Last week, Kyle discussed the realities of being a music student and of the music industry. In the second half of his two-part series, Kyle shares the advantages of combining real-world experience and strategy with a Berklee education.
Assuming you’ve built a solid foundation and haven’t fallen into the traps I mentioned last week, here are some privileges to attending Berklee and more specifically, taking an internship:
Advantage 1: Everyone knows Berklee. My friends in France knew what Berklee was when I told them I was going to apply. The best part is, the further you get away from Boston, the more well known it becomes. The East coast, especially Boston, is so saturated with students and musicians that nothing you do seems to stand out, and you get lumped in as a generic “Berklee Kid”. Because the music scene is so limited here, most of you will move away, and you’ll find that you will be embraced more so than in Boston.
I was even told that if you move around to the other side of the world to Thailand, you can get a job in no time with what would be the equivalent of a six-figure income! Don’t try it though, I just heard that from my friend Bobbi (he’s from Thailand), and I’m not sure if he found a job yet.
Advantage 2: Networking. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: BEFRIEND THE STAFF! Many of your teachers are already in the industry, and if you do well, they may help you after you graduate, not to mention that there is always the possibility of getting hired at your internship site.
Immediately after I graduated, I called one of my old teachers who had been a sort of mentor to me, and asked him what I should do next. We talked for a bit- I told him that I was worried about finding a job, and he gave me some general good advice for the long term. At the end of the conversation, I had an idea of where I wanted to go but still no plan of how to get from point A to point B.
The next day he calls me to say that he put my name in for a spot that opened as a music tech teacher for Berklee’s prep program (City Music), I interviewed that day, got the job, and was teaching for the school I had just graduated from two weeks earlier.
Advantage 3: Berklee programs you with habits that will help you achieve success in the real world. All the systems that seemed lame and tedious while in school are actually excellent habits that you should continue after Berklee.
Wanna look professional when you submit your demo for a TV score? Easy- pack your score into a manila envelope with a CD, and your name and contact info on all three. That is something we had to do for every project at Berklee. Make sure you show up to the session with taped parts. Make sure you have extra parts just in case. All these little details are what will separate two equally talented people applying for the same job. This is just as important when applying for or doing work at an internship.
Advantage 4: An inter-cultural and multi-genre education. I rag a lot about music students’ attitude and the Berklee beach, but possibly the single most consistent quality that I see from Berklee students is the open-mindedness after graduation.
As everyone knows, Berklee is a very diverse campus, and as such, everyone is forced to listen to music from other cultures and collaborate with students from all over the world. As a result, I feel that we genuinely have an open mind to new forms of music, networking with new people, and bridging the cultural gap.
Additionally, our music education is possibly the most well rounded you can get. We cover all of the basic classical stuff and then have a wide span of majors in popular music. Every Berklee student is required to know the basics of improvisation in addition to all other classical forms of training. As far as I know, it is not a core requirement to take any sort of pop improv or jazz harmony classes at NEC.
Any way, I guess the message that I want to get across is this: “You’ve got a good education behind you, and you are prepared to take off running. Just make sure your shoelaces are tied…”
Kyle Pyke is a former Berklee intern at Time Bomb Studios. He currently teaches Music Technology for Berklee City Music– Faculty Outreach, and works as a freelance composer/producer. He graduated from Berklee in December 2010 Magna Cum Laude.
Check out Kyle’s other posts:
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