7 Classic Moments Every Berklee Student Has

by Lily Lyons

Photo: Puk Khantho

We’ve all had those times going to Berklee where we realize what we are experiencing wouldn’t happen anywhere else. There’s a lot to love or hate about this school, but no matter how you feel, you can agree that there is nothing quite like it. To celebrate this crazy place (and procrastinate about my midterms) I brought together some of my favorite classic Berklee moments:

1. Getting lost in 150

150 is an ever-changing maze that probably has some secret, savage beast in its depths…A beast that feeds on bebop licks and Adele covers with too many melismas, beholden only to Roger Brown. Jokes aside, no matter what semester you are, you still sometimes find yourself standing in a hallway you swear you have never seen before. It’s a building that is as lovable as it is janky. What other school has the 200 rooms on the 3rd floor anyway? Or ghosts that compulsively turn on the fire alarms?

2. Experiencing Berk Days

In the actual world, Monday is Monday and Tuesday is Tuesday. It’s comforting, and you take it for granted. But at Berklee, Monday can become Wednesday, or Friday, or I-don’t-even-know-anymore-day. It’s like the days of the week got bored with being themselves or had identity crises. And while it can fun to shake your schedule up, sometimes you are overwhelmed with your ten classes, part time job, and gigs and you just want it to be Friday for real.

3. Hearing “let’s jam sometime.”

You’ve probably said this or had this said to you, in seriousness or as a joke. Occasionally you do actually jam and connect with some crazy-good player or make a new friend. But more often than not it never happens because everyone’s on Berklee time, worried about not being good enough, or overwhelmed. The world will never hear the sounds of your oud and tuba riffs spilling out of an ensemble room and you’ll be left to wonder what it could have been.

4. Feeling Snarky Puppy love

No matter how you feel about Snarky Puppy, you are inevitably exposed to Snarky Puppy love. “They’re just so good,” your friends gush. Whenever they come to Boston, everybody who gets tickets acts like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Slowly, if only out of peer pressure, you may find yourself geeking out over “What About Me?” as you pump it through your headphones while walking down Boylston street. You can say you don’t get what the hype is about, but you still can’t escape it…or any of Berklee’s other musical crushes (think Hiatus Coyote or John Mayer.)

5. Our school consuming other schools

Berklee is kind of like Pac-Man and Boco is a Pac-Dot. BoCo may have unique strengths like musical theater, dance, and classical music performance, but that doesn’t stop it from being eaten. The press releases call it a merger, but we all know what’s really up. Not that we necessarily mind: it could be nice to improve Berklee’s guy-to-girl ratio, and have more practice spaces and so forth. But it makes us wonder: what school will fall next to Berklee’s relentless expansion?

6. Not being able to explain what you are doing to family and friends

You come home for break all excited to share what you have learned with your people, only to be met with blank stares when you talk about sidechaining, secondary dominants, or sync licenses. At some point, you realize that they think you are babbling incoherently. Your analyzing the chord progressions of the background music at restaurants or guessing the pitch of the vacuum cleaner is just further proof to them that you are strange. But then again, they always knew you were a little different and they love you anyway.

7. Discovering people who are crazy like you

Berklee may well be the first time in your life when you are surrounded people who are as excited about music as you are. They want to hear about your a cappella arrangement of Aaliyah, or talk for hours about mixing. They think it’s normal to disappear into a tiny windowless room for half a day to practice. With them, you feel confident in your love of music… and comfortable singing solfege in public. The world may think you are crazy, but now you’re not alone.