August 18–23, 2013
ANNOUNCEMENT: Students who complete both the Songwriting Workshop (August 14-17), and Guitar Sessions (August 18-23), will receive a $100 discount.
What's the program like?
Guitar Sessions, now in its 22nd year, is the largest, most comprehensive summer guitar program available anywhere. Through a variety of classes, clinics, and performance activities, the program emphasizes practical, hands-on playing experience for today's guitar player. All participants will 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.
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.
In a career that spans three decades and a discography that includes more than a dozen eclectic and innovative recordings, six-time Grammy nominee Mike Stern has established himself as one of the premier jazz and jazz-fusion guitarists and composers of his generation. Born in Boston in January 1953, Stern grew up in Washington, D.C., then returned to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. After college, he got his start as a guitar player with Blood, Sweat & Tears at age 22. Following a brief stint with Billy Cobham’s powerhouse fusion band from 1979 to 1980, he moved to New York City, where he was recruited by Miles Davis to play a key role in Davis’s celebrated comeback band of 1981 (which also included bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Al Foster, percussionist Mino Cinelu and saxophonist Bill Evans). During his three-year period with Miles, Stern appeared on three recordings with the jazz maestro: Man with the Horn, Star People, and the live We Want Miles. He toured with Jaco Pastorius’s Word of Mouth Band from 1983 through 1985 and returned to Miles’s lineup for a second tour of duty that lasted close to a year. Learn more...
What should I bring?
Electric guitarists should bring cords for connection to amplifiers and electronic guitar tuners. Acoustic guitarists should bring guitars with pickups. 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?
The program begins with registration and auditions on Sunday morning, August 18. Classes, lessons, labs, ensembles, and other related events will begin Sunday afternoon and continue through Friday. The final concert begins on Friday at 11:00 a.m. The program will end by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 23, following a brief closing and award ceremony.
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 of age 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.