Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: five-week

five-week

The Five-Week Performance Program is Approaching

“Berklee Summer Programs are what I live for each summer” – Stephen Coleman shares his journey to Berklee

Berklee Summer Programs alum and 16-year-old Junior in high school, Stephen Coleman, sat down and talked to us about his time at Berklee over the last three summers.

Stephen Coleman performing

The Berklee summer programs are what I live for each summer.  It really is the greatest place on earth if you love music!

I am a 16 year junior in high school and I have attended Berklee summer programs for the last three summers and I plan on attending again this summer. I have made so many wonderful friends from all over the world coming to Berklee.  One of the most important things I have discovered at Berklee is that there is so much extraordinary talent and there is so much to learn. I live outside of Boston in a town called Wellesley approximately 20 minutes away, and was able to commute to Berklee for the duration of the program every day.  I consider myself a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. I will be applying to Berklee for college next year.  Wish me luck!

Stage Performance Workshop

Stephen Coleman with Livingston Taylor

Livingston Taylor and Stephen Coleman

The first summer program I attended was the Stage Performance Workshop, and it was the best three days of my life! Initially, I heard about the Berklee Summer Programs from the non-profit band program called “Plugged In” which I have been involved in for the last six years. All of the teachers in that program are Berklee faculty members. Berklee faculty/alumni also make up the rehearsal bands that we played with, and also accompanied us in the final performance. At the Stage Performance Workshop, I took classes with the truly amazing Livingston Taylor. I learned so much from him – how to be a better musician, how to be a better performer and perhaps most importantly, he taught me how to develop character in my persona. He is really an extraordinary teacher and person.  I was also able to perform at The Red Room at Cafe 939 during an “open mic” night. Cafe 939 is a Berklee venue that has great sound! I enjoyed every minute of the experience.

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“Berklee is the Best!” Songwriter Kate Diaz Highlights the Five-Week Program

15 year old Berklee/Sonicbids Competition winner and Five-Week scholarship recipient, Kate Diaz from Chicago IL, shares some of her experiences and memories at the 2011 Five-Week Summer Performance Program.

The Competition

I heard about the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance program through a listing on SonicBids.com. I didn’t think I was going to win it, but I thought it was worth a shot so I entered. After receiving news that I was a finalist, I was very excited. It was a tough decision for my family to decide to fly me and my mom out to it from where we live near Chicago, but since I have family in Boston, we made a vacation weekend out of it and stayed with them.

After some stressful travel delays, I finally arrived for the final competition at Café 939, a Berklee venue. It was a very unique experience to be able to receive advice from the great judges who all teach at Berklee. I had a great time performing, but had my doubts about the outcome as I was the youngest participant in the running. They announced who won 3rd and 2nd place, and since I didn’t get those, I really didn’t expect to be picked for 1st. When they called my name as the first place winner of the full scholarship, it was a shock and I went home unbelievably happy!

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“Where I need to be.”

Andrew Riezebeek, a guitarist from the Netherlands, attended the Five-Week Performance Program on-campus at Berklee this past summer. In this post, he describes his experience, and what he’s gained in his second year attending the program.

Five-Week Performance Program 2010

Andrew Riezebeek, Photo by Shelly Booth


I have just completed the Five-Week Performance Program for the second time, and let me tell you, It was another crazy experience! This Five-Week proved once more that Berklee is the place where I need to be. It is the place that will help me reach my ultimate goals as a musician, and help get me where I want to go within the music industry.  I have been part of great moments during this year’s Five-Week Program and those moments will never be forgotten.

I was a bit skeptical at first. I was actually more nervous than last year. I was scared that this year would not be able to top last year’s Five-Week. I asked myself, “Would I meet people as nice as the people I met last year? Will I learn as much? Will my teachers be as cool?”  I was worried with all these questions. Now, looking back on my experiences, all these questions came out with super positive answers and even more!

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Not your average band camp: An introduction to Berklee Summer Programs

A new perspective on the student experience

Hello, I’m Shelly and I work in the Office of Summer Programs at Berklee. I’m here to give you the scoop on who we are, and introduce you to our new blog. Our goal is to give you a more in-depth look into the summer student experience. That’s right, we’re getting hip!

Allow me to introduce myself briefly: I’ve been working in this office for three years, after I graduated as a music business major from Berklee in 2006. In Summer Programs, I handle administrative and customer service needs, but I also wear many other hats and have enjoyed working off-campus at Berklee in L.A. and Berklee in Dublin, where I can see the results of our work in action! Berklee summer students are a truly talented, inspirational group of musicians. They are serious about music, and so excited to interact and meet each other. It is a vibe like none other.

2009 was another great year for Summer Programs at Berklee. Some of our readers may not know what Berklee has to offer. Others have read every page of our website in anticipation of auditioning. For you, this blog will offer a more personalized perspective on the summer experience, more than we’ve ever offered before.

What is summer at Berklee all about?

Music for Video Games students in class

Music for Video Games students

Our enrollment totals 2,300 students in the summer. The majority of are high-school–age, from the U.S. and 65 countries. We do see about 20% of students over the age of 19. Our largest programs are the Five-Week Summer Performance Program and Guitar Sessions, enrolling on average 900 and 500 students respectively. Yes, that is a lot of people!

Coming to a summer program is a great way to see where you stand musically—to receive feedback and become immersed in a community of musicians who are as serious about music as you are. You may be studying classical music, and looking to explore new genres. Can a flutist play jazz or rock? Of course! Are you the leader of your band also? You’re probably ready to get out of the basement. The bar is raised at Berklee. Almost all students are the top musicians from their hometown. Isn’t that exciting? At the same time, do not let this discourage you! Certainly, do not be intimidated or afraid. Chances are, everyone at the program feels exactly the same way you do.

Student performs for an open-mic critique

A student performs for an open-mic critique.

If you’re anything like I was in high school, aspiring to come to Berklee, then you’re ready to go. You’re ready to learn anything and everything about music. I don’t mean to sound like a saleswoman, at all! It’s just that Berklee has formed one of the largest music communities in the world, providing the teachers, programs, and tools to keep you ahead of the game.

So where do summer programs fit in at Berklee? All of them, with the exception of Berklee in L.A., currently take place on-campus. Berklee faculty members teach, making classes a great introduction to the Berklee experience. The Five-Week Summer Performance Program is a good example. It is like a mini-semester. You’ll know for sure whether Berklee is for you after attending Five-Week.

Berklee in L.A.

Berklee in L.A.

Check back every week to read interesting perspectives from students, faculty, and staff members involved with Summer Programs. Join us on Facebook and you’ll see an announcement when we post. We’re excited to have this new outlet to give you an inside perspective. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and hearing what you think—comments are welcome.

—Shelly

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