Berklee student Trevor Paul shows student Alex Michelson a guitar technique

After the first day of classes at Berklee in L.A., the energy and talent brought by the students is sure to make this week the best yet of the summer.  What kind of student is a Berklee in L.A. student?  Most of them are of high school age, representing 19 states and 6 different countries including Canada, Peru, Japan, Mexico, Panama and Argentina.

Briefly, I wanted to highlight two aspects of the program that I think really contribute to the success, and uniqueness of Berklee in L.A.

Student Lindsay Kusper performs her song called The Optimist at Nancys evening open-mic critique

Student Lindsay Kupser performs her song called "The Optimist" at Nancy's evening open-mic critique

Open-mic critiques

As I sat in Nancy Morris’ evening class last night, students eagerly volunteered to hop down on stage in front of their peers for an open-mic critique. Nancy commented that this is the best group she’s seen since she has been teaching Berklee in L.A.  I am most impressed by the comfortable environment created by our faculty. Nancy really creates an environment that allows students to let their guard down, in order for the student to do their best, and take positive feedback in the most useful way possible.   For a lot of students, this is their first opportunity at this type of exchange, from peer to peer, and for direct feedback from Berklee faculty.

Students jam on the lawn at Long Beach City college

Students jam on the lawn at Long Beach City College

More than your typical camp counselors…

We have seven current Berklee students and two alumni on staff who fill a vital role in the program’s operation.  At the hotel, our housing location, each of these nine staff members act as resident assistants and are in charge of a small group of students.  Since the students arrived on Sunday, the staff have been involved helping them get their songs solidified, and penned into lead sheets.  In the afternoon songwriting performance classes, the staff members form three different bands to back the students in performing their original songs.   Their involvement really pulls together a sense of community.  Our nine staff members are excellent musicians and great resources, and I really love the dynamic so far.

I am excited to see what the rest of the week has to offer.  We will definitely keep you posted, and hopefully get some audio links up so you can hear the latest creations from the students.