Worth it? The Berklee alumni list includes Pat Metheny, Esperanza Spaulding, and even Psy. For the mere mortal, the question is what's waiting on the other side, especially 'in this economy,' and especially in this industry.
Here's the most updated breakdown of costs, provided by Berklee itself.
Berklee sticks out as a nosebleed, though other esteemed music schools are also demanding ransoms. That includes the Julliard School ($55,056), Oberlin ($57,025), and Eastman School of Music ($57,246). The College Board recently calculated that the average private college now costs $42,244 on a 'moderate budget,' a figure that drops to $21,447 for in-state schools.
discography Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I think very few are paying $62k, but they are paying a kings ransom I'm sure. Why, though? Except for the handful that will go on to play in symphonies and what, what will you do? Tout your violin playing skills when applying for a engineering job at Google?
Same goes for degrees in 'music industry', who would pay for these? Who would hire a person with one of these? Ultimately it comes down to grit. Those who will be great will be great regardless of whether they went to college. Spielberg, Geffen, Meyers, Fields, Weintraub, Gates, Allen, Jobs, Zuckerberg, etc., etc.
The credentialing system is way out of wack and except for a few vested interests such as the universities themselves and those up to their eyeballs in debt that feel they need to maintain some facade that it was worth it and have a leg up in the job marketplace.
I sense a backlash is coming and some sanity will be restored to the system soon enough. The value of the degree is directly proportional to how many there are. Once you started requiring a BA just to be a secretary you've jumped the shark.
lifer Wednesday, September 12, 2012
There seems to be a misunderstanding of the role of education. We used to clearly delineate vocational from academic. If you are going to school because you think it will help you get a job then you may be making poor choices of where to attend. If you are seeking higher education and more finely honed critical thinking and analytical skills then your choices should be different.
Those who tout celebrated drop outs such as David Geffen et al miss the point. Most of the Internet millionaires are people you never heard of who work for Geffen, Google, Intuit, Ebay Apple, etc., etc., etc. The overwhelming majority of them have advanced degrees.
The cats who learned how to read music and learned the technical aspects of syncing to image or writing for ensembles are the one's working today. RZA did not go to music school but he is VERY well-read and transitioned from producing rap to scoring films and now writing/acting directing. On the other hand one Berklee grad, JR Rotem, has got quite a pop/r&b track record. His music does not SOUND learned or sophisticated (at least not to me) but his training and schooling are clearly the foundation of his incredibly formulaic productions.
School or not make sure you keep learning.
Written while listening to Papercranes/Synapse
discography Wednesday, September 12, 2012
No one is missing the point. I don't tout them as much as I say that the personalities that are going to change the game are going to do so regardless of whether or not they complete the treadmill for institutional learning, which is essentially soulless machine training soulless workers to perform soulless tasks.
Besides, in most start ups, the rewards are limited to the founders, investors and a very few early employees they wouldn't of gotten on board without being generous with the stock options. Most at Google, Microsoft, Asylum/Geffen were hardly walking away with anything more then a living wage.
I'm looking forward to the next round of online learning at reasonable prices a lot of Silicon Valley big wigs are putting some serious capital behind. The system is broken and it needs to be brought back to reality and scaled appropriately.
But yes, always keep learning, whether if it is iTunes U, a large Kindle collection or if $62k a year is your thing.
BassManCometh Thursday, September 13, 2012
What people fail to realize here is that berklee is an experience. Its not just some old guy teaching harmony and theory. Berklee is learning how to play "The Chicken" from the guy who played it with jaco and sco. It's not a pissing contest like most expensive universities. Berklee is not a piece of paper to show employers. Berklee is about the people, the place, and your fellow students. It can't be compared to a number. Maybe you have to be an alumni to understand.
The truth is, if your worth a damn, you dont pay the full price anyways. Most students have a scholarship. (at least the people I associated with) And 16,000 for room and board? Yeah if you live in the dorms, most students do that for only a semester. Students also only buy the laptop once. Obviously we don't get a new one for every semester!!! Yes it is expensive, but 62,000 dollars? I don't know anyone that payed that 4 years.
