#1
Well, I just got back today from my audition for Berklee (guitar) and just wanted to give a run-down of how it happened and what to expect going in. I hadn't found that much regarding people posting their experience, so I thought I would share. Plus possibly get some feedback from those who have done the auditions and let me know they thought I did/my chances of getting in. So here it goes...

I arrive at Berklee at 3:30 my audition isn't until 4:15 but I wanted to check the place out a bit and just mentally prep. They bring you into a room where there was a DJ playing some music on a small stage. There where some refreshments and snacks, and a lot of parents in there who where waiting for their kids to be done. I was waiting in there for a few minutes and apparently there where some people who hadn't showed up for their audition so they called out my name and asked if I wanted to go then, so I said sure.

I was taken upstairs and led into a practice room, where they had the music I was to sightread, and gave me 15 minutes to warmup/practice the sight reading. The reading portion had 4 different sections with increasing difficulty, the first being quite easy with just half notes and quarter notes, and the second one involving some 8th notes, ties, and notted quarter notes. I've only been sight-reading for about 6 months, so I focused on the first two. After 15 minutes of prep, I was brought back out and waited for about 5 minutes to get brought into another room for the audition. (While I was waiting I showed one of the students there my pedalboard that was made out of a breifcase)

Now into the audition. I go in and am greeted by two guys both very very nice, they where cracking jokes and it was a really relaxed cool vibe. We seemed to connect really well, which I was extremely happy about since I know that this will give me at least a small advantage from the fact that they got along so well with me. Then I sat down tuned up (they also liked my pedalboard/breifcase, so at least I was a bit unique and stood out to them).

Gave them my CD with the backing track for SRV by Eric Johnson, played through made a few small mistakes but recovered quite quickly, pretty much playing it solidly. I was happy with my performance. They both seemed pretty happy with my rendition of the song, so that's good. Then I did some improv over a blues progression, which I did alright on, it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but it wasn't at all bad. I was somewhat dissapointed with myself, but I just relaxed and didn't let it get to me.

Then we went on to a call and response thing. The instructor gave me the first note, and then did a small 4-5 note phrase, which I had to copy. I did pretty good on this, I stumbled on a few phrases first try, but on the second attempt I got them. (I think one phrase messed me up and it took be one more try) So I thought I did pretty well on the call-response portion.

Next we went on to a rhythm thing. No real biggie, They play a rhymth and you have to copy it. We did about a dozen or so different rhythms and got them all right expect the last one. But they said that was good so that was good.

Next up was the reading part. Did the first easy reading part. Then did the second one. First I did the chords which I did pretty well, except that I got messed up a bit at one point, so I asked the guy if I could just take it from halfway through and he said fine. So I did it fine after that. The chords where just some min7, min7(b5), 7b9, 7. Then I did the melody of the reading, I did got through pretty well, expect I messed up twice playing a "B" instead of a "Bb" But they said it wasn't that bad (I had told them I had only been reading/taken formal lessons for about 8-9 months) So it was about what I expected the reading to be like.

And that was about it for the audition, we joked around a bit when I was packing up, shook hands, and went out. All in all, it went well. I can't really say how good I did in comparison to other kids their, so I can't really gauge that aspect. But I connected with them, and think that I did my playing pretty well. Then it was on to the interview.

The interview turned out to be a bit different. I waited in another room for about 10 min then was called in. The guy was nice, it didn't feel as relaxed as the audition but that's okay. He asked me some basic stuff, first dealing with my musical resume so to speak. I told him how I've been playing for about 6 years, started taking formal lessons about a 8-9 months ago, and such. I also made note to mention to him that I never participated in my school band since it's a very big sport school, and the music program is downright lowsy. I then just told him about how I was in some bands and stuff, also showing him our bands myspace. He seemed to enjoy the music, and I told him that I wrote the majority of the songs with some help here and there from my bass player. (www.myspace.com/thebasementexchange if you wanna listen)

Then he just asked me the big question "Why Berklee?" To which I basicly answered that I wanted to go there for a few reasons. (1) The school has an extensive network of connections to good musicians (2) The faculty are well known/good teachers (3) I told him I have a real drive and passion for music, and know how much talent is there at Berklee ready to be found. (4) I told him that would be able to take advantage of what Berklee had to offer, and hopefully be a success later in my life (5) I told him that I knew that Berklee was looking to the future of music more so than some of the other conservatory style schools that I looked at. (6) finally I just noted on the fact that Berklee is in the heart of Boston, which is a good music city.

He then asked me if I had any questions that I felt he should have asked me. I basicly told him I couldn't think of any (also telling him that I would proboly thing of something as soon as I walked out, he laughed at that). And that was about it for my interview.


All in all, it went pretty smoothly. I wasn't super nervous, and was really glad that I connected so well with the audition guys. Even if the interview wasn't as good in my mind I don't think I bombed it.

I just wanted to share my expierence with anyone else who is going in to audition. As well as get some feedback from those who have done the audition, to know where you think I stand on getting in. Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps anyone wondering about the audition process.
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#2
Nice story ^_^ haha, hope you make it ^_^
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#3
Sounds pretty epic, i have a friend who is trying out soon to attend there in September. I don't think hes the greatest player in the world though but he has the drive so i hope he makes it.
Referring to Victor Wooten
Quote by Nutter_101
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That's all I heard in that entire interview.

