By Jasper van Dijk

This trip is one of the reasons why I came to Berklee. It’s not everyday that you get an inside look into some of the most hard-working, innovative companies. It seemed that each place we visited continued to be more and more exciting, with the first day truly setting the tone. One of the most captivating takeaways for me about Stanford’s is the collaborative atmosphere fostered on campus, allowing professionals from various backgrounds to create, design and innovate. The spaces are designed to design; whether you’re studying acoustical engineering or user experience design (UX). I truly believe that this concept of professional collaboration across various departments applies to every place we visited.

As a sound designer and composer, I was particularly interested in how music and acoustics bring people together via technological mediums. As a film composer, Skywalker Sound and Dolby were my most anticipated visits. However, Facebook and Tribe VR also truly captured the art of storytelling by transcending conventional norms. Through subtle interactive sounds, these companies enhance the user experience for their audiences dramatically. When I spoke with Will Littlejohn about Facebook’s cohesive sound palette, he said that the challenge in creating interactive sounds for Facebook always boiled down to adhering to a universal sound vocabulary — not necessarily sounds derived from “western” harmony. This is why Berklee is so valuable; we are constantly collaborating with people of diverse backgrounds, which allows us to have advantageous insight on how to impact people on a global scale.

After this trip, I can clearly see myself working at a lot of these companies. PlayStation is an exciting prospect to work as a sound designer and composer while also honing my skills as a game audio implementer. Alternatively, Facebook is equally as exciting in the sense that I’d be developing interactive sounds to strengthen human connections and enhance user experiences. Working at Dolby would also be a dream position as I would continue to foster my skills as a sound designer and surround mixer in the realm of film.

I had the privilege of exploring Silicon Valley alongside an incredible group of creatives, which added nothing but value to the trip. Everyone has such eclectic backgrounds and interests while also being like-minded and passionate about similar ideas. I had a great time connecting with the people on this trip; those who had familiar faces and those who I hadn’t met before — wishing everyone the best of luck! Thanks to the entire faculty and staff who made this trip possible, and a special shoutout to Nicole, Dustin and Michele — thank you for your support.