Bachelor Degree Completed from Berklee College of Music

My Bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music is now complete. I graduated with a B.P.S. (Bachelor of Professional Studies) in Interdisciplinary Studies. It was an amazing experience.

I opted for the online classes because I am usually traveling a lot for my music gigs. I chose the Interdisciplinary Studies because it allowed the flexibility for me to combine classes in business, technology and performance under one degree.

My previous undergraduate studies included Pacific Lutheran University (piano, voice and music composition), UCLA (Extension School of Film Scoring) and Harvard (Human Rights). I transferred in the maximum number of allowed credits and was able to finish my degree in two years.

I started taking classes with Berklee Online back in 2010 when I worked as music director for Cirque du Soleil’s ZAIA show in Macau, China. Cirque du Soleil had an education program where they would pay for approved classes. Through that process I completed a Professional Certificate in Ableton Live which is the software that Cirque uses on their live shows.

Later, when Berklee College of Music started offering the Bachelor’s degree online, I enrolled in the actual degree program. In fact, it was the only college that I applied to. The reputation of Berklee was so high and they were the only high end music school offering an accredited degree program, so it was the only program I was interested in. I am so thrilled that they accepted me and that I was able to complete the degree.

Several people have questioned how a music degree can be completed online with an insinuation that it is “less” somehow. In fact, with the technology of music having a large portion of product creations designed for online consumption, it was actually better online. I was able to view student scores online, download their audio and videos and focus on online marketing and product creation projects.

It is true that Berklee currently only offers their performance degrees at the real world campus and that makes total sense. But for many of us that are already making a living as performers and need to create content for online and digital consumers, it is the perfect match to take our classes online.

As an older student, I can tell you that many of the “secrets” I learned many years ago are integrated into the online classes. A young student can have an incredible advantage by absorbing the material presented in the Berklee classes. The things in the music industry that used to be “secrets” that were held closely by music producers and engineers, are now part of the online education studies.

If by chance you are a parent wondering if it is worthy to enroll your child in the online Berklee College of Music degree program, my short answer is Yes, Yes, Yes. Now I did have the common experience, particularly with younger students in my classes, that many did not really take full advantage of the program offerings. Most notably in the optional chat sessions. The chats are a gold mine of information to speak weekly one-on-one with the professor. Very few students took advantage of this which usually meant that I had the professors for a full hour to myself. And I took greedy advantage of that and learned so much more than just what was in the class.

Can your child enroll in the online Berklee classes and end up a horrible musician living in your basement? Absolutely. But if your child is self motivated and a self starter, these classes can truly propel them way ahead and save them years of learning all their lessons the hard and slow way.

Thank you to Berklee College of Music for your wonderful classes.

And now, I’m off to graduate school!

Berklee Classes I took were:

  • BMPR-180.03 Producing Music with Ableton Live
  • BMW-103.01 Music Notation Using Sibelius
  • BME-133.01 Arranging: Woodwinds and Strings
  • BMPR-181.01 Advanced Music Production with Ableton Live
  • BMPR-130a.03 Pro Tools 101
  • BMPR-162.01 Critical Listening 1
  • BMB-196.01 Music Licensing
  • OEART-115.06 Basic Ear Training 1
  • OLSOC-180.02 Project Management for Musicians
  • OPIAN-315.01 Jazz Piano
  • OLMSC-130.04 Math for Musicians
  • OMBUS-110.02 Music Business 101
  • OMBUS-240.02 Music Business Trends and Strategies
  • OLART-100.04 Developing Your Artistry
  • OMBUS-495.01 Music Supervision
  • OMPRD-221.01 Pro Tools 110
  • OMPRD-295.01 Introduction to Game Audio
  • OSONG-221.01 Lyric Writing: Writing From the Title
  • OSONG-380.01 Songwriting for Film and TV
  • OHARM-412.01 Reharmonization Techniques
  • OLSOC-150.02 The Language of Film and TV
  • OCOMP-320.01 Creative Strategies for Composition Beyond Style
  • OLSOC-307.01 Music Cognition
  • OPIAN-220.01 Blues and Rock Keyboard Techniques
  • OLMSC-101.04 Music Production 101
  • OENTR-391.01 Creative Entrepreneurship
  • OIDMS-480.01 Interdisciplinary Music Studies Capstone
  • OMBUS-360.01 Music Business Leadership and Ethics

2 thoughts on “Bachelor Degree Completed from Berklee College of Music

  1. Thanks Conrad. I attended the physical campus between 1994 and 1999 with a major in Film Scoring, but had to leave before my last semester due to running out of funds and student aid. Twenty years later I decided to finish up through their degree completion program. Because film scoring isn’t offered as an undergraduate option through Berklee Online, I was able to change my major to professional music. I’m now looking at taking my interdisciplinary capstone project next semester, and I have a bit of trepidation. Can you let me know what it was like, what kind of projects are available, and what the expectations are?

  2. Hi Michael,
    I had to look up what my capstone project was. My degree was also Interdisciplinary Studies. The Capstone Project is it’s own 12 week class and it’s a fairly open format for you to create a project that incorporates what you learned from the undergraduate classes. My Capstone Project started as a sample piece from my then-upcoming musical “Pray the Gay Away”®. As I worked through the Capstone weekly assignments I realized that I would be better served to do a “prep” for the musical. I received permission for the change. My prep included detailed assessment of what I learned in different classes and how that could be applied to the development of my musical. My final project was actually a “centering piece” that I wrote for orchestra, piano and solo violin. I did indeed use that song as my centering piece when actually writing the musical. Also, much of the foundation I wrote out was indeed used in the actual development of that musical. It involved a lot from orchestration, lyric writing, marketing and many areas of cultural engagement and business.

    So long story short, the Capstone concept is intimidating but doing it as a class with 12 weeks of modules really guides you through finding your own motivations and mediums to capture what you learned in the undergraduate classes. My memory is that everyone in my Capstone class had a great experience and I remember the other student projects being very impressive to me.

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