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I want to talk to bassists who have gone to Berklee...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by The_Ryst, Jun 11, 2005.


  1. I have a guy telling me it's a horrible waste of time and that hte professors are blue meanies. Are there any musicians who have gone there that I can extensively talk to? I have AIM and Email.

    aim - Spideyfreakz
    email - sardonic.insanity@gamil.com
     
  2. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Hey, posting here would be cool too. I'm going up there in the fall, would like to know people's opinions about this.
     
  3. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    Well take this either way but I know a few musicians that don't even tell people they went to Berklee because of the reaction some people have.
     
  4. Don't_Fret

    Don't_Fret Justin Schornstein

    Dec 10, 2003
    East Coast, US
    I'm going up there, too. It would be interesting to see what some former students think.
     
  5. Petary791

    Petary791

    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I want to go there... what are these reactions you speak of Muzique Fann?
     
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Sigh.
    A lot depends on what exactly you mean by blue meanies or waste of time. What are your expectations of a music school, what are your goals, where are you currently (in terms of knowledge and ability), where are you geographically? How much of a background do you already have in musical fundamentals, who are you playing with, what kind of music, what kind do you WANT to play? Do you currently study privately, have you ever studied privately? Are you out of high school yet?

    Gimme some answers, we'll know where to start.
     
  7. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    Well, IMO they get a bad rap (Berklee). Lots of people assume that they teach you to sound just like everybody else - the all around 'cookie cutter' bassist with no soul...jazz snob, oh he's a 'Berklee cat', etc. This is why some guys don't even mention it. People might assume you have a huge head or are hard to deal with because you're 'professionally trained'. Granted, there are tons of musicians that went there that sound totally unique - heck, I'd love to go for a little bit. If nothing else, it's a great place to learn tons of theory and meet other guys to start bands with. From what I've heard you have to be very dedicated to stick it out and actually graduate - I know Teen Town used to be a requirement for bassists. Take this with a grain of salt - these are just my opinions based on what I've heard and read.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.

    It's not so much that they teach you to sound like everybody else as it is they teach how make diferent songs sound the same. That is to say, their improvisational approach is HEAVILY based on the chord/scale approach. The jazz scene in NYC kind of runs in cycles - Berklee, NEC, NTS, Manhattan... right now it's pretty heavily New School/Manhattan School. I imagine that the JALC/Juilliard thang is gonna be hitting pretty soon too. Bottom line is - are you making it or not making it? Nobody really cares where you went to school, just what you sound like.
    Hard to deal with cause you're professionally trained? What, are you working with morons? It's only gonna be hard to deal with if you have a professional trying work with a bunch of guys who have no clue - " yeah, play the first part 12 times and then do the riff, and then play the second part , but not ALL of the second part and do the riff up two frets." Cause I got better things to do with my time than sitting around listening to a bunch of morons trying to figure out what the hell they're talking about.

    You kind of get out what you put in. But nobody came out of Berklee burning that wasn't pretty burning going in. Yes you can buy a bass and go to Berklee and come out after 4 years able to do a clubdate. But unless you go in with a good level of playing ability, the ability to play well in a lot of different styles, good reading, good understanding of functional harmony, good sound, good time, good attitude; you don't get in good ensembles, you don't get to session with the players who ARE in the good ensembles, etc. If yer from East Bum**** (like I was), it IS nice being in an environment where there are a LOT of players in your basic skill level around (a littel above and a little below) cause you get a lot of opportunities to play. And for me, since I went at a time when they didn't have a lot of upright players, I had the chance to play a LOT above my level. Now, they got all the upright players they could want so I'd be SOL.

    You don't got to be DEDICATED to last four years, you just gotta have deep pockets. Most cats don't stay the full four years because
    1. they get gigs and are gone (Branford, Tim Williams, Dave Kikoski, Donald Harrison, Makoto Ozone, Kiyoshi Kitagawa when I was there)
    2. they figure out that they are better off just moving to NYC (or I guess LA for the rock guys etc.) and doing sessions and studying privately. Personally I wish I had figured that one out.
    3. they come to the realization that they are not going to be magically transformed into GIANTMONSTERSTARPLAYER and decide to go back home.
    4. they run out of money

    or the city starts ****ing with them. That gets to an amazing amount of kids who come staright outa high school. That and having to deal with being just another cog instead of the "amazingly talented individual" that they were back in the East Bum**** high school band/small town scene.

    It certainly wasn't a requirement to play TEEN TOWN when I was there (unlike playing your 2 octave diminished scales). Certainly by the time you hit your senior year you'd have to SING Bird's solo on KOKO in fixed solfege...
     
  9. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Hmm, very interesting. So is there any instrumental work in Boston? Would rather not go to New York.
     
  10. I think I should respond to this thread, though I'm unsure what to say....
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    LOL!


    Please don't take it personally.:D
     
  12. Don't_Fret

    Don't_Fret Justin Schornstein

    Dec 10, 2003
    East Coast, US
    Damn, Ed, I think you're making it sound a lot harder than it is.
     
  13. Actually, I think there is a LOT of Validity to what Ed is saying....I am asked this SAME question a LOT!! Both in PM's here and when I'm out on the road and in the studio working....my Advice on on Wanting to be a PRO thread in this Forum (a Sticky) is there because of this question to some degree.... I can say this much, I personally am NOT a classically trained musician....I taught myself since age 5 or so....BUT I did go to Full Sail for my Recording Arts degree and it was one of the best decisions I ever made....I learned a lot about the reasons behind the stuff I thought I already knew!