Berklee Alumni 2012 Thursday, September 13, 2012
I hear what you are saying, but I think that the approach you are taking is biased and unfair. It is true that many students receive scholarships, but most of the scholarships are either performance or need based, meaning that you either have to be amazingly talented at your chosen instrument or posess a severe lack of financial stability. I never received a scholarship for two reasons: my family is middle class, so we were above the need based cutoff, and I went to Berklee to study music business, not performance, therefore I wasn't the best in my class at my instrument. Does that mean that I was not worth a damn? I don't think so. I made the deans list every semester, fully immersed myself in the developing world of music tech companies and am now employed by Berklee within their online school. The unfortunate aspect of my situation, however, is that my parents (who fortunately paid for my schooling) were forced to pay full tuition for the entirety of my my college career simply because I wasn't eligible for any scholarships. I'm a business guy, not a performance guy, but the experiences and knowledge gained through my time at Berklee was valuable beyond belief. I just believe that for individuals such as myself, of which there are many at Berklee (which, contrary to popular belief, is not just a performance school), there should be more scholarship opportunities based on scholastic performance and "business characteristics", however you wish to word it.
Overall, I think the point that all current Berklee students and recent Alumnai can agree upon is that the tuition has to go down, and figuring out how to do that is in Berklee's hands. In my opinion, this needs to start by having a shift in budget priorities. As many of you may be aware, Berklee is currently in a hiring freeze, and the reason for this freeze is that Berklee overshot it's fiscal budget by quite a large sum. Now I am not in a solid position to say where this money went, and I definitely am not going to try and tell Berklee how to spend it's money, but anyone can look at this and see that the way Berklee is spending IS affecting it's students in a negative way. So what to do? I don't know. All I know is that the tuition needs to go down, and Berklee HAS to offer a comprehensive explanation to it's students as to why their tuition continues to rise, and most likely should also start doing a better job at managing it's money.
Jeff Robinson Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The Musician/Engineer Survey from a few years ago had a lot of interesting findings related to folks who are either 1. Musicians 2. Recording Engineers 3. or Both:
An interesting thing that came out of that study showed that the average wage of a recording engineer was $23,000 a year in 2009 (although that stat is not tallied in these results).
R.P. Thursday, September 13, 2012
I manage and rep some of the most talented mix engineers in the U.S. and I can tell you that they probably make a little over $30k interning their first year alone.
I should also point out that they have graduated at the top of their classes. What you do with what you are given is up to you.
Jeff Robinson Saturday, September 15, 2012
Wages have dropped. Local community colleges offering degrees in Recording Technology will tell you the average wage is $45,000 for a Recording Engineer. The reality is that competing with kids in their basement who may work for very little money, still takes away work from those who work professionally. 77,000 records came out last year, 94% didn't sell over 100 copies. You get the point. The colleges make huge money offering a useless degree. When I had management, I got paid well, but it was just before the Pro Tools revolution. All has changed since the late 1990's.
Julian Chan Friday, September 28, 2012
I am in LA, working as an engineer for 11 years, graduated from Berklee in 2001. If you think there is a set income for a graduating engineer, dream on. When I got out I worked as a runner in a studio, and then an assistant, then finally some engineering work here and there. If you are lucky, you are earning in the region of about $20k a year. If you are really lucky a little more. Once you are engineering, unless you have a steady gig, you earn a lot of money here and a little money there. Nothing is stable. In this economy now, even some engineers with major credits are suffering. 35k-45k a year is not unreasonable, but highly doubtful after graduation. Chances are, at least half of all engineering graduates will not be working in the business after 5 years from their graduation date.
Berklee was great for me, getting down the basics. I would not trade that experience for anything...but I transferred half my credits in, and I only needed 5 semester to finish with a degree, so I did not have to spend as much. And I got a scholarship. Plus....it was cheaper back then.
Another big eye opener for me...my first semester I worked as a phone caller to raise money for student scholarships. We called parents and ex students for donations. I had a list of abuot 300 people to call over the course of 3 or 4 days. On the calling cards we had year of graduation, their major and their current jobs, and were asked to update current jobs etc. Over half of the graduates I called were no longer doing music. Bartenders, construction, separate personal businesses not related to music, corporate jobs.....That is when I realized I needed to decide if this was the life for me. Sometimes I regret being in this business, but I can't imagine doing anything else. It makes me happy. Not necessarily rich....but happy.
poopdoop Wednesday, September 12, 2012
as a graduate of university of the arts (a similarly priced school), i would gladly discourage any musician from doing this. the economy will perpetually be in the shitter and you will be on the hook for that massive amount of debt.
i had grants, scholarships and help from my parents and i'm still footing $500 a month. with minimum wage and wages all around being shit, even getting a job outside of the industry you can't keep pace with this nonsense.
shaking a hand and practicing is worth more than that school could ever give you.
dangude Wednesday, September 12, 2012
It is most definitely worth it if you want to pursue a career in traditional classical performance or teach.
