Question about rock/metal bassists interested in Berklee

Discussion in 'Ask the Berklee Bass Department' started by GK Growl, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. GK Growl

    GK Growl Inactive

    Dec 31, 2011
    My son is a bassist who enjoys more technical rock/metal bass styles. Alex Webster, Nolly, Billy Sheehan, etc. are some of his main influences and he plays these styles very well. Could a bassist actually audition for Berklee with a selection from these styles of music?
  2. Steve Bailey

    Steve Bailey

    Feb 15, 2013
    GK… It is possible to audition with any style of music as long as it showcases the bassist's strength of groove, creativity, harmonic knowledge, and technique. Typically students do something more in the Jazz/funk vein, and reading skills are a part of every audition, along with ear training. Musical diversity is a HUGE cornerstone of the bass department (and Berklee in general) and we encourage that. IF your son is ready to really learn his instrument, Harmony/Theory, improve his reading, and a host of other skills to increase his chances of employment, then Berklee is the right place for him.
    I will say that improvisation plays a huge role in the audition, so playing a transcription alone, or along with a backing track is not nearly as appealing as hearing him develop a line and improvise.
  3. Danny Morris

    Danny Morris Berklee Bass Department

    Feb 15, 2013
    Tagging in on what Steve said, we are looking for a students potential to succeed at Berklee. It sounds like your son has lots of music in him, cool! At the audition, along with listening to a students prepared piece, I often get on the piano, put on a drum track, and simply start something up. I'm looking to hear how the student contributes to the musical situation. This can be done in myriad styles. There is an enormous breadth of music styles represented on campus, so it's hip to find out where a student might fit in with the Berklee culture. Along with this improvisation segment we try and assess the students potential at succeeding in our core classes. These consist of ear training, harmony, arranging, instrumental performance instruction, ensembles, etc.
    There's so much that can be gleaned in a fifteen minute audition. I've had the pleasure of traveling around the country listening to students. There are so many young creative folks around who want to come to Boston and study. It's inspiring from our angle as faculty. It's just a real vibrant place. Hope you come by and visit!!