We sat down and interviewed current Berklee student and Summer Programs “Guitar Sessions” two-time alum, Maddie Rice. She shares with us her experiences from Guitar Sessions and what it meant for her path to Berklee as a full-time student of the college.

Maddie Rice

How old were you when you first started playing your instrument? 

I’ve been playing guitar for six years (since age thirteen), but before I picked up guitar, I’d also been playing violin since I was four or five.

Which of the offered Summer Programs did you attend? Did you attend more than one?

I went to Summer Guitar Sessions twice.

What was your favorite aspect(s) about the program?

I’ve never been around so many guitar players in one place and it was pretty intimidating at first. But, it was amazing to experience so many different styles and approaches to playing. Everyone at Guitar Sessions, from my instructors, to guest performers and clinicians, to other students opened my ears and mind up to new possibilities. I used to think that there were just “good” and “bad” players, but at Guitar Sessions, I realized how wide and diverse the world of guitar is, and that there’s a place for almost everyone in it.

What were some of the challenges you faced during the course of the program?

Since the program only lasts five days, the instructors really bombard you with a huge amount of information as fast as they can, which was extremely overwhelming for me. But they don’t expect you to master it all in a week- I kept all the handouts I got from Guitar Sessions and I still dig them out when I want to shed something new.

Would you say that your attendance to these programs successfully prepared you for your career as a full-time student at Berklee? In what way? (How did summer programs help prepare you for the full time program?)

Guitar Sessions gave me a lot of material to work on until I graduated, all of which helped me prepare both for getting into Berklee, and for keeping up once I got here. Getting to know a few of the teachers also helped me choose guitar teachers and classes when I started Berklee full-time. Also, a lot of the students I met at Guitar Sessions ended up coming to Berklee, which made it easier to make friends the first week of college!

Before coming to Berklee for a Summer program, did you ever think you would end up studying music and making it your career one day?

I’d figured out that I wanted to be a professional musician by my sophomore year of high school, and I was pretty sure I wanted to go to Berklee, but my heart got really set on it after attending Guitar Sessions . I learned so much more in one week at Berklee that I could hardly imagine how much I’d get from four years.

Maddie Rice/"Heiress"
  Maddie’s band “Heiress”

Check out Maddie’s Website here