I’ve been accepted to Berklee college of music! Which is sick to say the least. So I guess I’ll explain how I did it, from the perspective of an international student of course.
First thing I did was get an IELTS English diploma because that’s what Berklee ask for if you’re not a citizen of an English speaking country, you need to get a 6 out of 9 and it’s not very hard to get at all.
Berklee has its European campus in the beautiful Palau de las Arts in Valencia, which is also one of the places where they hold auditions. It’s an 8 hour drive from Granada, so we rented a place near the campus and stayed for a couple of nights.
The audition which consists of 4 different bits: prepared piece, rhythmic and melodic listening exercises, improvising and sight-reading.
The whole audition is about 10-15 minutes long so don’t be surprised if they stop you halfway through your piece. The first thing you do when you go into to the room is your prepared piece, in my case it was Guthrie Govan’s waves. I got to play the whole 5 minutes and the teachers looked quite impressed and even clapped. After that, one of the 2 teachers went to the piano and played a few short licks that I had to then play on guitar, the licks were short and very simple, no big deal, especially if you’ve heard a blues guitar solo at least once. Then we improvised for a bit and it was simple enough too, the teacher didn’t say what changes he was going to play so you just had to listen and follow what he was doing, again, no big deal. Then he sat down and clapped a few rhythms that you had to repeat, honestly, they were embarrassingly easy. To finish off, they put a sheet of music in front of me that I couldn’t read because I’ve never really read music before in my life, and because I was way too happy about how the audition was going that I couldn’t really focus.
I kind of knew that I’d been accepted right after I played my prepared piece and they looked really relaxed and impressed, so it was a very nice experience all round.
After that there’s an interview where they just want to gather some info about your plans and ideas, which is another 10 minutes. They record the interviews so don’t say anything stupid.
And it’s as simple as that, the cool thing is that I got to see a student showcase night in one of the theatres in the Palau, and that was a lot of fun.
As well as the audition, there’s quite a bit of paperwork you have to take care of before and after you’re accepted, like transcribing your school reports, getting a VISA and a few financial documents. It’s not hard but it’s tedious and boring, I had to take a 5-hour bus trip to Madrid to go the US embassy to do my VISA interview. After a few weeks they send you your passport with the VISA in it. Make sure everything gets sent on time because they can turn you down if everything is not in order by the deadline, they’ll just get someone else in.
There you go, school is ending and when that’s done I’ll be going to England to work for a couple of months to save up some money to get some pedals from the Guitar Centre opposite the halls of residence I’ll be staying in when I get to Berklee.