Big Bad Bill wrote:So is this unique to Berklee or are most reputable schools of this type likely to have the same benefits?
I can't speak for every school that's out there... just from the places that I've been. Here in Toronto, there are several Universities that have a music dept. Sure, they're cheaper... but there's maybe a few hundred students in them. Berklee's student population is in the neighbourhood of 3000+ students. It's a school soley dedicated to music. It's not one little dept in a larger school. Almost 50% of those are international students. Very few schools have that kind of size and diversity in the Student population. If there was a school in Toronto that equalled that... believe me I would have gone... it would have been exponentially cheaper.
I play a lot in the Toronto area. I've played with many of the students that have come out of some of these schools. There are definitely some good players around... but the calibre of musicans at Berklee I have to say was much much higher.
Because of Berklee's program diversity, you have the jazz heads, the latin folks, the songwriters, the rockers, the diva songstresses.... the producers/engineers/tech heads. There are just SO many people to hook up with and play.... and some are just burning players.
Boston as a city is a music Mecca. There are several other music programs in the area such as New England Conservatory...etc. The clubs are quite happening with music. The whole city is saturated with great musicians. Toronto doesn't really compare in that sense. The city itself is beautiful.
There are 500 000 college students in the greater Boston area during the year because there are just so many Universities and campuses around. I met all sorts of great folks from Harvard, Mit....etc.
My last semester at Berklee, I moved into an appartment in Fenway (5 minute walk from Berklee). The guy moving out of my appartment was Antonio Sanchez who now plays drums with Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez...and many others.
Steve Vai is certainly not the only one who went there. John Scofield, Branford Marsalis, John Mayer, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dream Theatre, Alan Silvestri....etc.
Big Bad Bill wrote:I have to say, your description of Berklee is what I would expect as a fee-paying student. I ask this because I suspect many Vai fans are attracted to Berklee because of Steve's association with it, when there are probably equally nurturing and perhaps cheaper, institutions around the world. [/color]
Well, I wish you around 14 years ago to tell me that. I looked around... and yes there were many other schools with a far lesser price tag. But none of them had the diversity of music majors that Berklee had. There are maybe 40 private guitar instructors on staff at Berklee. Every one of them had a specialty... country, funk, jazz, rock...etc. Not to mention the diversity of their other professors in all the other departments.
Not everyone who went there will tell you it was a great experience. The drop out rate is quite high.... 60% or so after the first semester. It's all about what you put into it. I had a great experience... and from that is whence I speak.