    I HIGHLY recommend getting an education in WHATEVER field you decide to pursue!!!! With that said, I personally know cats that went to Berklee and thought it was going to be the end all be all and that they would have a top drawer gig as soon as they go out.....WRONG!! Going to a certain school will NOT get you a gig anymore than sitting in some small town waiting for the gig to find you will get you a gig!!! One of my best friends (and one of the most talented musicians God has ever placed on this Earth!!) is arguably one of the BEST Guitarists on this planet (trust me, I have played with and recorded thousands over the years!!!)

    He went to GIT back in the Early 90's (I tried to get him to go to DIT, he is a GREAT drummer as well) got out went on the road and lived "The Life" for about 6 years....woke up one day and decided he did not like "The Life" and went back to our small town and hung up his spurs for a couple of years....I ran into him about 6 months ago and he is a Musical Director and Guitarist for the Praise Group in his church.....He has 3 great kids and a beautiful wife that he'd die for and could not be happier!!!

    The moral of my story??? No matter WHAT you think you might want NOW, it may NOT be what you want a little later in life....4 years at Berklee is a LONG time, I know people who have done it...I have another friend that went to GIT, graduated and decided to go to Berklee.....stayed the whole 4 years got the degree and guess what? The guy is back in a small town living off his rich parents!! (He is in his mid 30's) NEVER got a gig in the business....I don't even know if he tried....

    My advice is this...if you are serious and want to become a monster player go to BIT, apply yourself, network, play anything with anybody you can, and take a well rounded curriculum (I would take the Recording class if I could, especially if you want to be a studio player) You'll be out doing gigs playing with projects you like when the guys at Berklee are still in class "Studying theory". I am NOT knocking Berklee, it is a good school....I just don't think it takes 4 years to learn how to be a good player!!!

    Of course this is ALL just MY opinion....

    Peace,

    T
     
  14. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner at Mo's Shop - Tech at Nordstrand Supporting Member

    May 25, 2003
    Studio City+Redlands, CA
    Endorsing artist: Nordstrand - Genzler Amplification - Sadowsky - Dunlops Strings - DR Strings
    Hey there,
    I guess by BIT you mean at the Musicians Insitute, right?
    I agree with you, it depends a lot on your dedication and exposure to the "real world", without forgetting that is harder than what it looks.
    Take care
    Mo'
     
  15. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner at Mo's Shop - Tech at Nordstrand Supporting Member

    May 25, 2003
    Studio City+Redlands, CA
    Endorsing artist: Nordstrand - Genzler Amplification - Sadowsky - Dunlops Strings - DR Strings
    BTW, if you want to get the maximum (and spend a lot of money wisely) from a school like the BIT, first get private lesson, learn to read (at least the basic) and have a little of your skills worked out. It's a very intense school with a lot of opportunity and stuff to learn from experienced musicians (jeez, I sound like a TV promoter!).

    Mo'
     
  16. mo,

    Good points!! Yeah, sorry folks I meant the Musicians Institute in LA.....I forget not everyone knows what BIT is (Bass Institute of Technology).....

    Peace,

    T
     
  17. willgroove2

    willgroove2

    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    i hear you ed,i was trying to make that point on another thread about learning how to read.there is nothing more frustrating than waiting for guy's who don't read or know music theory to either figure out some music or try to teach it to you, but these day's it's something you have to get used to if you want to work with some people.most of the guys i know who went to berklee who i work with (dale prasco,jeff parker)are great players who sounded good going in but i have met some who are hacks.but i also know hacks who went to nec, julliard, north tex,depaul ect.school in general just points you in a direction,it's up to you to go there or not
     
  18. Corbis

    Corbis Guest

    Feb 19, 2003
    Wamego KS
    I think I"m starting to come to the conclusion that there's three schools of thought for music schools here at Talkbass.

    A) Berklee is where its at, MI is no good
    B) MI is where its at, Berklee is no good
    C) They're both no good; they're diaploma farms.

    Not make anyone mad since everyone has valid points, but it seems like people either really like their music school and they suggest it to anyone. Or people dispise there time there.
     
  19. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    I asked my band directors about Berklee and MI. They were far more friendly speaking towards Berklee than they where about MI. I did apply to Berklee-was wait listed.

    I did do some research [note: i have NO real world experience ala Ed and Tommixx] and i decided it was best for me to go to a different type of school. Hince, i'm going to Roosevelt University for their Chicago College of Performing Arts-my parents didn't want me to go to a school that was soley music, they where OK w/a conservatory based out of a university, but they did not want me going to a soley music school.

    Berklee- i think would be awesome to go to for at least a semester or two so that i could get a feel for it and try to see if i could handle it or not.

    Musicians Institute-the main impression i got from the people i asked about it was that it's a trade school type thing vs. an actual college/university. The reaction on my dad's face when he learned about it pretty much said "you can go for a summer camp, you aren't going there for your degree".

    I did have the chance to go to a more local school for music [except i'd be either a classical DB major or a music bus/ed major] for nearly full ride, but-it was either go to Middle of Corn Field Indiana or go to Chicago.

    I'd like to emphasize-go to a school in a city that has a music scene, the best way to learn is by the seat of your pants through experience. [IME] ;)
     
  20. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Alphonso Johnson once told me, "Just be a good player, and you'll get some work." A famous jazz guitarist (sorry I can't remember his name, it's really late) also told me, "Bassists get way more work than guitarists. If you're good and show up on time without an attitude, you'll work."

    Has anyone had experience with those two statements?
    Will Berklee help you with connections more than other schools/real world?
    Do degrees of any kind mean sh*t?