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Hello Reader,

Once September is reached, I will be a Junior in High School (Grade 11), and I'm not exactly sure if this year or the next year is the best time to audition for a college that mainly focuses on music, or its music program. My first choice is the Berklee College of Music in Boston. If you are reading this and you were accepted into Berklee or any other school for music, what year did you apply and/or what year do you recommend submitting an application?

Here's an optional follow up question...
I would like to pursue Jazz Performance and the application requires an audition that consists of a prepared solo piece. I was thinking of doing a standard, but any feedback is well appreciated.

Thanks for your time!
-Nick
 

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Are you or your parents able to pay, cash, for the complete tuition for four years at Berklee, and then for another four years to get a degree with which you can earn a living?

If not, you need to consider very carefully whether you want to get in deep debt for a degree that offers basically zero chances for long term remunerative employment.

Berklee is generally considered to have very high tuition.
 

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I think you might be better off discussing your plans with your band director or private teacher since they know your abilities. Also any music teachers around were you live might be able to help you. I have a degree from Berklee in Applied Woodwinds but it's from so long ago that I don't have any current information about Berklee and the application process. There are some people on here who do so maybe they might give you some info. That said Jazz Performance these days means you will be trying to get a job in academia and will probably need a masters degree as well and then you can play some gigs on the side.
 

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I just graduated high school, so let me give you my perspective.
I applied to 7 schools over the course of senior year. I took days off of school in order to make comfortable schedules for each of the auditions that I went to, and I felt that having a good schedule for the audition helped me a ton. Waking up to fly out to New York at 2 AM in the morning in order to go to an audition by 6 in the evening is gruesome and you don't want to do that. Anyways, I auditioned for the University of Alabama (for in-state rates), the Frost School of Music at Miami, Berklee, Steinhardt at NYU, Loyola at New Orleans, the University of North Texas, and the Juilliard School (just because). I was accepted into all of those schools, with the exception of Juilliard (duh), and ultimately I decided on North Texas, mainly because of turf3's point. Alabama, North Texas, and Loyola were the only schools that offered me scholarships, with North Texas offering me an out of state waiver, along with $6,000 a year (adding up to roughly an $18,000 value). Money is a HUGE factor when you're considering colleges, don't forget that.
I urge you to pursue a Music Ed degree, whether it's a traditional program, or one that has an emphasis in jazz. You can play without a performance degree, but it's hard to teach without a teaching certificate. I'm doing a double major with jazz studies and, after I eventually found out that I was admitted into it, music education.
When to apply? Dunno. Beat me there. Just try to space out your auditions as much as possible, with low priority schools (for me, Alabama and Loyola) earlier than high priority schools (i.e. NYU and UNT). That'll really help you with your auditions for later colleges, get rid of nerves, etc. At the end of my auditioning, I was really just kinda going through the motions at that point and each audition felt easier than the one before.
Do a standard. They're gonna frown upon auditioning with original compositions unless you're planning to be a composition major. I did Confirmation for my Berklee audition, and they asked me to play a ballad after that; I played Blue in Green.
Make sure you send in transcripts and apply to all of your colleges EARLY, EARLY, EARLY. Again, apply EARLY. It gets rid of that annoying process and you can just focus on getting ready for the audition. Another thing I'd like to remind you is to not slack off on classical literature. Top schools will usually require you to play a classical piece, and then play a standard. Even when you're accepted and attending the college, they'll make you study classical for a little bit in order to build up technique.
One big thing that deterred me from Berklee was the fact that their program is diminishing. It's really just turned into a school for electric guitarists to learn basic theory, and I didn't see how I would've fit into the program. I'm not telling you to not audition for the program, but that's how I perceived the program when I auditioned and visited there.
Sorry for such a long post, and best of luck to you, Nick!
 

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When I auditioned for Berklee, I played Inner Urge with a backing track and played duo with one of the judges (on piano) on a tune I got to pick (Body and Soul). You should play standards you are most comfortable with. I would not recommend going in with a blues as your prepared unless that is your truly best. The duo portion is the time when they ask to play a tune with you. I think I remember them recommending a blues, but instead I chose a ballad to hopefully impress them more. They also make you sing and clap different melodies and rhythms. Don't forget sight reading.