EMC Wednesday, September 12, 2012
This is misleading. It's very expensive BUT this also includes a computer, health insurance, books, transportation etc. Most of these are optional or at the very least, much less in reality.
So, tuition is $35K...not that high for an elite private education, not to mention that you're eligible for scholarships and financial aid. The rest of your costs depend on choices you make. Most students at Berklee don't live on campus which would obviously save you thousands.
Eubanks Wednesday, September 12, 2012
STop kidding yourself. Boston is one of the most expensive cities to live and that's for food, apt. or whatever have you. Plus this is in the nice pricier section of town so you're easily in the $50K-range on a severe budget
EMC Thursday, September 13, 2012
I live in Boston and know how expensive it is. What I see hundreds of thousands of college students doing here is rooming together in small places, not in Back Bay but in Alston or Brighton. They save thousands of dollars. So I agree it's expensive but Berklee's dorms and meal plan and all the extras on that list are really not how most students live. That's all optional. You can do it for a lot less.
Shawn Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I attended Metalworks Institute of Sound & Music Production in Missisauga, in Canada. Although it is not a school such as Berklee or Julliard, I paid around $35,000 for a 2 year program (3 years consenced into 2, no summers).
Sequenz_ Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I'm taking a "Music Business" diploma course at SAE Institue Mexico, and the price for this one-year program is around USD $15,000.
It already got me a job, because I was very hardworking and one of my professors asked me to work for him, within the music industry, so my investment was well worth it. I'm four months away from finishing it, and I already feel like dropping out. My goal was to get in the industry, and once I achieved it, it doesn't make any sense to continue, taking into account that to finish it I would be required to pay around USD $5,000 more.
I'm leaning more to get back to my Master's Degree classes (I quit for a year to take the Music Business thing). In the long run, a Master's Degree is much more valuable.
@jsnnews Wednesday, September 12, 2012
$62,319 this is a low estimate
Didn't factor in recreational Thursday, September 13, 2012
Beer/alcohol/drugs are expensive and certainly add up.
I'm only sort of kidding.
@wampusmm Thursday, September 13, 2012
You'll learn a few things, but...
Berklee Alumni 2012 Thursday, September 13, 2012
I would also like to point out that the majority of expenses listed on this graph are living expenses associated with residing in Boston, which is an extremely expensive city. If you compare only TUITION costs, which is really all that Berklee is responsible for, it does not stick out among the crowd. Looking at Julliard's website, for example, their tuition is $35,140, wheras Berklee's is $35,450. Something to think about, perhaps?
Berklee Student Thursday, September 13, 2012
This is misleading because Berklee College of Music Online you can get a masters certificate for around 10K & finish in under a year if you work hard with all the same knowledge.
Why has no one mentioned AI which can go up to 90K for a degree in the same field?
@helienne Friday, September 14, 2012
yet you're expected to work for free once graduated
Scammed! Friday, September 14, 2012
This is not to mention other "music business" (that term should be used very lightly) schools. I'd venture to guess that they're graduationg 500-2000 kids every year in this vein of degree. There aren't jobs for these kids. This is not preparing them for the future. Not to mention, the schools don't teach anything close to what you need to know. I was advised to drop out by several people. Once I received a job offer worthy enough of doing so...well I did.
Reality Check Saturday, September 15, 2012
The best advice I can give to anyone reading this article is this:
(1) Unless you're mooching off wealthy parents, get a good day job. Do your music on the side. Following your passion is great, but fifty million other people share some form of that passion with you, and they're all thinking they can become bazillionaires, too. Not going to happen.
(2) If you do go to school to get a music degree, unless you're "cream of the crop" (in which case you should just be out making music), hunt out smaller programs where you'll have more opportunities to interact with the professors, collaborate directly with other musicians--and students in other departments, like film, theater, even physics--and which won't come with the huge price tag.