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#4
thats kool i wanna audition too... it was really kool cause now i kinda now what to expect...
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#5
let us know if you get in
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#6
Thank you so much for sharing this! I want to apply to berklee as well, but only in 4 years, as soon as I finish my masters in pharmaceutical sciences. Also I had now ideia how the audition was so this was pretty enlightening. I'm from Portugal so I hope I get a scholarship fund somehow. Hope you get into Berklee!

Cheers
#8
Nice going

I see that Berklee auditions are really professional. In our college all you need to do is to tell your name, play a few songs and guess 10 intervals/chords . Though off course it's natural that a college that famous should be that way.

I don't know about your audition, but in our auditions it wasn't that necessary to connect with the auditors, so I wouldn't worry about the interview on your part. If you've played your song good and scored good on other tests, I think you're going to Boston ;] Just hope that there weren't many 25 year old guitar virtuosos in the audition
Last edited by UNIe at Jan 18, 2009,
#11
Hope you make it!
Im thinking of auditioning in the future. But right now im only a sophomore in high school so i have a lot of time to get ready.
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#12
they let you practice the sight reading portion?? its not really sight reading then
#13
they let you practice the sight reading portion?? its not really sight reading then


It's not at all uncommon to take a quick look through the score before sight reading it.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#14
Meh, I also just came from my audition.

I was supposed to come in at 3:30 but arrived at Boston really early. like at 1:00. I checked in and in an hour or two I was called up to audition. The dude that took me up to the audition was a singer and I was outside the practice room chatting with him about the audition. After a while he showed me in to the room to practice the sight reading. I was really nervous. It wasn't that I couldn't read music, but I needed more time to read it, lol. I got distracted for a few seconds because of all the amps, but I couldn't finish the piece I had to read.

So they bring me in. It was a man and a woman greeting me as I went inside and setted up my guitar. I told them that I was going to play for them Bach's 4th Invention and Miles Davis' "So What". I messed up once on the 4th Invention, but I kept on going. As for "So What", I think I messed up the form when I was soloing... But, oh well. After that they asked me to play a 12-bar blues in F, first solo then comping, and I did. I probably made it sound weird because I didn't think that the 4 bar intro would be there like the lady said, and as usual, I zoned out and missed the last V7 progression while comping. I put some chromatic licks from Paul's "Rusty Old Boat", which sounded neat.

Then they told me to play the sight read piece, and, as I've said, I could only play the first 5 measures of it. Then the man pointed at the second example and asked if I could play those chords. I said yeah up until the X7b5 chord that I forgot. I played it and then came the man to play some notes on the piano for me to repeat back on my guitar. I didn't make any errors except the first and last time when I was looking for the note to start on. Then the man clapped some rhythms for me to repeat. I nailed them all except for the triplet that I mistook for single quarter notes, but I repeated it again and got it right.

Then that part was over, I said my goodbyes and went to the interview. I sat down waiting while I was reading a copy of Guitar World Magazine (Which had an article done by Paul himself, lol) and was called by this woman. I sat down while she was behind her computer asking questions. The one I probably always fail is the one about "What can you bring to 'X place'?", which prompts an "Oh F*ck" in my mind. Anyways, it was done, we shook hands, I left, slept in the hotel I was in, and took the bus back to New York this morning.
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
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#15
Thanks alot for that info Jamingguitarist!
It was a great insight into what to expect.
You also seem like a really nice dude and I hope you make it!

*I also really like your band.
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#16
Quote by Archeo Avis
It's not at all uncommon to take a quick look through the score before sight reading it.


uh the point of sightreading is that thats exactly what it is... sightreading with no preparation. i go to university of idahos music program and you sure as hell dont get 15 MINUTES to prepare for "sightreading"
#19
Quote by roshjosh
Great help for anyone interested in Berkeley.

Also, I'm digging your band!



Haha yeah man, spread the word
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#20
Your band is awesome. Great guitar work and strong vocals.

Edit: Screw Berklee. Just go big with the band.
#21
Best of luck man. Hope you get in.
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#22
Quote by roshjosh
Great help for anyone interested in Berkeley.

Also, I'm digging your band!
Hey, we're talking about Berklee here.

Thanks man, insightful stuff. I feel a lot better about what I hope to be doing in 2 years...
#23
They didn't make you sing for the call and response? They asked me to do that after the rhythm part and the lady had me go an octave over middle C. Jeez.

Good luck. Now you get to enjoy the REALLY fun part, the wait.
#24
Quote by briman007
Good luck. Now you get to enjoy the REALLY fun part, the wait.

Heh, apply for Early Action and the wait is cut to about a week from now, yay!
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
It's like you read my mind!

I got meself a self-approving sig. Kick. Ass.
#25
uh the point of sightreading is that thats exactly what it is... sightreading with no preparation. i go to university of idahos music program and you sure as hell dont get 15 MINUTES to prepare for "sightreading"

my take:

the pressure of "sightreading" can be very mild to terror induced shock..
take every break you are giving in every sightreading situation..
in some studio sessions..your "prep" time is the amount of time you have as the "head" sheets are passed out..

the terror part is when the head sheet is in the key of C...and you are told ... hey guitar one...play your part in Bb!...

Now the most experienced session guys i know would give you an evil grin...saying...yeah..whats the problem...but when that kind of thing happened to them..they soiled their panties..

its not the end of the world to miss a bar...its the recovery and staying in time..this is the real "sightreading" practice...and it is not easy..but should it happen..learn to NOT freeze up..

all top session guys miss bars...but they recover so quickly you would have a hard time telling where they missed on the playback..

play well

wolf