Making Connections

  Professor Livingston Taylor shares anecdotes and music with new students, their families, and continuing students in Westborough, MA.
  Berklee students and families gathered at the Eagan family home in New Canaan, CT before fall classes began.



For many, it's a way to make new friends before arriving in Boston, others are happy to reconnect with acquaintances, many more are eager to hear what is new or to unravel the mystery of how contemporary music is taught at Berklee. All are pleased to just sit back and enjoy some fabulous music. Since May 2009, the college has hosted 14 welcome events ranging in size from 10 to 85 people, which have been held in Portland, OR; Malibu, CA; Miami, FL; New York City; Toronto, Canada; and nine other locations across the continent.

Berklee has made an effort to welcome new students and their families into the musical community before they arrive in Boston. Sending a son or daughter hundreds of miles away to study music can cause considerable angst among families, so these welcome efforts help to shed light on how the college meets the needs of its students. Most of this year's events brought together a mix of new and continuing students, which afforded new students and their parents a chance to hear firsthand about the culture that awaits new students.

Remarkably, entering students connected with one another easily; many had met during their Five-Week Summer Performance Program experiences or through local gigs. Some students discussed their evolution as musicians and young adults since they entered the college. Continuing students stressed that Berklee is a demanding place, especially in the first year. They expressed satisfaction at having found a musical home at Berklee, where students, faculty, and staff pursue their music with the vigor they feel. New-student parents-many of whom had only a passing knowledge of Berklee-eagerly absorbed information and reassurance that Berklee is the appropriate choice for their son and daughter.

President Roger Brown was on hand at several of the events to share his vision for the college now and into the future. And at several events, Professor Livingston Taylor also offered details on his 20-year association with the college. A highlight of some of the summer gatherings was an up-close, unplugged performance by Taylor. Percussion Professor Steve Wilkes offered an additional faculty perspective at three events. During the Dallas, TX, gathering, Hicks and Vickie Morgan-who created the Livingston Taylor Endowed scholarship fund at Berklee-presented the scholarship award to current Berklee student Evelyn Brown of Austin, TX.

October events have been confirmed in Philadelphia, PA, and Chicago, IL. To date a total of 633 people-including new and continuing students and their families, friends, and alumni-have attended these gatherings. "These events have been a fabulous opportunity for new and continuing students to connect and to let parents know they are an important constituency in our musical community," noted Berklee Assistant Vice President Marjorie O'Malley observed. "We hope the relationships we are forming with new students and their families will last for years."