Rohan Elkins, a young, local musician from Framingham, MA, recounts his experiences from summer day sessions and how it has impacted his approach to music. Rohan’s mother, Cheryl provides insight as well on what it means to be a parent of a young budding musician.
Rohan what is your instrument and how long have you been playing?
I am a Latin percussionist at heart, and I’ve been studying for 7 years now. I have been studying bongos, congas, timbales, other auxiliary Latin percussion, and I’ve picked up jazz drum set. Recently, I have been learning how to play French horn and euphonium.
Which Summer Program did you attend and what drew you to Berklee?
I attended the Summer Day Sessions, the middle school program, during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013. I was drawn to Berklee because of the personality of the school, its reputation, and its great location in the heart of Boston. I really enjoyed being on campus and I truly miss the atmosphere now that I am not there.
What was your favorite part of the program?
My favorite part of the program was being able to play with kids as passionate about music as I am, which was an awesome feeling and experience. Our Jam Sessions were amazing, the vibe was so energetic and electrified and last year, we had the Day Sessions program director, Dominick, join in because we were having that much fun.
How has your time at Berklee influenced you as a musician?
My time at Berklee has allowed me to be more open with myself and my music. Its also given me the confidence to be apart of extracurricular activities both in and outside of school. The amount of knowledge I gained from the 4 weeks of camp the past 3 years has been enormous, and I want to continue to expand that knowledge.
Cheryl how did you find Berklee?
I found the Summer Day Sessions Programs purely by accident the year Rohan was in sixth grade. I was looking to find a summer camp for Rohan that would allow him to explore his interest in Latin music and hand percussion, while gaining experience in playing in a small ensemble setting. I was so pleased to find a program geared toward middle school students and hoped that Berklee, given the strength of its performance programs and its renowned staff, would be a great place for Rohan to explore and grow his musical talents.
In what ways did you feel Berklee was a good fit for Rohan?
Rohan has had a passion for playing hand percussion and Latin music since he was very small. Berklee’s summer sessions provided him an opportunity to participate in a Latin jazz ensemble with his peers in a truly supportive setting, a crucial element for young musicians. The Day Sessions program helped Rohan become a better and more complete musician. His daily classes covered music theory, improvisation, skills development for his chosen instrument, with lots of ensemble work. His peers came from as close as Boston to as far away as Poland, Romania, Argentina, and Singapore. I have to admit the Day Session’s program completely exceeded my expectations in every aspect, and Rohan’s enthusiasm for music is proof that it was an excellent fit for him. There was no question that he would return to the summer program the next two years.
From a parent’s perspective, How has Rohan’s time at Berklee influenced him as a musician?
Rohan and I were just talking about this earlier this week. Rohan is a freshman in high school this year and recently, he auditioned for the jazz ensemble, a small group that is very competitive. This can be a very intimidating situation for a young musician. Rohan commented that it really wasn’t stressful for him, mainly because of the experiences he gained at Berklee. From working with the Berklee faculty, to just playing to an audience on a consistent basis, Rohan became confident in his abilities and that helped him manage the situation. So, I’d say that Rohan’s time at Berklee was extremely beneficial. He gained that confidence to just be himself and came away with a better understanding of how to share his musical talents with others.