(3) Achieving financial success as a musician is going to boil down to two things: (i) developing outstanding business savvy, and (ii) identifying a niche you enjoy and becoming one of the best and most persistent at it. Degrees mean nothing. For that matter, neither does musical brilliance. Mozart didn't have a B.A. or B.Mus., but he sought and achieved true mastery of the music of his time (he also benefited from being raised by the fore-most music educator in Europe at that time--his father). On the flip side, Mozart was almost perpetually broke because he never learned how to maintain a manageable budget--it's not that he was an unappreciated genius, it's that he was a spendthrift genius.
Dacesita Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Reality Check Saturday, September 15, 2012
I'd like to add that a buddy of mine recently was accepted into Berklee's new grad program in Spain. Apparently a Master's at Berklee also costs about $60K, and they offered him no financial aid at all. Sure, he might save a few bucks by living on rice and beans but nothing like enough to afford the program.
Maybe Berklee just doesn't worry too much about providing financial aid as long as they get paid. That means that rich kids and third world kids (who are heavily--or entirely--subsidized by rich Euro and American charities) end up being the ones who can and will actually attend.
An interesting side note, though -- are any of those kids ever going to make anything even approaching half of $60K a year as artists? The number of people doing that is very, very small. I doubt most of the Berklee faculty does, which is why they actually hold faculty positions.
gibberish Sunday, September 16, 2012
Do some fact checking please before you spout off gibberish. There are 4,400 students at Berklee studying one (or two) of 12 majors including music business, filmscoring, music education, music therapy, etc. Meaning, the college has evolved far beyond its reputation solely for performance since 1945, yet performance remains its legacy and rightly so. That said, it is not a technical school, it is a college conferring a bachelor degree (now master's too) so students take three intense and rigorous course groupings—core music, liberal arts, and their major(s)—to prepare them to be open-minded citizens of the world, not just technically proficient musicians.
Berklee music business graduates are employed at every major talent agency, record label and sublabel, music publisher, concert promoter, entertainment law firm, venue, musical instrument/software/hardware manufacturer etc., as well as every size and specialty iteration of such from tiny startup they founded while still in college to up and comers chomping away at the market share of the biggest players. So please, before you take a stroke with your giant brush of misinformation and misperception, do some fact checking. 212 Grammys and over a half-billion records sold is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Dacesita Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Long story short:
I am from an Eastern European country with parents earning in month together what one person earns in three days in place where the school was. So I had to figure things out on my own.
I went to 2 schools in Western Europe for what is equalent to Berklee's performance major. I finished none of these schools - the first because they kept on increasing the cost and I as a person without any parental support in a foreign land without job permit or language, no scholarships or grants couldn't keep up with them by playing 50 EUR a night bar gigs and weddings paid in cash (I also paid all living expenses). And the second school because the box you have to fit in is often killing creativity and I didn't fit in there.
The first school was a Berklee partner school in Europe. So I had a lot to do with all that crowd often coming over. I had a decent sneak peak of how it ticks and it was not fitting for me. All these schools are heavily jazz oriented (performance majors) and the credits you have to get are ridiculous. At some point I audition for a scholarship, got 50%, but still the USA student visa required the above listed living expenses on my bank account before I apply for a student visa. I was not eligible to any domestic, other or US scholarships besides that so I just let it go.
Well, I know many people who have graduated from Berklee. And? Well, yeah, they have a better start-off than those who didn't study. I now live in New York City and have a Green Card and I don't regret not studying there. I have met all these Berklee guys at industry networking events, Reverb Nation, jam sessions, house parties, gigs and afterparties. And from there it goes the normal way - you meet exchange info, then maybe jam sometime else. What I have noticed though, for few exceptions (and some 500 "stars" out of that HUGE number of Berklee graduates over the years IS few) most wind up working as a sidemen, not frontmen and also as producers and business people. I have found out for myself that no school really promotes artistic individuality. It's all about having your licks and standard repertoire together plus A+ sightreading so you can sit in on tour with one rehearsal. Since I have no interest in touring for others, being a side musician or producer I can care less if I went to Berklee or another school. I know the people I need to know anyways and after the school there is real life - you mix within the industry. Bottom line is do what you do very well, be cool and have an entrepreneurial spirit.