Editor’s Note: Why Berklee MUST be More than a Microcosm

July 24, 2017

I remember saying in one of my first times speaking publicly at Berklee that I felt Berklee was a microcosm of our world presently (the good and the bad), and what it could potentially be. I still believe that. Even as armed officers invade our campus with the promise to protect and some of our fear that they will harm, even as our Mission Statement lists music of the African Diaspora as the music upon which the curriculum is mostly based, yet only about 5% of the student body is made up of said Diaspora (and has one of the highest attrition rates of any ethnic group on campus), even as my friends drop out for lack of funds, even as…

The thought crossed my mind today that we cannot simply BE a microcosm of our world, a smaller reflection of beauty but chaos, peaceful pauses but certain warfare, songs about love but a reality where hate pervades and pierces the skin like the fire from a flying bullet. Berklee, a place filled with brilliant artists and a myriad of essential minds, cannot be a singing microcosm. Instead, we must transcend into a prototype: an example for the world to look to for guidance and hope. The idea that artists can be leaders isn’t new. And I’ve seen fantastic moments at Berklee that proved it was possible to achieve:

A multicultural protest for black lives:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information being exchanged from elders to youth and vice versa:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faculty harmoniously sharing their gifts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But these moments are fleeting, when they should be sustained. Like a true microcosm of the larger world, we return to our siloed positions of competition rather than collaboration, of hierarchy rather than higher thinking and feeling, and the pain that is destroying our world makes its way into our school. Now, sure, tragedy makes for some great music. Is that a good enough reason for us not to hold ourselves accountable for not being better than we currently are? I don’t think so. I guess as the summer starts to wind down, and we prepare for a new academic year, I want to believe that Berklee won’t just move onward, but that it will move upward. That starts with you. It starts with me. So, here are a few simple things we could all do to make our school more than a microcosm:

INVITE SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR USUAL CIRCLE TO COFFEE

JOIN A CLUB OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

VOLUNTEER AT AN ORGANIZATION IN BOSTON THAT COULD USE MUSIC (AND DON’T POST ABOUT IT ON INSTAGRAM)

BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO CALL OUT PREJUDICE WHEN YOU SEE IT, HARMFUL GOSSIP WHEN YOU HEAR IT, AND NEGATIVE ENERGY WHEN YOU FEEL IT

OFFER TO HELP SOMEONE WHO YOU SEE STRUGGLING IN ONE OF YOUR CLASSES THIS FALL

Do one of these or something like this at least once a week for the entire semester. Watch your experience at Berklee transform, not just for you, but for those around you. No one ever makes the world better alone, but someone’s gotta start. It might as well be us.

Sincerely,

Dominique Jones, Editor-in-Chief

About the Author

domjones
Dom Jones is a dual major in Music Business and Songwriting, and her work has been published in Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Blavity and Ebony.com. She released her debut album, Wingspan, in 2014 and her follow up EP, Blackbird in 2016. Find out more about her at iamdomjones.com