Hey everyone. My name is Ryan McGonagill. I’m a 6th semester student from Carlsbad, New Mexico. I’m a classical piano principal majoring in Music Business with a focus in Marketing. I came to Valencia to be apart of the first Global Studies Program so that I could concentrate more on International Marketing and Public Relations within the music industry. This semester I’ll be giving you an insight into what it’s like studying abroad at Berklee Valencia.
Now that we have that out of the way (does anyone really care what my major is? No, y’all just want to see pictures of Spain), let’s talk about Valencia. One of the other students studying here, Alexis Colett, gave a detailed rundown of the events in Valencia so far, and that can be found here. I’m not going to give another recap about our time here thus far because she did a great job, and if I do it you will start reading it and then go back to Facebook halfway through. Instead, I’d like to talk about one of the biggest reasons I think this program is so beneficial for everyone involved.
To me, the real education doesn’t lie within the books we are reading, the conferences at MIDEM, or the homework we are being assigned in our classes. The real learning, for me, is coming from being able to so easily interact with the other students, staff, and faculty here in Valencia. The advantage of being here over Berklee in Boston is that you are completely immersed in a strange environment with 25 other people, and you grow extremely close in a short amount of time. It’s exactly like a family. You live together, you travel together, and it’s just a great experience. Being in a group where every single person is different forces you to have an open mind and enables you to learn more from each other than you expected. The staff here is also out of this world. They genuinely care about everyone in this program and work so hard to make sure we are comfortable.
I also believe the classroom dynamic here is unlike anywhere else. I feel like I’m finally being rewarded for the 4 semesters of Ear Training that I spent wondering how many absences I could squeeze out and still make an A. Because we are such a small group, we have so much time to interact with our teachers one-on-one and get more of an insight into what they have experienced in the music industry. Every teacher here is still involved heavily in the European industry, and even better than that, they are here because they want to teach.
It has only been a month, and I feel like I’ve learned so much already. I can’t wait to see what comes next, and to share it on Berklee Blogs! Coming up soon: an excursion to Madrid with the International Music Business Seminar, and (more importantly,) a getaway to Barcelona this weekend with the entire group for 2 birthdays (one of which is mine, 21, not a huge deal.)