Berklee Offers First Online Five-Week Program

By 
Kimberly Ashton
June 22, 2020

This year's Five-Week program features visiting artists Jacob Collier, Esperanza Spalding, Victor Wooten, and Terri Lyne Carrington, Christian McBride, Gerald Clayton, Kris Davis, and Linda May Han Oh.

From the left: Jacob Collier, Esperanza Spalding B.M. '05, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Victor Wooten

This July, Berklee will launch its first-ever virtual five-week program in partnership with Berklee Online—the largest provider of accredited online music education in the world—allowing students all over the globe to spend the summer taking their musicianship to a higher level. 

The program, Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive, is the college’s flagship summer program for high-school-aged students. Traditionally held on the Boston campus, which is closed for the summer, Five-Week this year will be accessible to students from their homes. 

In many ways, the online program will resemble the on-campus one. The faculty who teach in the program on campus are the same who will teach in the program online. And, as always, there will be outstanding visiting artists. This year, those artists include some of the most influential musicians in their respective genres: Jacob Collier, Esperanza Spalding B.M. '05, Victor Wooten, and Terri Lyne Carrington, Christian McBride, Gerald Clayton, Kris Davis, and Linda May Han Oh, all of whom will be interacting with students in the Performance Perspectives class. 

Furthermore, students will still be able to audition for admission to Berklee College of Music, this year through online audition and interview (A&I) sessions. 

And, as always, there will be many engagement opportunities. This year those include clubs, mentorships, clinics, master classes, open mics hosted on Berklee Summer's Instagram account, Jackbox.tv game nights, and a "matchmaker" test to connect students who want to collaborate. (For example, "I'm a producer looking for a vocalist" or "I'm a drummer looking for a guitarist and bassist to start a band.")

In some ways, though, this year’s program will be different. Here’s how: 

It’s more affordable.

Tuition for this year’s program has been discounted by 20 percent, a savings of more than $1,000.

More college credits are available.

Students will be able to earn as many as six college credits, instead of three. Now there are six core classes, each worth one credit for students who receive at least a B.

Classes are smaller.

To make sure that students maintain a high level of engagement and attention from their instructors, certain classes will have between 10–12 students (typically such classes had 1220 students).

Classes are recorded and archived.

Students have the ability to review anything that they missed, or to watch the lesson again. They can access these recordings for up to a year.  

It’s easier to interact with others in the program.

Students have direct communication access to everyone in the program, giving them the opportunity to connect with all participants. They can also message their professors directly. In addition, the platform contains interactive teaching aids, such as playalong background tracks that highlights sheet music, mix and match quizzes, notation quizzes, etc. And everything is accessible on any device, including phones.

Surveys of students who have studied with Berklee Online show a 97 percent student-satisfaction rate.

The entire program will be hosted on Berklee Online. Since it was founded in 2002, Berklee's online school has been continuously expanded and refined to become the premier platform for online music education today.

“We have 18 years of experience teaching online and have a robust team that supports not only the learning platform but the learning design,” says Carin Nuernberg, Berklee’s vice president of academic strategy. Surveys of students who have studied with Berklee Online show a 97 percent student-satisfaction rate, Nuernberg points out, which “means that students tend to really have a wonderfully immersive and engaging experience with us.” 

The Five-Week program, which runs from July 11 to August 14. It is open to anyone 14 or older who has been playing their instrument or singing for at least six months. Those who wish to attend must apply by July 1. 

For more information, and to see a demonstration of the Berklee Online interface for Five-Week, watch:

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