Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: guitar sessions

guitar sessions

Summer at Berklee is ‘musician heaven’

Post authored by Erin Gernon, marketing assistant for Summer Programs.

Sometimes a simple search on the Internet can lead to the summer of a lifetime, which is exactly what happened to high school senior Dom Delore. He was looking up Berklee College of Music’s Summer Programs and “in a heartbeat” signed up for  the Guitar Sessions.

“The best musical experience I had ever been a part of,” Delore said of that first summer. “I learned so much in one week, theory-wise especially, but also in techniques and just music in general.”

Delore is senior from Agawam, MA who has been playing the guitar for eight years.

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Berklee Summer Guitar Sessions Alum Spotlight: Maddie Rice

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?

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From Guitar Sessions to Five-Week: A young musician on a mission

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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.


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