Studying at Berklee College of Music


It’s been quite some time since my last post but I think this is worth sharing. I’ve wanted to pursue formal music education for years. Ever since my early teens I’ve been looking into the possibility of doing this kind of training. Up until recently I feel like I’ve been a scavenger of information, grabbing as much information as possible, anywhere I could find it.

I went to Nashville for the Bass and Nature Camp with Victor Wooten.  I’ve bought books on bass methods and I’ve had private lessons with the legendary bass player Chuck Rainey. I’ve done attended master classes with Dave La Rue, Chuck Rainey, Curtis Freeman, and others.  It all felt like I had bits and pieces of the puzzle and certain parts were coming together even thought I didn’t have a clue what the final picture was supposed to look like.

I looked into Certificate in Jazz Studies for Bass at Humber College, but there was no part time option and an unpaid leave of absence was not in the books for me.

This brought me to Berklee College of Music – Professional Bass Guitar Certification, an online certificate with 5 courses:

Summary of the Professional Bass Certification

– Bass Performance
– Basic Improvisation
– Jazz Bass
– Rock Bass
– R&B Bass

I looked through the website for weeks, I printed off everything I could find, I looked up the professors, I looked for student reviews and at the end of the day I decided to do it. January 10th2018, I enrolled and I’ve completed 2 courses so far, and I’m almost done the 3rd. At this rate I will have an internationally recognized certification from one of the world’s most reputable music institutions.

In the beginning I was so intimidated, I doubted everything, my sub par music reading skills, my ability to improvise, the things I thought I knew and the things I was absolutely sure that I didn’t know.  As the weeks progressed I felt like Neo from the matrix when he learned kung fu, I had world-class instructors and musicians reviewing my work and giving me feedback. I learned the proper terms of things that I had already been doing instinctively, and I learned about misconceptions I had that impeded my progress for quite some time.

The Berklee program is life changing to someone like me and I am so curious to hear what I sound like at the end of it. Every assignment is a challenge and I love it. It takes me hours upon hours to get the tone right and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not only learning about theory, improvisation, technique, and gear, but I’ve learned a new way of thinking, a new way to approach music, difficult songs and how to get the most out of my instrument and how to hear things better.

 

I have four more weeks to go to complete the last course and I’m still every bit as excited and nervous about what comes next. Berklee has done a lot for me in terms of helping my confidence as a musician, my self-doubt as a bass player, and the way that I approach my craft and that to me is priceless.  I decided to go to the Berklee College of Music Onsite this year in Boston and that was another amazing experience that opened up my mind a little more and reaffirmed that I was on the right path. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and hopefully you will be able to hear it in my playing as time progresses.

Thanks for reading.
Joe.