For most of us, the next couple of weeks will bring Easter or Passover, April Fool’s Day, and tax day… events that happen every year. However, for many would-be college and music conservatory students, the next few weeks could be life-changing. At Berklee College of Music, applicants will find out whether they have been accepted by the end of this month! Students will find out whether they have been accepted by the end of March. In addition to being the world’s largest independent music school, Berklee is near and dear to the Yoko Miwa Trio’s hearts. Yoko and Scott both attended Berklee, and Yoko is currently an Assistant Professor there.
One of the most important and nervewracking parts of the Berklee admissions process is the live audition. Auditions take place around the world. They are fifteen minutes long and can include playing a prepared piece, an improvisation section, sight-reading music, and ear training exercises. The school’s website reminds students that they aren’t expected to be perfect at everything, and also reminds them that the interview is just as important a part of the application process!
In the fall, students will arrive in Boston to start their Berklee adventure. They can study performance, jazz composition, music therapy, film scoring… for many young musicians, the long list of possibilities must seem like paradise. All majors at Berklee require at least four semesters of private music instruction, and students who choose the performance major take eight. Piano students have another audition the first week of school – this one, to match them with an instructor who is a good fit for them. Yoko is one of those instructors: rather than teaching classes, she has twenty-five students who take one-on-one piano lessons with her. On her own faculty page on the Berklee website, Yoko tells students, “No matter what style of music you’re into, the one thing that unifies all of us is our love for music. You are here because music is your life!”