Berklee Online's Degree Program Gives Working Musicians Flexibility

By
Kayley Kravitz
June 4, 2014
Kim Logan
Scott Hendricks
Brad Davis
The Schmidt Family
Photo by Ben Wentzel
Photo by Mark Janssen

Singer-songwriter Kim Logan started her undergraduate music education at Berklee’s Boston campus. Like many of her classmates, Logan found herself leaving Boston to pursue professional opportunities before she completed her degree. Her career brought her to Nashville, where she took classes at Belmont University when she wasn't on tour or in a recording studio. She quickly discovered that a brick-and-mortar campus couldn’t accommodate her demanding schedule.

“When Berklee Online was born, I knew I could finally complete my degree from wherever I was—Nashville, New York City, visiting my family in Florida, or on a highway on the way to a gig,” Logan says.

Musicians worldwide revere the education provided at Berklee. But for many, spending four years in Boston isn’t feasible for several reasons, including high living expenses, familial obligations, and job commitments. For the first time in the college’s history, prospective students have the opportunity to earn a Berklee bachelor’s degree from anywhere in the world. In September 2014, Berklee Online will launch its inaugural online Bachelor of Professional Studies degree.

Berklee’s online extension school has been offering accredited online courses and certificate programs in many areas of music for the past 10 years, drawing students from across the globe. This new educational option allows students to earn a degree online, with a focus on either music production or music business. The program also gives students like Logan the option of completing online a degree that was started at the physical Boston campus.

Touring musicians can earn a degree on the road

Logan knows that a degree from Berklee will give her both the credibility and the expertise she needs to succeed in the ever-evolving music industry.

“The issues we tackle are cutting-edge while remaining grounded in the values that all music professionals appreciate,” she says. “I know that my education is better equipping me for the challenges I face and will continue to face in my trajectory in the music industry.”

Like Logan, touring opera singer Scott Hendricks values being able to continue his studies regardless of his location. While working in Toronto at the Canadian Opera Company, he discovered an ad for Berklee Online in a music store.

“I enrolled in three courses that semester. It was perfect: quality instruction and a sound structure and curriculum. I was in heaven,” he says.

Hendricks has been accepted into the music production degree program, but is considering pursuing a dual degree. But why would an established opera singer like Hendricks want to go back to school? Poised to embark on a music project that will involve writing a song for each country and territory in the world, Hendricks is seeking production, composition, arranging, orchestration, and theory skills to execute his business plan. Berklee Online will give him just that.

“The music business curriculum provides an excellent structure for starting a business. In my case, a DIY label and publishing company that I will use to promote and sell my music,” he says.

Established musicians further their careers with Berklee Online

Incoming music production student Brad Davis has enjoyed a successful career in the music industry, playing guitar alongside greats such as Earl Scruggs and teaching digital audio production at Texas A&M University. But despite his success, the Grammy-Award winning Davis knew that he still needed to complete his degree.

“I knew right where I would I go. As a musician, the only music school that I revered during my life was Berklee,” says Davis. “I will use my degree to further the education of others trying to accomplish their dreams in the field of sound recording, as I have.” Meanwhile, Berklee Online’s degree program grants Davis the flexibility he needs to work full time while enrolled in school.

Elsewhere in the world are students like Mark and Sandra Schmidt, a married Air Force couple who were stationed in Germany until recently. A multi-instrumentalist, Mark has performed with the Boston Crusaders drum-and-bugle corps and the USAF’s Tops in Blue. Sandra, the daughter of a Tejano musician, grew up singing. The two share their love of music with their children, and perform together with them in a band. As the Schmidt's prepare to retire from the Air Force, they are seeking to channel their musical interests into new careers. To do so, they needed to boost their skills, and Berklee Online provided the perfect fit, based on its reputation and convenience.

“I plan to make my second career in music and I feel that a music production degree from Berklee will significantly improve my success with any music endeavor,” says Mark.

Sandra adds, “I am applying for the online music business degree and, with that, the sky’s the limit. I’ll finish the degree at the same time that I will retire from the military, so I can pack up and move anywhere and work in the music industry.”

To learn more or submit an application for the online degree program, visit online.berklee.edu.