For you, music is not a hobby; it is going to be your career.
The String Department at Berklee offers you the most diverse and contemporary string education to be found anywhere. We provide individualized instruction in violin, viola, cello, harp, banjo, and mandolin, and we offer you professional faculty who are specialists in each discipline, course work specifically designed to enhance your talents and abilities, and myriad playing opportunities.
We know how your instrument fits into today's music world, and we give it the respect it deserves. We know that the string player is not just a sideperson anymore, but a powerful musical leader, and that string instruments are extremely flexible and expressive, and effective in any musical style. Studying at a school that offers a variety of musical styles is the most important way for you to turn your playing into a career.
What Music Teaches You: Strings
String Department chair Melissa Howe discusses how students break the classical mold to learn the skill of improvisation and envision the music of tomorrow. Preparing yourself to make great music is hard work, but Berklee students have fun with it.
Berklee's string faculty is a group of innovative educators as well as experienced professional musicians. See the full list of faculty here...
The string department offers a broad array of diverse courses. See the full list of courses here...
Studying Strings at Berklee
At Berklee, you will find your own voice and develop your own style. You will not be limited to one direction. We encourage you to experiment with other styles that interest you, so that you can challenge yourself, improve your skills, and develop your instrumental craft. We will help you to become a string player with a strong musical identity.
Berklee prepares you for today's music by building on traditional aspects of learning. In all instruction offered in the String Department, emphasis is placed on achieving a solid foundation in the standard technical challenges of professional performance, including scales and études as well as harmonic materials, contemporary scales, and arpeggio patterns and exercises played through all 12 keys.
In your first week at Berklee, you will be given a placement audition by a String Department faculty member, and the chair of the department will match you with the teacher best suited to your needs for private instruction. Every student will take at least four semesters of private lessons and must pass a final exam at the end of each semester on the skills learned. Music education and professional music majors will take six semesters; performance majors will take eight semesters, with extra recital preparation lessons before senior jury and recital.
The Berklee World Strings
The Berklee World Strings is a chamber-sized string orchestra committed to the art of ensemble playing and the development of repertoire featuring improvisation and the rhythmic capabilities of string instruments and players. The group's repertoire includes original compositions and new arrangements of a variety of contemporary music styles and settings.
The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra
The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra is a full symphonic ensemble committed to the art of orchestra playing that honors the past, present, and future. In addition to the great orchestral compositions of the past, this orchestra's repertoire includes original compositions of faculty and students, contemporary orchestral music from around the globe, and contemporary genres such as film scores and video game music.
Berklee offers fantastic summer studies in strings. Read more here...
Through our Visiting Artist Series, you will be exposed to valuable first-hand career insight from some of the finest performers, songwriters, film composers, music business experts, and music professionals from every sector of the industry. Visiting string professionals have included: Darol Anger, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Regina Carter, John Cunningham, Erik Friedlander, David Grisman, Joe Kennedy, Alison Krauss, Mark O'Connor, Paul Peabody, Jean-Luc Ponty, Chris Thile, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Andreas Vollenweider, Claude Williams, and Sioned Williams.
Wyclef Jean records with Berklee string players and Will Wells conducting.