Thinking of Berklee

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bardolph, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I've been in college for a few years now, majoring in engineering. It's gone all right so far, and I've been of the mindset that engineering will be the main thing and music will be on the side. But I've changed my mind to wanting to do one of two things, either continue at the college I'm at (Michigan State) and get a 4-year degree in music or do a couple years of music classes at my local community college and go on to do something after that, possibly Berklee. I know several folks here are/were at Berklee, so I just wanted some general insight and maybe some info on how to best prepare for a tryout. As I understand it, the better you are the less you pay basically. So if I were to go with the second option the plan would be to take music classes for a couple years, play my ass off, and give a killer audition. Any thoughts?
  2. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    My teacher went to Berklee. What you're talking about also will lead to a life style change. With engineering, you'll do very well financially. My teacher plays in a band to a couple hundred people, teaches on the side, and doesn't have much money, relativley speaking. He's married with 2 kids. His wfie works. They work opposite shifts because they can't afford daycare. They rent a house because they can't afford to buy one. He's a great guy and money says nothing about a person. He's glad he did it. I'm not saying you won't be glad you did it, but know how it will affect your life. There is that chance you will score a great gig and make tons of money. More likely than not, you will end up in a situation like his. Again, I'm not saying its a bad situation, but will you be happy in a situation like that?
  3. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Doh, another one of these threads.

    I'm there now, if you do a search you can find a bunch about it. If that doesn't turn up the information you want, feel free to PM me.
  4. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Ah I forgot, the deadly sin of posting about things that are also in other threads. This is a big decision, and while I value and utilize the search I also want to talk directly to bass players. Ty, thanks for the insight. I'm well aware of the financial difference between engineers and musicians, and if I were to do this it would be to become a better musician not necessarily with a goal of "making it big." I have no plans for a family any time soon, BUT that's a topic all its own that I don't plan to get into. I think I'll take you up on the PM Snarf, thanks.
  5. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    go to M.I. instead. The weather's better in hollywood. There are are lots of hot young eurotrash chicks in the vocal school to date. Earthquakes help keep life exiting.
    It's just a better experience all around.
  6. John123z


    Jul 7, 2006
    Hershey, PA
    Forget the music classes at your local community college. Berklee won't accept music credits from other schools and you probably already have all the gen ed's that they will accept.. You want to audition for their "World Scholarship Tour"

    Don't expect a lot of money because Berklee is not a very generous school. If your incredible you could get a free scholarship. If your very good you might get as much as $10k, that will leave you to pay around $28k per year. Berklee doesn't require auditions for admissions. Basically they will take anyone. That's why they have a poor graduation rate. Also, everything is ala carte. If you want to take instruction on additional instruments, I believe it's about $1000 per semester per additional instrument or voice.

    Just my opinion, stay and get your engineering degree and take as many music classes at M State as you can. Then if your still interested after graduating, go to Berklee for one of their 1 yr. certificate programs.


    p.s. Just as a side note. I always noticed that so many grammy winners had Berklee listed in their resume. Then I looked a little closer and noticed that they attended Berklee. Rarely have they graduated.
  7. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005

    They do require an audition for admissions now. That policy started a year ago.

    Oh, and DO take music classes at your college if they're available to you. You'll be able to test out of certain classes at Berklee and into better ones.

    And I'm just sayin' that almost everything I would say in this thread, I've already said elsewhere several times, along with plenty of others. It's not meant as a bash on you at all, it's just that I don't want to type it all out again and forget some parts. :p
  8. If you have lots of time and money to burn, go for it.

    I went there for 4 semesters, I did learn a lot, however they certainly won't teach you how to make money unless you play real book gigs.

    Really though do yourself the favor and get your engineering degree and then have fun with music and learn on your own.

    I hate to be so blunt but it's a tough world out there.
    Good Luck,
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I have a friend who got a full ride to Berklee from that scholarship tour....

    Very true. The best thing about going there is the contacts you make.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Mich State has a good music program. How do you rate among the players there? Are you the top player? The competition at Berklee will be 10 times greater (or more). Berklee is one of those places that the cream rises to the top very quickly and the rest just fight to stay afloat.

    If you're already a happening player, Berklee is good for networking.

