A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Posts tagged “Rob Jaczko

Coursera – DYM Lesson 4 videos (1)

Ok. Here’s a summary of what I saw, and hopefully learned, from video #1 of Lesson 4 for Coursera’s online Developing Your Musicianship class. The interviews this week centered on auditioning to get into Berklee.

1. Berklee Faculty/Student Spotlight: Audition Tips (4:03)

The video begins with the question, “What was your Berklee audition like?” and then cuts to answers from students that we’ve seen in prior lessons, as well as a staff person. The first person to answer is the East Indian girl that we saw before. We learn that she’s actually from Sri Lanka, not India proper. She said that the staff were “brilliant”. I think that this is probably the British brilliant, not the American one. She then recounted that the staff just welcomed her, asked how she was, if she was really there all the way from Sri Lanka, if she was jetlagged, if she was freezing here and said that they’re all set to go when she’s ready. The audition went by really smoothly for her because it happened before she actually realized that she was in it. She also commented that she was really at ease and comfortable and that a great quality about auditions at Berklee is that they’re molded according to the student. She wasn’t versed in jazz improvisation and told this to them. They said that its alright and asked her to try it a little bit. She apparently did, enjoyed it and nailed the audition.

The next person up was the Hispanic male with barbershop parents. He said that he could feel the openness and support of the staff and that it was a great environment. His belief is that at a lot of schools, when potential students audition, they’re sized up and picked apart to determine what they doesn’t quite have together, but because Berklee is geared more towards the actual music business as it stands, they’re looking more for potential, so they look for what a potential student does well.

With that said, the video jumped to the Jamaican girl, who recalled that she was really nervous because she’d only done one audition before and failed. She went to the audition at Berklee with the intent to just get it over with, but found that the staff were really nice and wanted to “have a conversation about what she wants to do in music and why she wants to attend Berklee”. She said it ended up being the most amazing audition she’s ever done – not because she feels that she was amazing, but because it was “a great process”.


Coursera – DYM Lesson 3 videos (1)

So, the first video for Lesson 3 of Coursera’s Developing Your Musicianship class kicks off with the question “What advice would you give someone interested in studying music?” It is subsequently answered by Berklee staff and students in short interview snippets. These are actually the videos I think that I learn the most from – outside of actual theory. Here’s what I gleaned:

1. Berklee Faculty/Student Spotlight: Advice for Studying Music (4:32) 

The first person interviewed is the East Indian girl from previous videos. “Don’t be intimidated by everything that’s going on around you. Just be yourself,” is her advice. She goes on to explain that when immersed in such an exhaustive musical atmosphere, the first thing that many people do is experience fear and doubts about whether they’re good enough to be in the environment. She says that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and the reason that they attend music school is to learn and have a long way to get to where they want to be. She says that its a hard journey, but to believe and have faith in yourself and you’ll arrive where you need to be.

Next comes the Hispanic male whose parents sung barbershop. He says, “At the root of it all, its all about the art.” He says that its important to expose yourself to different art that’s already out there, and I think he implied that you need to also get yourself exposed to the public. His exact words were, “Practice exposing yourself,” but I’m trying really hard to take the high ground with that. 😉 He says that they study music history to understand where music has come from, and they study music that already exists to that they can understand the theory behind the rules that we have now. He also says that all of the music that will come in the future is the direct result of what’s happening now and that students must aspire to keep the technical knowledge that they learn relevant to what’s happening and remain curious about new music and music from all around the world.