I won't get into details but I got accepted with a pretty decent scholarship. I auditioned recently(within the last 2 years).

If I were you, I would wait till at least more than half the tuition is covered by free money(scholarships/grants). The school is incredibly expensive, but nobody ever tells you how expensive living in Boston alone is. You can always keep applying every semester until you get the amount you need. I've known several people that do this and it really does work. It just takes a lot of time. Give yourself more time to shed and get to the level you need to be at. If this is truly what you want, you will have plenty of patience and enough motivation to stay at it.
 

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One of the best attorneys I know in NY State was a graduate of Berklee, and then a well known law school ...Can play circles around most professionals out there ...yet he had to make a living ...

another friend of mine walked into berklee about 15 years ago, cme out owning the restaurant he worked at during his stay there ...

and yet another friend of mine graduated with a percussion degree from Berklee and works for NYS DoH

Get what I am driving at??
 

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Yanagisawa A-W01, Yanagisawa SS-902
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1. Why specifically Berklee?? Try other schools (if you really want to go into Jazz Performance) try MSM, The New School, etc
2. Double Major in Music Ed is a must in my opinion
3. I'm going to be a senior in high school and was thinking the exact same thing when I was in 11th grade... Things changed real quick after talk with my teachers
 

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Rofl. Berklee is a fantastic school. If you're loaded, go. If you can get scholarship, go. If you're really really good, go. The are a great many successful musicians who come out of there. Any major festival I see advertised is a who's who of old classmates. I see them on tv with mega stars all the time. I keep in touch with folks with wildly varied careers: touring with major label acts, jazz bands, indie bands, jam bands, starting a movement in modern jazz in New York from the management end, gaining fame as original acts, competing on reality shows, getting Grammy mods and awards, recording hit songs, teaching, and hundreds like me doing club dates.

Praying for the school is a big deal. The idea that you will need to be supported after graduation is ridiculous. Get a job and develop your own business. Yes, it takes a while, but it does for every entrepreneur.
 

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Steve Swallow once said "Wanting to be a musician is not such a good thing, but if you have to be a musician you will b alright..." Times change and schooling has gotten prohibitively expensive. I went to NEC after having an undergraduate degree not in music. After a semester I quit the school and studied with my instrumental teachers at NEC (Robert Brink , violin and Joe Allard Saxophone) and privately with Jerry Bergonzi. I learned more in three lessons from Jerry than anything that happened at NEC. Jerry, by the way, went to Berklee and played with Miroslav and /Herbie and many others but quit and went to the local State Teacher college to finish his degree. He studied piano privately with Madame Chartoff in a room with Herbie Hancock, Charlie Binacos and two other luminaries I can't recall. If your goal is to play professionally, you do not need a school, per se. You may need a good teacher. When I quit the conservatory both my teachers, Jerry and Robert Brink told me about their leaving music school early. With the way the music business is headed, spending 100k + on a performance degree may not be the best way to become a great player. Berklee is famous for giving students "scholarships" for the tuition and then requiring them to stay at the dorm and making all their money that way. The new school lets you pick a teacher and then study with him or her and pay the school , who in turn pays your teacher. They are a middle man. If you want to just study music, there are many great players who teach. A school may let you feel that you are in some way legitimizing your quest, but in the end, it is your quest, and it is legit on it's own and it will be successful if you become the player you aspire to be. Or, it may be successful because of the experience it gives you. I would humbly advise you to find the teacher you admire for his/her playing and pedagogy and go study with that teacher for a year. During that time, work or just practice all day long if you can afford it. Jerry told me the only good part of music school was meeting the cats who went there and networking. Find an alternative way to network and get a teacher. And save your money.
 

