Mark Hopkins is a Student Advisor at Berkleemusic.com. He finished his studies at Berklee College of Music, as a Guitarist/Songwriting Major, in 2009. Mark is a regular gigging musician who has toured extensively and released 6 albums in the past 10 years. You can hear some of Mark’s music on myspace.com/markhopkinsmusic
So, you’re in the midst of the dreaded college application process. The stress is on and you’re freaked out because all you really want to do is play music. Here are the thoughts that are running through your mind… (I know, because I had ‘em too).
“What do I do?”
“Where do I begin?”
“Where can I study music?”
“What the heck can I do with a career in music?”
Well, if you’re on this page, you are already 3/4 of the way there.
Berklee College of Music is the place to study contemporary music styles in the world… no, I take that back… the Universe. So, what’s the process? A lot of prospective students freak out to find that there is a live audition process to be accepted into the college. I am here to tell you the best way to approach that audition, and to cut down on that looming dark cloud of stress.
1) Be Yourself! You are who you are. Everyone that is applying and auditioning comes from different walks of life and different skill levels. The coolest thing about Berklee is how diverse it is. You are there for you, not Bob or Susan in the next room over.
2) That being said, remember what the website says, “Put your best foot forward”. That means do what you do best. If you are an amazing shred guitarist, or classical pianist, don’t walk in to your audition thinking you have to prepare a Jazz piece. Berklee has become more and more all styles than ever in the past few years; all genres are welcome! Concentrate on your strengths and really let that shine in your prepared piece.
3) Make sure you read the Audition Guidelines on Berklee’s site. That will show you exactly what you will be asked to do in your 15 minute audition. That’s right, 15 minutes! It goes by in a flash. I am sure you’ll find that there are some things you are unsure about (concerning your skills). If we were all musical geniuses we wouldn’t need to be auditioning for Berklee. The faculty members that will be proctoring your audition understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and they want to see how well rounded you are as a musician. For instance, some people are great sight-readers, but struggle with improvisation, and vice versa. Once again, see # 2.
4) Lastly, go in calm. Remember you are there because you love music! Don’t let one audition get in the way of that. A lot of people are crushed if they don’t get in to Berklee. It’s not the end of the world; you can always re-audition the following year. If you do end up re-auditioning think about how much further ahead in the game you would be than the first timers shaking in their boots.
All-in-all, I found my Berklee Audition to be a thrilling experience. It was a blast! Plus the faculty are great at making you feel at ease and you get to jam with them. Go in there with your head held high and do your thing with confidence and a smile on your face.
Berkleemusic, Berklee’s online school, offers a number of online courses to prepare you for the physical school in Boston. You can build a solid foundation by studying the core curriculum prior to arriving at the school, and even earn college credit. Check out these online preparatory courses here.