Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts has always been one of the most prestigious and most innovative music schools and colleges in the world - and now they are offering new master’s degree programs. Unlike traditional conservatory models, Berklee has always been focused on the cutting edge of music technology, music production, music business, songwriting, studio recording, and performance and the needs of the modern musician and producer in today’s industry. Now Berklee is offering its first master’s degree programs, not in Boston, but at a new campus in Valencia, Spain - taking advantage of its global reach and reputation. Students can apply now for admission to three master’s degree programs at Berklee Valencia to begin in September 2012. With its highly regarded diploma, certificate, and undergraduate programs, its well-attended summer programs, and its online offerings, Berklee has made a bold move to offer these graduate degrees.
BERKLEE'S APPROACH, AND ITS ALUMNI
Credit: berkleevalencia.orgUnlike many music schools and conservatories across the country and around the globe, Berklee alwayskeeps one eye on the career planning and possibilties of its alumni and graduates. While other amazing schools might focus their students solely on instrumental and vocal lessons, performance ensembles, and historical and theoretical studies -- Berklee has always attempted to consider how its curriculum connects its graduates to the larger music business and the evolving music industry as a whole. It’s a less idealistic way to look at the arts, but it has been a very successful strategy for them for decades. Berklee counts producers Quincy Jones and Arif Mardin, pop star Lalah Hathaway and John Mayer, pianist/songwriter Bruce Hornsby, drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Tim Owens (Judas Priest), Joey Kramer (Aerosmith), singer/songwriter Paula Cole, guitarist Steve Vai, composers Alf Clausen (The Simpsons), Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, Predator), and Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), and jazz musicians Keith Jarrett, Branford Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, Eli Degibri, Mick Goodrick, Diana Krall, Dave Kikoski, Greg Osby, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Danilo Perez, Esperanza Spalding, and Roy Hargrove, as some of its successful alumni.
THE NEW MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMS AT BERKLEE VALENCIA
The three new master’s degree study areas reflect Berklee’s knowledge and connections in the huge worldwide music industry, and the possibilities for musicians in the 21st century. The music industry has undergone some serious changes in the last decade including the rise of the Apple iTunes Music Store and Amazon.com as major retailers, along with the demise of traditional brick-and-mortar music stores and outlets. But even though music retail has changed, the demand and consumption of music -- on the radio, mp3 players, film/TV/cable, video games, and more -- has not slowed. Because of this new landscape Berklee has launched programs in three areas: Contemporary Studio Performance; Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games; and Global Entertainment and Music Business.
The Contemporary Studio Performance graduate program will be led by respected Mexican vibraphonist/composer Victor Mendoza, a well-known latin jazz artist. Focused on both live and studio musical performance, students will work with professional musician-educators from a wide range of musical styles and genres like rock, jazz, salsa, bluegrass, Afro-Cuban styles, and more. The stylistically accurate training will include individual applied private lessons, master classes, directed independent studies, and a wide variety of ensembles. The final master’s project includes both live performance and a recorded promoteable digital version of their work. Students are encouraged to also study music business or music technology in addition to their studio performance concentration. The coursework includes performance forum, advanced ear training, contemporary arranging, contemporary harmony, creative promotion in new media, production concepts for the contemporary performer, topics in improvisation, e-business for entrepreneurs, and more. Berklee indicates that this is the choice of major intended for performers, producers, songwriters, and others.
Grammy Award-winning producer Andy Hill, a former VP of Walt Disney Pictures, will run the Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games program. Refining the composer’s craft is the focus of the scoring program, regardless of the media -- and the program advisors will help shape this degree program to each student’s artistic and career goals. Writing, scoring skills, tools for composing, orchestration, and the full integration of music into film, TV, and gaming makes up this new curriculum. With thousands of platforms world-wide and a focus on content-creation, this is a growth area of the global music industry. The coursework includes conducting to visuals, music Credit: berkleevalencia.orgsupervision and editing, electronic composition, genre scoring, video game scoring techniques, advanced dramatic orchestration, business and entrepreneurial seminar, and much more. This helps prepare graduates for a career as a composer, orchestrator, music editor, music supervisor, and more.
Al Bargfrede, a respected entertainment/technology lawyer will lead the Global Entertainment and Music Business program. He taught at Berklee College of Music/Boston before Valencia and is known for being the author of “Music Law in the Digital Age”.
The rapid changes in the music industry require professionals who understand the ins and outs of the global entertainment landscape. Berklee Valencia’s Global Entertainment and Music Business program focuses on artistic, legal, financial, and ethical issues that cross borders, boundaries, and cultures. The program has an entrepreneurial track and a management track and ends with a directed study, thesis, or music industry internship. The coursework includes intellectual property law, accounting and finance, e-business, organization leadership, marketing management, concert promotion and touring, operations, international licensing, distribution, and sales, and much more. This prepares Berklee graduates for careers in music supervision, concert promotion, music licensing and publishing, research and education, artist management, e-distribution, and more.
FUTURE GRADUATE PROGRAMS AT BERKLEE VALENCIA
In addition, Berklee Valencia has plans to offer three more programs in the near future: Electronic Production and Design; Contemporary Writing and Production; and Symphonic Band Studies. Their campus in Spain also focuses on International Careers, Mediterranean Music, and a wide spectrum of Global Music Studies.
HOW TO APPLY
Students who are highly qualified in one of these three areas, and who already hold a bachelor’s degree, can apply for these Berklee programs, which are expected to require three semesters to complete. The program does not require its applicants to submit the GRE or GMAT exam scores. You can apply easily online, and it only costs 120 EUR (about $156 USD) to apply, and they do have scholarships and financial aid available. With the application, fee, and English certificate of a standardized test (TOEFL, Cambridge, IELTS, Pearson), they also require a statement of purpose, a resume/curriculum vitae, two recommendation letters, official transcripts, and a portfolio.