    You could always stay at Mich State and minor in music (or double major) and then do a grad degree in music if you want to teach.
  11. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Thanks for all the info. I know one of the biggest factors here is simply "how good is this guy anyway?" What I'll tell you I really mean in no way as bragging, just what I believe to be true. I am a very musical person. I can hear things and play them back. I can identify pitches and chords as I hear them. I've had the ability to recognize and reproduce melodies since I was pretty young. As a bass player I would say I am very solid and can handle a good variety of gigs. But I realize I'm young and there's no substitute for time and experience under your belt. A large reason for doing a couple years at a community college would be to have time to improve my skills on reading, theory, repertoire, and just getting out and playing more. As a musician, I believe that my potential is very big and I will be able to be the type of player that others want to hear and play with and be networked with. I think having a couple years of music classes and putting in time studying/playing music would be good for preparing to give a great audition and to be at a place like Berklee.
  12. John123z


    Jul 7, 2006
    Hershey, PA
    OK enough puffing..

    First thing is to audition for the "World Scholarship Tour". The closest one to you is in Ohio on Mar 5th & 6th, or you can travel to Boston. That audition will tell you how much Berklee wants you..

    If you search Berklee on this forum you will see that there are a lot of great bang for the buck alternative schools for bass.

    One big concern you should have is ROI. Return on investment. If you don't get a deal, you will be leaving Berklee with bill of $144,000 plus whatever you owe for you (2) years of engineering school. Now, if your family is financially well endowed, then thats no big deal. Otherwise that a big albatrose around you neck.

    So basically, if you got the cash (not loans) and the talent then go for it. It's a cool school, I visited there twice with my daughter. They gave her a pretty good deal, but she decided she was more interested in musical theater.

  13. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005

    Hmm . . .

    A couple years of music classes? Well that will help, but the cats who go far at Berklee have been deep into theory, reading, repertoire, and improvisation since they were 11 years old.

    What you really want to be able to do is to come to Berklee with as hefty a scholarship as you can get, play with people, maybe play on some teachers' gigs, and find some work through who you meet. I made the mistake of going to Berklee too early, I should have waited a year and practiced 8 hours a day. But 2 years in, I'm now making the connections that I should have been making when I started. Berklee WILL make you a better player if you've got talent, ears, and a work ethic, but you want to be sick starting out.

    Oh yeah, and all my connections are a result of playing upright. If I didn't have the doubling thing happening, I wouldn't be where I am now. It's much, much harder as an electric bass principle to get that far. There are those who do it like Janek and Tony Grey, and a couple of the new cats who are doing it are Evan Marien and Danny Hones. A part of why Evan and Danny are doing well is because of who they associated themselves with (setting aside the fact that they are amazing players because to get with those people, you need to be great anyway). But for most people, Berklee and otherwise, you should be playing both upright and electric to get the full networking experience.

    To be here and get people to actually want to play with you, you have to hold it down and don't falter, always play with absolute authority. Be able to look at a chart for 5 seconds then play it. Be able to sight read parts quickly with little to no rehearsal time (of course, depending on the complexity of the part, whoever wrote the chart may cut players some slack there. I've played with plenty of sax players who get a Brecker chart and can instantly play the melody, they didn't even have to think about it. That's the kind of reading chops you should be working for. You won't need those chops all the time, but they're important to have. I'm slowly getting to that point). Be hip. Learn the language musicians speak, learn the hang, just be cool. If your soloing chops aren't up there, don't over-reach. But if you do have mad chops, use them tastefully and musically, that will get you noticed.
  14. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Let me explain myself better. It's not as if I haven't been working on things such as theory and reading and playing gigs already. I definitely have, and I already have those types of skills, but two more years of doing more of it can only help, and I'd be able to save up more money. I'm not saying the two years would be my preparation, but could be used to add more to my preparation.

    Berklee isn't the only non-engineering option I was considering. That option is to do some community college and go on somewhere from there, maybe Berklee, maybe somewhere else. So I'm definitely open to many options. I was just trying to address the Berklee option in this thread.
  15. IMO, what you learn in a music school you can learn from a very good teacher. The main reason I see that anyone would go to a music school is for networking and building up contacts. At Berklee you're literally surrounded by thousands of other musicians that are just dying to play with other people, so that equals a lot of contacts.

    When I first started college I was majoring in electrical engineering and then decided to switch over to music. I finished the music program at my school and did find that I was a better musician after completing it, but I don't think it was worth the time. Everything that I learned in my theory classes, I could have learned from a good bass teacher in a lot less time, and a lot of the stuff I did learn was completely useless to me because it didn't apply to what I was interested in. I was planning on getting my degree, but I decided that I didn't need a piece of paper that says I can play music, so I switched my majors again, this time to business. I still play in the jazz band at school to keep me sane, but I wish I would have just gotten a teacher outside of school and not wasted 2 years there.

    If I was you, I would stick with the engineering and just go find a really good bass or piano teacher. Chances are that if they're really good, they have a lot of contacts and can help you out in that department if you need it.