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I have a degree from Berklee in Applied Woodwinds and I studied with Jerry Bergonzi for two years after that. I have to agree with everything TraneSpotter says. The best thing about Berklee for me was Joe Viola who was also a great teacher in his own way. I was lucky to get him when I was there. But studying with Jerry was a real eye opener. If you are in the NYC area you can do some research and find a great teacher, get on a waiting list and practice your butt off. You'll probably save a fortune and be a better player. Good luck!
 

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I graduated from Berklee in the summer of '90 (YIKES) with a Bachelors in Woodwind Performance. It was an incredible experience and I'm glad I did it. BUT...... Yeah, there's always a "but". I still have good friends who teach there (one of which frequents this forum) and the cost of going there now is simply mind blowing compared to what it was way back when I was there. Plus, I managed to snag about a 3/4 scholarship, combined with using my GI Bill money from 4 yrs of active duty in the USAF Band, the financial hole I was in after graduating in 3 yrs. was minimal and I paid it off within a couple of yrs. Do NOT...... I repeat, do NOT put yourself into a huge financial hole just to go to a "name school". To be blunt, it's just asinine to do, especially in this day and age. No matter if it's Berklee, UNT, Miami, wherever......go to the place that throws the most money at you and if at all possible, hold out for more. Try to get grants, not student loans.
Lastly, I know MANY great players who went to little, no-name schools and guess what? They do the same gigs I do and have the same opportunities. Never have I been asked prior to being hired for a gig or to teach, where I went to school and although I'm proud of my piece of paper from Berklee, it doesn't matter where you get that piece of paper from. You can either play and/or teach, or you can't.

Good luck with things!
John
 

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Yanagisawa A-W01, Yanagisawa SS-902
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I graduated from Berklee in the summer of '90 (YIKES) with a Bachelors in Woodwind Performance. It was an incredible experience and I'm glad I did it. BUT...... Yeah, there's always a "but". I still have good friends who teach there (one of which frequents this forum) and the cost of going there now is simply mind blowing compared to what it was way back when I was there. Plus, I managed to snag about a 3/4 scholarship, combined with using my GI Bill money from 4 yrs of active duty in the USAF Band, the financial hole I was in after graduating in 3 yrs. was minimal and I paid it off within a couple of yrs. Do NOT...... I repeat, do NOT put yourself into a huge financial hole just to go to a "name school". To be blunt, it's just asinine to do, especially in this day and age. No matter if it's Berklee, UNT, Miami, wherever......go to the place that throws the most money at you and if at all possible, hold out for more. Try to get grants, not student loans.
Lastly, I know MANY great players who went to little, no-name schools and guess what? They do the same gigs I do and have the same opportunities. Never have I been asked prior to being hired for a gig or to teach, where I went to school and although I'm proud of my piece of paper from Berklee, it doesn't matter where you get that piece of paper from. You can either play and/or teach, or you can't.

Good luck with things!
John
+1 totally agree with you John
 

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Lots of good advice from different perspectives on this thread. Unfortunately the OP seems like he disappeared. Hopefully someone will benefit from people's experiences. I wish I had had information like this to mull over before I went to music school. Luckily it was affordable back then.
 

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When you do your auditions at these great schools, talk to current students and staff, too. Talk about anything that interests you that is outside of music. Check out the other facilities on campus and surrounding town/city area. You will have a lot of extra time available to you during your 4 years. The entire college experience is exciting and life changing. Even if music is your life, life is music, too.
 

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Key point here is ROI.

If you put $100,000 in and you can expect to earn $20,000/year in music, vs. putting $40,000 in to get a mechanical engineering degree at a large land-grant state university and start out earning $50,000/year, you need to think carefully about it.

If as I said above, you can afford to pay cash for a Berklee degree, then go for it. Otherwise I have trouble believing that it's worth it for any other than the tippytop of the cadre, those who will probably be successful without it.

If you come out of school at 22 with a $20k income and zero debt, you can exist for a while, try to build your income, live like a poor student, and then if you choose, go back to school and get a degree that earns signficant money, and all you've lost is some time, and you've gained life experiences. If you come out of school at 22 with a $20k income and $100,000 in debt, you're screwed for decades to come.
 
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