Studying Business Strategy with Berklee College of Music
Under the guidance of professor Andreea Apetrei, a field trip was organized to the Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain. The main Berklee College of Music campus is located in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America and it is largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. The only campus outside the United States is located in Valencia. Therefore, are many reasons why Berklee chose Valencia out of all cities around the world.
Visiting Berklee College of Music
Valencia is a city of music, and Spain itself is a port of cultures. It was founded in 1945 by pianist and composer Lawrence Berk and during that time almost all of the music schools focused primarily on classical music. Now it offers courses in a wide range of contemporary and historic styles, including rock, flamenco, hip hop, reggae, salsa, and bluegrass.
The campus in Valencia is located in the heart of the city – in the City of Arts and Sciences. Furthermore, with a small group of Erasmus students and two professors from Catholic University of Valencia, we had the opportunity to visit this unique campus. At the entrance we got nominal passes – there is no access for “people from the street” said Jorge Rostoll Leblanc, the Senior Director of Berklee College of Music. He led us through the corridors of the temple of music and we started to sink into its inexpressible atmosphere. The campus was completely empty – only a few students were resting in the lobby, working on their computers and drinking coffee with biscuits. It was about 6 pm, nothing surprising, I thought, classes have already ended. “They have a break now“; said Jorge “usually they work here until 2 AM”.
One of the things you notice immediately is the sound, or rather its absence. The campus is absolutely soundproof – you can’t hear anything of what is happening outside, either anything what is happening in different rooms of this building. We sat in a cozy room and Jorge explained to us the organization of Berklee from business side. He explained that the main priority of Berklee is its students “Our alumni are wildly successful; they receive Grammy Award every year” – he said.
“Our alumni – is our marketing itself”
Berklee supports this point of view following its mission: “to develop students and to make them succeed”. However, to enter in Berklee is not easy – only the most talented and clever young people all over the world can become students of this university. Now the university has about 4500 students. Students from 100 countries outside the U.S. accounted for approximately 30% of the student population. South Korea, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and China were the top five countries of origin.
Nevertheless, given the fact that one year of study at Berklee worth almost $40,000; I thought an immense talent is not enough. But Jorge immediately assured me that everything is not so. There are scholarships offered to the best talents. Berklee is looking for the best students all over the world and scholarships for them are a huge investment – approximately 20% of income of this organization.
After the exciting lecture, Jorge invited us to walk across campus. That day I saw a lot of things for the first time in my life, and the existence of some of them I even couldn’t have imagine before. We all spellbound were walking from room to room and could not get over the surprises. They consist of: A DJ Room, a recording room, a life room, a room for processing music, a room with a perfect sound and a lot of others. All of them were accompanied by a detailed description from Jorge and I was eager to see how people use all these amazing inventions. Moreover, how do they create music: Insanely expensive and innovative instruments for recording and processing of music were waiting for their students, facilities fully soundproof. Every centimeter of Berklee, each room was screaming with professionalism.
I was most surprised by the perfectly symmetric room. The very shape of that room was almost round and if you sit at the desk in the center you would notices that many different objects were symmetrically placed on both sides like the two speakers, two screens, two windows, and so on. “It helps you to hear the sound accurately during the recording of the song”, Jorge explained. Sound waves are kicking against symmetrically arranged objects and it does sound accurate, not distorted by anything. In another room, we were surprised by the console about 5 meters in length for processing the music. There are about a hundred of different buttons that were responsible for various effects imposed on the music. It seemed impossible for one person to manage with this invention.
Magic! I wondered
Strolling through the corridors, I also noted the atmosphere, which reigns in this building. The atmosphere of inspiration, art and music. I believe the fact that students can enjoy the amazingatmosphere of City of Arts and Sciences while working will strongly effect on their inspiration.
We thanked Jorge for an excursion and hurried to the concert organized by Berklee students in City of Arts and Sciences. Normally, concerts take place every Friday’s evening at 8 pm from May to July. Concerts are free and opened to the public. So there were many people sitting on the chairs and enjoying the evening: young people, people with children, elderly people, and those who just want to enjoy good music. It was difficult to imagine better ending to this evening.
Author: Marina Sviatnenko, Erasmus student from Warsaw University