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First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

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Berklee College of Music

The First Sound We Hear… and the Second

by Eruch Kimball ’03

We all begin life the same way. We all develop in a similar environment.  We all listen to the same things. Our world is sound. Seventy decibels of sound. Constant. All inclusive. It is our only reference to the world we’re just beginning to learn about. Equivalent to driving down the highway with the windows rolled down, the first world we experience as humans is filled with sound.

The Mother’s heartbeat.  Comforting, yet unending. A steady pulsing wave of ocean-like noise as air rushes in and out of her lungs. The gurgle of her internal organs, comforting, like the purring of an engine. All of these sounds are echoed and reverberated through the fluid that cradles us as we slowly awake to the world.

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Two-Five-One: Grey

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Name: Grey
Major(s): Professional Music
Hometown: Manchester, NH
Current City: Boston, MA

How has your Berklee experience shaped your view of the music industry? Was it spot on or did you need to shift your perspective?

I felt I had a pretty level perspective.

I came to Berklee looking for a practical way to make music the focus of my professional life. During the course of my time at Berklee, I sought out mentors who I felt would support me in my goal to create a realistic music career. I was a pessimist, and believed that I needed to make real money soon after graduation in order to justify the cost of the investment.

I found that most of the musicians I admired would never look down on another musician’s way of paying the bills.

Before coming to Berklee, I spent several years working at terrible jobs for meager wages. I was not about to let my idealism drag me back there. But some of my classmates came straight from high school and needed to learn to respect the power of the dollar.

Can you touch on the importance of your networking, skill and talent?

Networking is just one aspect of personal branding and reputation management. The work you do to spread your reputation will only take a small portion of your time but may result in the majority of paying work that comes your way. Every single gig that came my way happened as a result of someone credible dropping my name.

It’s important to remember you are networking with everybody you meet, whether you realize it or not. I am a little bit cynical about going to events and handing out name cards. The big shots are not eagerly waiting to exchange greetings with you at a local Meetup. However, one way or another, the community needs to hear about the great work you’re doing. The work you do is like a pile of firewood, and the networking you do is like the match that sets it ablaze.

I believe that talent is a myth. The nature versus nurture debate is over. Even those of us with ordinary genes are capable of extraordinary things.

What is something you’d wish you’d known “then” (before starting Berklee, during Berklee, or your first year out of Berklee)?

In my last year, I wish I had known how successful I was going to be in the following years. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to pay my expenses. In the end, everything worked out better than I could have imagined… and I wasted a lot of time worrying.

What should a new alum focus on as they enter the job market?

Being determined to make ends meet, being open to interesting opportunities, having the self-respect to apply your skills usefully in a wide range of places, and–of course–learning to enjoy the taste of humble pie. Bide your time and your day will come. If you wanted an office with a leather chair and all you got was a mop, be the best mopper you can be. If you’re no good with a mop, why would anyone trust you with more?

How does your degree play a role in your current career path?

My degree has given me a huge amount of credibility. When you have a degree, people give you the benefit of the doubt and search for proof of your abilities.


Grey graduated from Berklee’s Professional Music program in 2011. As his final project, he created a school of guitar in Boston. In 2014, Grey traveled through Asia for over a year, leveraging the low cost of living there to create HubGuitar.com, a professional-quality free guitar learning resource. He has since returned to Boston where he focuses on creating high-quality online guitar lessons and managing the school, Hub Guitar Boston.

Grey can be found on the web via:

Grey’s School of Guitar in Boston

Hub Guitar 500+ Professional Guitar Lessons

Grey’s 300+ Professional Guitar Lessons (Chinese Version)


Two Five One is a series of blog posts by alumni. They write about two places (where they’re living & their hometown) answer five questions about their post-graduate experience, and it’s a one-off post. For more information about blogging for Berklee as an alumni, email alumniaffairs@berklee.edu

global-initiatives

Japan Outreach Initiative: Alexander Anderson

unnamed-6In February of 2015, I set out with one of my jazz composition classmates Connor Steck, to schedule a tour of Japan. The idea came to me after I was hosting a “crowded” jam session at my place, where we had maybe six horn players, four guitarists, a bassist, three drummers, and two pianists. I had just finished touring from San Diego, CA to Seattle, WA, and was looking for my next big trip, confident in my managing abilities. After a short agreement, we set the dates for July 15th – August 1st, and decided to start putting the final band together.

