Your First Year at Berklee
Get excited for your classes and extracurricular activities. Your time at Berklee will be filled with engaging experiences that connect you with your new community of peers, faculty, staff, and mentors who are here to support your journey.
First Year Curriculum
We build your entire first semester schedule for you, taking into consideration your musical interests and preferences. You will participate in classes, labs, and ensembles that aim to advance your musical literacy, expand your artistry, and strengthen your overall musicianship.
Beginning with your first semester and throughout your time at Berklee, you’ll complete courses that develop your musical proficiency in the following areas:
- Ear training
- Tonal harmony and counterpoint
- Music technology
You will complete an entering student proficiency assessment (ESPA) and Introduction to Music Technology exam to be placed in your core classes. If you are more advanced in certain areas, you may place into higher level courses or earn credit for those you test out of. To learn more, visit berklee.edu/core.
Berklee liberal arts courses diversify your professional abilities by developing your communication, critical thinking, entrepreneurial, and problem-solving skills. Many standard topics are reimagined for musicians, like learning math through the study of acoustics or exploring history by studying music throughout time.
Alongside your new peers, you’ll participate in a first semester Liberal Arts Engaging Seminar (known as a LENS course) that helps you navigate your Berklee education, build a foundation as a student and an artist, and foster your creative community.
This course aims to build your foundational writing skills and teach you how to effectively communicate your point of view by understanding techniques such as organization, form, and style. Learn more about our liberal arts curriculum at berklee.edu/liberal-arts.
We will place you in your first semester ensemble based on an audition you’ll complete during orientation week. After that, it’s up to you to choose from over 350 ensembles, such as Big Band Jazz, Turntable Ensemble, and the Music of Joni Mitchell. Learn more about your options at berklee.edu/ensembles.
From Your Major to Your Career
All students at Berklee College of Music begin undeclared, so your first year is a great time to explore all facets of the music industry leading up to your first big decision: declaring your major. With 12 different majors, it can be hard to choose just one (or two), so we host a Berklee Majors and Minors Fair to help you better understand your options. Explore the possibilities at berklee.edu/majors.
Develop Your Career on and off Campus
The Berklee Career Center offers many opportunities to advance your professional skills that you can take advantage of the moment you arrive on campus.
Berklee student jobs mirror what you’ll find in the industry, offering roles in performance, education, administration, production, and technology. Learn more at berklee.edu/student-employment.
You can apply for internships in studios, concert halls, Fortune 500 companies, and more throughout the world. Attend an internship seminar in your first year to get a head start on planning. Explore internships at berklee.edu/career-center/internships.
Beyond the Classroom
There are many ways to connect with your new home away from home outside of class.
You can regularly meet with an advisor to discuss your educational and professional goals. Together, you’ll explore the many opportunities available to you at Berklee. Learn more at berklee.edu/academic-advising.
The health and wellness resources at Berklee are specially designed for students who are also musicians. Counseling services as well as holistic wellness services like massage therapy, yoga, reiki, and much more are available. Explore your options at berklee.edu/health-and-wellness.