A Day in the Life of a First-Semester Student

Based on Berklee's fall 2020 hybrid model, a typical day for students this September will comprise a mix of in-person and online classes and activities. Follow a day in the life of one first-semester student this fall.

July 8, 2020

Meet Aria, a first-semester student at Berklee College of Music. Aria is a voice principal and lives with a roommate in a double in the 160 Massachusetts Avenue residence hall. Based on Berklee's fall 2020 hybrid model, a typical day for Aria this September comprises a mix of in-person and online classes and activities. Here's Aria's Monday schedule.

8:00 a.m.: Gentle Flow Yoga (online)

Aria and her roommate attended the Health and Wellness information session during orientation and learned about the various resources available to support all dimensions of their wellbeing. Since then, they have made a pact to take Berklee’s weekly Gentle Flow yoga class. The class promises to “wake up your body, center your mind, and get you ready for the week ahead.” In the past, Aria did not consider yoga a necessary part of her routine. Now she is in her fifth week of the semester and cannot live without it.  She has her mat, towel, and mask ready to go. They sign in to Zoom and are ready to get centered for the week ahead. Namaste.


10:00 a.m.: Music Application and Theory (in person)

By now, Aria has memorized the campus health and safety measures required of her to safely navigate the day. She packs up her bag with all the essentials: face mask, charger and laptop, hand sanitizer, and student ID. Aria’s first class of the day is Music Application and Theory (MAT); it's the first course in the harmony sequence. MAT is an introductory course that guides students through key concepts in popular harmony as well as teaches them how to properly notate music.  


11:00 a.m.: Private Instruction (online, from practice room)

Next up is Aria’s voice lesson, so she heads to her reserved practice room on campus. She signs in to her virtual lesson, and her teacher has her warm up by running through scales before they start working on the song she’s been practicing over the last few weeks. Her lesson runs for 50 minutes, but Aria booked the room for two hours so that she has time afterward to practice and finish up some homework.

1:00 p.m.: Lunch

Aria’s meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of which can be picked up in on-the-go containers from the Berklee Dining Hall (the Caf) in 160 Massachusetts Avenue. Aria picks up her lunch and is meeting her friends for a social distance picnic in front of 7 Haviland Street. It is important for Aria's wellbeing for her to carve out time in her day to relax (and eat). During the social distance picnic, Aria and her friends talk about how their day is going and make plans to explore Boston this weekend.

2:00 p.m.: Ear Training (online)

After lunch, Aria has ear training, and since ear training involves individual and group singing, this is another virtual class. On Mondays, Aria signs in to this class from her room because her roommate has an in-person class at this time. They can attend other virtual classes at the same time in their room, like music technology and college writing, but with ear training’s singing requirement, Aria needs her own space. They’ve worked out a schedule: Ear training classes are three days a week. On Wednesdays, Aria reserves a practice room on campus, and on Fridays, they alternate who needs to reserve and use a practice room during this time.

3:00 p.m.: Virtual Study Hall (online)

Aria has put this weekly virtual study hall time on her calendar, which gives her and a small group of students the opportunity for face-to-face support from the chair of the Harmony Department. She doesn’t always attend (as attendance is not required), but today, she needs to ask a question about the MAT homework she was assigned this morning.

4:00 p.m.: Student Academic Mentor Meeting (in person, 921 Boylston Street)

Aria received an email last week about the upcoming registration period and has questions about which major she should choose. Luckily her student academic mentor has office hours today in 921 Boylston Street. A student academic mentor (login required), also known as an SAM, provides academic support to first-semester students as they acclimate to Berklee. SAMs hold weekly office hours, send weekly newsletters, and collaborate with the Engaging Seminar instructor to plan and facilitate out-of-class activities. During her meeting with her SAM, Aria receives helpful information about on-campus resources and understanding the major grid. Aria feels much better about the future. At the end of the meeting, her SAM reminds her about the upcoming out-of-class activity to the Boston Common.

4:30 p.m.: Break/Dinner

Aria crosses off “SAM meeting” in her agenda and is ready for a brain break. She heads back to her room, where she'll have some time to herself to catch up, rest, and eat dinner before her evening Mixed Styles Ensemble class.

7:30 p.m.: Ensemble (online, from practice room)

After dinner, Aria heads to a practice room to log in to her ensemble. For the past few weeks, Aria and her classmates have been learning new songs, recording their respective parts using different digital audio workstations (DAWs) and working to put all the pieces together to create music. Each week, Aria learns different strategies for learning new tunes, like how to transcribe solos. Transcribing is one of the best ways to learn a new song, and something that she didn’t know how to do prior to coming to Berklee. She’s been using peer training through the library to learn more about Logic and Pro Tools, as recording software was brand-new to her as well.