Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

How We Hacked Our Berklee Experience: Tips from Alumni

“Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock!” Hannah Montana back in the day said it best, and as we head into the second half of our school year, the student team at Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) has been wondering, how do students rock their Berklee experience? It’s safe to say we’ve all come to Berklee with the intention of learning. However, learning has many different forms. The Majors Grids we follow for academic completion are very helpful, but what other practices have we used to personalize and curate a collegiate career that is right for us?

As we close 2018 and prepare for the new year, the BerkleeICE team asked various alumni about their personalized Berklee experiences.

Our question was: How did you hack your Berklee experience? Share some tips for current students on how you made the MOST out of your time and investment at Berklee!

We’re thankful for the gems they’ve dropped! This Thanksgiving, we wanted to bring words of encouragement to the dinner table. Nourishing our bodies is important, but we cannot forget to feed our minds!

Interested in learning more about “Hacking Berklee?” Check out the minor and courses in creative entrepreneurship we’re offering this Spring!

Alanna U. and the BerkleeICE Student EmployeeS

Part of attending Berklee is learning to advocate for yourself; no one is going to spoon feed you outside of college, so this is an opportunity to learn how to feed yourself.

Kat Maclean-Daley
Class of 2017

Think service first, get involved in your Berklee community. You’ll grow through the experience, meet new faces and create life long relationships. Remember your network = your net worth.

Dejehan Hamilton
Class of 2016

Make friends with a student who is a year or two ahead of you – I found this to be invaluable for having someone I could go to for advice on anything. Someone who I could go to for professor recommendations, class spacing, scheduling, and a general support person when things got tough. It then felt good to pass on what they told me to another student who was a year or two behind me. Let’s continue the cycle. We are all trying to do well, there is no reason we can’t help each other.

Tara Jamieson
Class of 2017

Get to work! Get hungry, be everywhere, do everything. You want a functioning career in your field before you leave. Think ahead & don’t be scared to reevaluate & change, but have a goal and direction, always.

Bas Jensen
Class of 2017

Don’t ever forget why you love music. As a music therapist using music all the time at work can be exhausting and when you’re a student, classes can feel just as stressful. Don’t forget that you are incredibly talented to have gotten where you are, and while critiques and constant knowledge can feel overwhelming, remember that you are amazing! Look around you, everyone is so talented and unique. Every one of you have something to give to each other and eventually the world. Your music matters, your voice matters, and this experience will unleash a different part of you that one day you’ll truly appreciate. Love every moment even the late night stressful ones, because those moments will make you grow.

Missy Rose
Class of 2017

Once you get your roots in the community, both inside and outside of Berklee, and work is really flowing, learn the art of “NO.” Know your worth and know your limits. Losing sight of that will inevitably lead to sickness, both physically and mentally. I know we’re all hungry out here, but you gotta look out for the potential longevity of your career. Don’t burn yourself out in the early stages.

Matthew Elisha Cheney
Class of 2017

Network. Get out the caf, meet people beyond your race/culture, connect with your teachers–they will pass on opportunities if your dedication shows. Be seen… but be humble. Just speak to people. Networking is crucial. Being at Berklee is a start.

Step outside of your comfort zone. You are in school to LEARN, not to become a “Berklee Celeb”. Join an ensemble that has a genre of music you’ve never played before or that you’re weak in. You are there to LEARN. You are at school with people from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Get to know them, learn from them….step away from what you’ve mastered for a bit.

Arnetta Johnson
Currently playing Trumpet for Beyoncé Knowles
Class of 2016


Students Interact with Top Industry Players at Internship Expo 2018

The Career Center’s Internship Expo this fall was an exclusive opportunity for students to network with over 20 employers from across the arts and entertainment industries. Here, students Ananya Ruth Samuel and Sam Smith share their reflections on the opportunities and experiences they encountered this year.

Ananya Ruth SamuelsAnanya Ruth Samuel

“I am a music therapy major and was skeptical about gaining anything from the Expo. I was surprised to find that there was a representative from Massachusetts General Hospital with opportunities for the Health and Wellness community. Regardless of my major, I gained confidence in talking to industry professionals and learning what each company offered to future interns was exciting.”

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Check from Larry Berk to Joseph Schillinger

Active History: Experiencing the Past and Future through Music

By Andrew Schroeder

Andrew Schroeder giving a presentation in the Berklee Archives

Andrew Schroeder gives a presentation in the Berklee Archives.

One afternoon in the Berklee Archives, as I combed through innumerable folders containing records of Berklee’s younger days, I happened upon an old check. It was a stub for music lessons. The check was written to Joseph Schillinger and signed by none other than Berklee College of Music’s founder, Lawrence Berk. In 1945, Berk would open Schillinger House, a new school dedicated to teaching the Schillinger System of Musical Composition. In 1954, Berk renamed Schillinger House to Berklee School of Music, after his son, Lee Berk. Here was a transactional snapshot of a relationship that would be integral to the formation of a world-class institution, and I was holding it.

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In Memoriam: Bill Gitt

Dear members of the Berklee community,

On June 8, William “Bill” Gitt, former faculty member and chief engineer at Berklee, passed away at age 86.

Born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, Bill got his start at Dartmouth College in the early 1950s, as a student building electronics for the college’s radio station. He joined the U.S. Army after college, where he expanded his knowledge of electronics. Bill contracted at RCA for the army on the first silicone-based computer in Camden, New Jersey.

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In Memoriam: John Marasco

Dear members of the Berklee community,

This week Berklee lost a longtime colleague, mentor, collaborator, and educator, John Marasco, who passed away after a long illness on September 11, 2018, at the age of 65. John was a faculty member in the Guitar Department for more than 30 years, and his loss is felt deeply by all who knew him throughout his long career as a musician and a teacher.

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