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Two-Five-One: Tim Hare

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Name: Tim Hare, Creatively known as FranchisedYouth
Major(s): Contemporary Writing and Production (CWP)
Hometown: Panorama City, CA
Current City: Glendale, CA

How does your degree play a role in your current career path?

I recently switched jobs so that my CWP degree would be the focus of my career. I was making a lot more money working behind the scenes in the touring world, but I wanted to compose and score music. That was the reason I went to Berklee in the first place, to learn the skills to compose and arrange music. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but utilizing all the things I learned as a CWP major to work in creating music for media was vastly important to me and what I wanted to make out of my career.

What is something you’d wish you’d known “then” (before starting Berklee, during Berklee, or your first year out of Berklee)?

How important being able to create professional mixes on your own is. I focused much more heavily on scoring techniques and my song writing. I didn’t focus on mixing as much and the ability to create a “Professional” sounding mix would give me a lot more jobs than using clever musical ideas. I was recently looking at an online Berklee Class for mixing and thought “Didn’t I already pay for four years of this?” I wish CWP focused twice as much attention on helping students develop mixes.

Can you touch on the importance of your networking, skill and talent?

Networking is everything to me. I have skill and talent like anyone that comes out of Berklee, but all of my gigs have come from networking. Taking people out for coffee, picking their brain, getting feedback, and seeing who my contacts know that can help is how I spend half of my week. I try to be equally as helpful because you never know when you might help someone kick start their own career. Networking with your peers also allows you to continue to learn and grow your skill set.

How do you connect with other people? How much does social media play a role in your career as an employee and artist?

I use Social Media as a launch point for my work and brand. Soundcloud/Facebook/Youtube are free and essential tools to creating a hub where you can quickly showcase who you are as a talent. Outside of that connecting with people face to face or via phone are exponentially more important than Social Media. In 10 minutes of physical discussion you can learn and gain more than 100 emails or messages. Once you establish any contact through a social network, get that person in front of you or on the phone so they can get to know you better and see your face.

What should a new alum focus on as they enter the job market?

In my opinion it would be organization and productivity. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself. I try to send out at least three networking emails a week and finish one composition for my Soundcloud. Find ways to gain traction in your field even when you’re not working on a specific project for monetary reasons. There are hundreds of aspiring composers here in LA so I have to find new markets to attract if I am to make a career out of this. As a new alum you are already four years behind me in terms of networking and productivity so get started right away!

 


Originally from Southern California, I moved to Boston when I was 15 and started playing Bass soon after settling there. By 19 I was playing in the local Boston scene with the bands, Baby Strange, Aloud, and The Painted Lights which included a few tours of the UK. I graduated from Berklee in 2011 and got a job in 2012 working for Warner Music Group doing VIP Concierge tours with Wiz Khalifa, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Mac Miller. I moved back to LA in 2013 and soon began working in production and day to day management for Mick Jones of the heritage rock band Foreigner. I traveled all over the world before settling back in LA in 2015 and began working as a composer and employee for music library Sonic Librarian.

Tim Hare can be found in the social spheres via FranchisedYouth’s  Facebook and Soundcloud


Two Five One is a series of blog posts by alumni. They write about two places (where they’re living & their hometown) answer five questions about their post-graduate experience, and it’s a one-off post. For more information about blogging for Berklee as an alumni, email alumniaffairs@berklee.edu

Playing on the High Seas: Part 3

Making The Most of Your Cruise Ship Contract

by Elena Bonomo ’14

Read Part 1 & Part 2

Elena BonomoMany people shy away from working as a musician on cruise ships because their previous expectations and experiences as a musician on land are different than those of which are expected of them on a ship. The notion of being away from home for months at a time, the thought of playing music that has been provided for you by a company, and the fact that you will be playing consistently every day can be intimidating and even mundane to some people. But there are ways to take these experiences and turn them into something that will be beneficial and rewarding for your musical career in the long term.

What I enjoyed the most about working on cruise ships was the fact that I had the opportunity to play a variety of styles of music every day. From jazz standards, to ballroom dance music, to Broadway-style show tunes, to pop classics, there are opportunities to play a variety of styles in just one night! For all us musicians who are hoping to make a career out of performing, it is extremely important to be as versatile as possible in your playing. The more styles of music you can play, the more job opportunities there are that you can take advantage of.

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