Berklee Guitar Certificate
Recently the postman brought me a lovely package, my BerkleeMusic Master certificate in Guitar. This is my third certificate from BerkleeMusic and on a personal level, the most rewarding. As a younger man, I harboured dreams of moving to Berklee College of Music in Boston and studying Jazz. There was a fine Jazz programme available […]
As a younger man, I harboured dreams of moving to Berklee College of Music in Boston and studying Jazz. There was a fine Jazz programme available in Sydney and I even went so far as to prepare an application. But, the nature of the course was not for me. However, the musicians coming out of Berklee, especially players like Bill Frisell and John Scofield embody what I love most about Jazz Guitar.
The Berklee Master certificate in Guitar involves 8 courses of 12 weeks duration. The material is delivered online, in a combination of text, PDF charts, audio clips, videos and flash animations. For my programme I chose Rhythm and Groove Guitar, Blues Guitar, Classic Rock Guitar, Funk and R&B soloing and two courses each of Chord Theory (101 an 201) and Jazz Guitar (101 and 201).
Each course involves weekly learning of songs and musical examples. There are recording assignments to complete, class discussion and online chats to participate in and plenty of feedback from the tutors.
In tune with Berklee’s overall ethos, the courses are built around giving you a solid repertoire for playing and professional work. On the Rock course, for example, we had the opportunity to learn 3-4 songs a week, covering a range from early Eric Clapton to Joe Satriani.
The pace can get pretty intense, especially if you do two courses at once. It’s not hard to go over 15 hours a week on the more difficult material. And, make no mistake, the material gets tough. In my final course, Jazz 201, we were learning and playing solos from Jazz greats like John Coltrane!
I took the course to kick my practice habits up a gear. Although I play and record most days, not playing live can make you lazy. Moreover, the vocabulary of Jazz and Funk is constantly evolving and it helps to have an expert guide you to new sounds, voices and ideas.
To that end I’m glad I made the time for this certificate. Listening back on assignments I can hear the growth in my playing. Moreover, my practice habits have changed (including regular use of Amazing Slow Downer to play along with and transcribe solos).
Of course, it’s not the same as packing up and moving to Boston full-time. But, for someone in my stage of life, with nearly 25 years of electric guitar playing behind me, it is such a gift to access this kind of programme and faculty via the internet.
[tags] BerkleeMusic, Berklee College of Music, Guitar [/tags]