The violinist shares how the school has given her numerous opportunites to perform in a wide range of styles

AlyssaBarker (Berklee, US) pc Dion VanBoekel Photography

Alyssa Barker ©  Dion Van Boekel Photography

I first heard about Berklee while attending Mark Wood’s Rock Orchestra Camp, where I met Berklee’s head of strings. I was terrified of applying at first, but after hearing about how broadly I could expand my playing outside of classical music at Berklee, I decided to go for it. Now in my fifth and final year of a performance and composition double major, I couldn’t imagine where I’d be if I weren’t here.

Even though I don’t have private instruction on the electric violin, which is now my one of my main instruments, the opportunities I’ve received to perform on it has made it possible for me to concentrate fully on it. I currently play in ensembles ranging from rock groups to country bands, and even had the opportunity to front my own band, playing my own compositions during a student showcase. Because of this, I realised exactly what I wanted to do as a career. My course is also very broad academically as it’s based on a liberal arts degree, which includes classes like history and languages.

Although the string department is large in size, it only feels big in terms of how many things are available to you. Other than that, it really feels like a family. It’s an incredibly positive environment where you’re given the space to grow and learn. At Berklee you’re placed in a lot of positions where you have to take risks, so it’s important to have a safe space to do that. The faculty is also great. They come from all musical backgrounds and are simply so happy to be there.

My advice for someone wondering whether to apply is just to go for it. You’ll never know how much you can grow if you’re open to anything that comes at you. At Berklee, if you put the hard work in, you’re given endless opportunities and doors will open themselves.

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