Founded in 1945 by pianist and composer Lawrence Berk, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts is one of the biggest contemporary music colleges in the world.
Originally called Schillinger House, the college offered training in jazz and contemporary music for the radio. Many of its first attendees were former servicemen who had fought in World War II. As the institution grew in scope and size it was renamed after the founder’s son.
Berklee has always had a strong practical focus, right from the beginning Lawrence Berk preferred hiring working musicians to teach rather than academics and this approach has continued until this day.
Berklee was the first college to offer programs in jazz, rock, film scores, DJ-ing and electronic production. It’s innovative style and wide range of study options means it boasts over 250 Grammy winners among its alumni.
The main campus is spread over 25 buildings primarily in Boston’s Black Bay area and offers a wide range of modern music facilities to students, including over 300 practice rooms, the college also features the Berklee Performance Centre, a 1,200 seat renovated theatre in Boston. There is also a campus in Valencia, Spain. The student body numbers a few thousand, with international students from over 100 different countries attending.
Berklee offers around 12 majors and a number of baccalaureate programs, all with a focus on practical learning designed to equip students with a wide range of skills, not only in their chosen field and instruments but also a sound knowledge of how the music business works.