty competitive

    Also, what would you, or anyone else, suggest majoring in? What is your major? I was considering performance, but someone told me it was a waste and to go with the education major. Thanks for your help.
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001

    What are you looking at getting out of school? I think would help determine if school is for you.
  10. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Inactive

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass

    Career placement,This industry has many doors most of them are open by people you know berklee has one huge advantage over alot of schools because of its size.you will meet thousands of people some of whom will someday be in a possition to give or steer you towards work.To me this is one of the school unwritten values.
    The traditional carrer placement thing there is a depertment devoted to it Im not shure of how mutch they go to bat for you.I have checked out the bullitin boards out side of the department where there is postings looking for players but to honest ive never gotten any gis that way for me its all been who you know.
    Ive got to go ill anwer the others questions in a couple of hours

  11. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    Ray, I want a school that can build me a good foundation for a career in jazz. I am considering a duel major in performance and education. I live near Southern Illinois Univ. of Edwardsville, and people tell me that it is as good as Berklee. But i would prefer to go away for school. I don't know if you have heard of him, but Reggie Thomas(piano) runs the jazz program at SIUE. He is a great musician and pretty widly known. Thanks
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Here's the general consensus that I've found:
    • If you're already playing well, school is a good place to both improve and make connections.
    • If you live in a vacuum, it's a better place than where you are to surround yourself with players.
    • If you're going to take out a student loan, make sure that the degree can play for itself.
    • Nobody learns how to play in school. School tends to be a hinderance to your playing, although you tend to learn some neat skills (arranging, etc.)
    • If your eventual plans are to move to a big city, then get into one of the bigger schools, like Berklee or North Texas State. If you're planning on sticking around locally, then that school near you might be better as schools tend to be incestuous and would likely have you nearer the top of the list of candidates when it comes time for you to get a job.
    As for a career in jazz, the most you could hope for from school is to have a degree that would open some teaching doors for you. As a 'street musician', wherein I mean that I never went to school, a pedigree can actually be a bit of an encumberance when dealing with folks like me, as we tend to be sceptical of school players. Ask a NYC player where he went to school, and if he did, he'll not answer too loudly.
  13. Very interesting; I never would have guessed. I would have guessed that the BIG cities are where all the NT, Berklee, Miami, Indiana, etc. players go and have little reunions every night on the bandstand. I suppose it would be like me walking onto a house construction job site - I wouldn't holler about my upper-middle-class upbringing or college education at the top of my lungs - it just wouldn't curry too much favor in that crowd. They just care if you can do the work well. Interesting.
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sorry if I'm an 'old-timer'. When all of my North Texas friends went there, it was called North Texas State. :)

    You do find veins of folks from different schools in the Big Hassle. School connections do persist. I never went to Berklee, but lived in Boston for a bit, and the Boston connections keep coming back all the time.

    Further than the school / non-school thing, being the son of a musician I get a certain vibe that only the kids of players seem to have. Street folks have usually come up learning from all of the old guys, and as a result have a very different set of experiences that school people have. School folks, at least in the school environment, tend to be sceptical of street guys as we are generally bad at dealing with school things, like the politics as a shining example. Musicians' kids have another set of experiences, much like the street guys but even a little deeper. Nothing is quite as painful to me as to get on a traditional fox-trot type dance gig and have a bunch of players that don't know how to do the job.

    Another thing, as far as bass players from college go, is that almost none really seem to have learned play a two feel. This then makes their four feel really strange. I'm getting pretty far off topic for this thread, but go on I could...and on and on and on.
  15. Sorry about that - I deleted it just after I submitted it, but I see you got to it first! :) A stupid thing to get picky about....
    Man, you just described me perfectly! I've been meaning to ask some of the more knowledgeable folks about who to check out for a good two feel. Any suggestions? I do tons of stuff requiring a two feel, so any help you can provide would be most appreciated.

    True, it's way off topic, but still useful...
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Some blatant two feels that I could recommend are:
    • Stride piano
    • There are some great two feels that some of the B3 Organ players use. Sorry, but no good examples that I have names for...
    • Country stride guitar, a la Chet Atkins
    • Souza Marches
    • Dixieland
    • The old 'Broadway Show' two.
    • Ask an available old-timer about 'The Businessman's bounce.
    Jazz has as part of its roots march music, which was popular early in the 20th century. The styles above have that same influence. Hank Williams (Sr.) stuff has the same kind of two feel.

    I never made a notated study of the stuff, so I don't really have any albums that I could recommend. The old guys just kept yelling at me and playing the groove at me until I got it right :)
  17. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Ray, I thought your earlier post was dead-on about jazz-school. (Orchestra school is obviously a whole different story.) But this particular note bears repeating.

    Here's some of the people who studied improvised music at New England Conservatory between 1979 and 1981: Don Byron, Rachel Nicolazzo a/k/a Rachel Z, Regina Carter, Kevin Gibbs, George Schuller (me & George were the #4 rhythm section, and for good reason), Dave Harris, Matt Darrieau, Rick Della Ratta, Bob Nieske, Bill Banfield, Nelson Rangell, Alan Chase, Mark MacSoud, Dominique Eade and Cerci Miller.

    And that doesn't count the teachers: George Russell, Jaki Byard, Jimmy Guiffre, Joe Maneri, Miroslav Vitous, Jack Wilkins

    I ain't braggin' -- I'm a part-time player in Portland, the Jazz Capital of Southern Maine, and my former classmates are big names because they worked long and hard, and earned it. Rather, my point is that I went to school to get my backside kicked, and it was thoroughly, righteously, resoundingly kicked. It still hurts. I'm still glad I went. The company could not be beat.
  18. I just recently had a problem with a drummer in a new trio I'm working in, his 2 was very stiff. The key to a good two is to anticipate the second beat slightly and give it a little accent, and make it so round it bounces.

    Paul Chambers played a really great bouncing two. Monk, who's not far removed from stride, played a cool two too, kinda flip-floppy.
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