Guitar Sessions


What's the program like?

Get ready for a practical, hands-on playing experience through a variety of classes, clinics, and performance activities featured as part of the largest, most comprehensive guitar program available—anywhere. You’ll be placed in performance ensembles with guitarists of similar training, stylistic interest, and ability. 

For students who are also interested in enrolling at Berklee full-time, there are several benefits to attending Guitar Sessions:

  • Find out what it takes to succeed in music and at Berklee.

  • Study with Berklee faculty.

  • Get a head start on your full-time studies.

  • Get to know Boston, New England's hub of culture and academia.

  • Learn about admission, audition, and scholarship requirements.

What guitar styles can I study?

We offer ensembles, classes, and clinics in blues, metal, jam band funk/fusion, classic rock, contemporary rock, acoustic rock/pop, jazz, fingerstyle acoustic, and the performing songwriter. You'll choose your main style for ensemble and from there you can branch out in our clinics and jams. At this time, players with a classical background can choose to branch out in a fingerstyle acoustic, jazz, acoustic rock/pop, or songwriting ensemble if they choose to bring their nylon-string instruments. Fretboard classes will be helpful to all students in any style.

Who are the instructors?

Berklee's talented and experienced guitar faculty will provide the instruction for the program and will appear in concert and clinics throughout the week. Guitar Sessions ensemble classes feature professional rhythm sections on staff for the program.

What should I bring?

Electric guitarists should bring cords for connection to amplifiers and electronic guitar tuners. Acoustic guitarists should bring guitars (and pickups, if applicable). We provide amplifiers for all participants to use in our ensembles for rehearsal and final performances. No amplifiers are provided for use in practice rooms, so you may elect to bring a set of practice headphones or a very small practice amplifier.

What's the schedule?

Classes during the week generally run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and clinics and concerts take place in the late afternoon and evening. Jam sessions run from 9:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

Every participant's schedule will include a class in each of the following:

  • Fretboard harmony: Music theory for the guitarist. You will learn music theory and how it applies to the guitar. The class includes scales, modes, chord voicings, and chord inversions.
  • Style: Focused specifics of the style of your choosing (blues, groove funk, fusion, performing songwriter, classic rock, contemporary rock, metal, or jazz) and theoretical concepts as they apply to your chosen style.
  • Ensemble: You will rehearse with other instrumentalists and perform in concert with your group on the last day of the program. Friends and family will not want to miss these performances.
  • Visiting artists: Guitar Sessions will host several visiting artists and clinicians during the week. Past programs have included John Abercrombie, Ronnie Earl, J. Geils, Greg Howe, Wayne Krantz, Lage Lund, Vinnie Moore, John Petrucci, Vernon Reid, Duke Robillard, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Mark Whitfield.
  • Jam sessions: Open to all. Play with professional rhythm sections on staff for the program under the direction of Guitar Sessions faculty members. Diverse musical styles in various venues allow you to learn more about your favorite styles and to stretch your own musical boundaries.

Where will I eat and sleep?

Applicants will be sent information and an application for residence hall housing once accepted to the program. Most program participants elect to stay in the Berklee residence halls; however, space is limited. To optimize your chances for on-campus housing, you must return the housing application immediately upon receiving it.

To be eligible to live in the residence hall, you must be 15 years old by the start of the program. If you apply to the program after mid-May, please call the Housing Office at 617 747-2292 to find out if residence hall space is still available.