How to Enroll
- Submit your registration.* Begin by submitting your registration online. If applicable, you may need to submit additional supporting materials.
- Make your tuition payment by June 1.* All programs have limited capacity, so be sure to complete your full tuition payment to reserve your space in the program.
- Request housing. If you will be age 15 or older by the start of your program and require on-campus accommodations, complete the Residence Hall Contract in the Next Steps tab of your registration portal .
*Please note: This program has limited capacity. Submission of registration materials alone does not guarantee participation in the program. You will secure your spot by paying in full. When the program capacity has been reached, registrants who have not paid in full will be placed on a waitlist.
The intensive is meant to replicate a true Berklee College of Music undergraduate experience. You will select one principal instrument (voice included) to study during the program. You may choose an electronic digital instrument (EDI) as your principal instrument. Your instructors for Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive are members of Berklee's world-class faculty and include a mix of private instruction, instrumental labs, ensembles, theory, performance, and musicianship training. While classes are designed to challenge and expand your musical skill set, your course load will be appropriate for your abilities.
Classes generally take place between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and are tailored to your musical interest and experience level. The program culminates with a final week of concerts where you will perform for faculty, fellow students, family, and friends. Browse course descriptions below
This is a half-hour lesson each week on your principal instrument.
Three hours each week will be spent in instrument-specific small group courses to develop instrumental style, reading, and technique.
Instrumental/vocal departments will present a survey class, which examines various performance styles and techniques from a historical perspective.
Ensembles will run for two hours each week. When joining an instrumental or vocal group, you will have a wide range of contemporary styles to choose from, including jazz, pop/rock, pop/R&B, funk/fusion, bluegrass, salsa, and world music. Additional ensembles will be available depending on instrumental balance and need. Of the ensembles formed during the intensive, 23 will be selected to record in one of Berklee’s 10 state-of-the-art recording studios. All ensembles will perform a short set in an on-campus venue during the final week of the program.
You will spend four hours per week developing your musical ear, performance skills, and reading ability. This class level is determined by your entering musicianship assessment.
Theory in Performance
You will spend three hours per week studying the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements of music as they relate to playing your instrument. This class level is determined by your entering theory assessment.
Performances/discussions are held two hours per week to expose you to valuable career insight from music professionals in every sector of the industry: performance, songwriting, film composition, music business, and more. Notable guest artists who have recently visited Berklee include Victor Wooten, Cory Henry, Crissy Collins, and Charlie Puth, among many others.
Visiting Artist Clinics
These lectures and demonstrations feature performers, songwriters, film composers, and music business experts with experience in the industry. They are open to all students.
Visiting artists are announced at the start of the program. Notable artists who have recently visited Berklee include Amanda Palmer, George Duke, Melissa Ferrick, and Dawaun Parker, among many others.
Music Technology for Blind Students
Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive offers a laboratory course on assistive music technology for blind students. The course explores digital audio workstations, notation, and Braille music. For more information on the course, contact the instructor, Chi Kim, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on services for students with disabilities, contact Berklee Accessibility Resouces for Students at 617-747-2387 or email@example.com.
Final Week Concerts
During the final week of the program, you will perform in at least one of more than 300 student ensemble concerts. Concerts will take place in one of the college's many performance venues including the recital halls, Red Room at Cafe 939, and the Berklee Performance Center, a 1,220-seat, world-class venue.
Please note: The Berklee City Music Scholarship Concert is the only performance that charges an admission fee. All other shows are free, but may have limited capacity. Admittance is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Electives give students the opportunity to learn more about an area that interests them in a class that meets once a week for two hours. Students will receive one elective from the list of required electives below. You may also choose to receive one additional, optional elective. You will rank your preference of electives while taking your online placement assessment before the program begins.
Producing Music with Ableton Live
Ableton Live is a powerful software tool that allows musicians to develop musical ideas in a unique, nonlinear environment and presents a way of working that is fundamentally different from other software used in music production. In this workshop, you will learn to create new musical ideas and produce electronic arrangements using software instruments and effects that come with Ableton Live. Emphasis will be placed on developing the basic skills that can be used to write and produce new works, as well as to create remixes and prepare songs for electronic performance.
Jazz Composition and Arranging
This lecture class will introduce you to composing and arranging techniques used by important jazz artists. Topics include orchestration, song and arrangement form, music analysis, and the process of creating and harmonizing melodies.
This course will provide you with an introduction to the music business. You will gain an understanding of how your creative works are protected by US copyright law and promoted by publishers. You will also review the contractual relationship between artists and record labels, with discussions on how to set up and manage a small business (business formation, band agreements, etc.). This course will also explore artists’ managers, their work, and their relationship with artists. You will learn why touring is a profitable component of the music business, showing how artists and promoters budget for a successful outcome.
Music Therapy Basics
This course is designed to provide a basic overview of the profession of music therapy. This includes the neurological basis for music as therapy, a brief history of the profession, and current advances in professional practice. You will explore personal connections with music, the education and training requirements for music therapists, clinical populations and settings music therapists work with, and the treatment planning process in music therapy.
Scoring for Visual Media
This course will provide an introduction to the exciting world of scoring for today’s visual media. Using a wide variety of examples from film, video games, television, and commercials, this class will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the process of composing and producing a musical underscore, from traditional linear scoring to the cutting-edge, nonlinear techniques used in current-generation video games and interactive media.
This lecture class will examine song form, strategies for creating melodies, and effective use of harmony to create forward motion in songs. With the instructor and guest lecturers, you will explore lyric writing and tips to help the creative process.
Because technology allows the easy exchange of ideas and files, strategies and tools for improving both songwriting and production through collaboration will be demonstrated. Lastly, we will discuss an overview of how songs are currently used in film, TV, and other visual media, along with the tools needed to place your songs and start earning royalties.
Survey of Production Styles
This course will explore how a modern song is taken from inception to full mix. It includes discussion of song form, songwriting, and techniques to invoke the best performances from players on the spot. This course also addresses the creative use of modern microphone and recording techniques; the use of outboard and computer processing, such as reverb, equalizers, and compressors; and basic mixing techniques. Strong interpersonal skills are needed. An open mind and active participation are required.
Musical Theater Workshop
This ensemble will focus on large and small ensemble musical theater literature. Strong emphasis will be placed on vocal technique, ensemble singing, and lyric delivery. You will prepare, rehearse, and perform Broadway-style selections from a variety of productions, leading to a performance at the end of the program.
Open Drum Circle
Drum circles are available to percussionists and non-percussionists alike. This weekly workshop provides an opportunity to develop skills using various percussion instruments from around the world.
This class will provide singer/songwriters an opportunity to write and perform their own songs, and learn the tools of the trade. The class will focus on the song: how it’s created and how it is used to express and communicate the songwriter's feelings and stories to the audience. You will develop the tools and techniques used by songwriters today and participate in facilitated song critiques with your classmates. The class will culminate in a live performance
Yoga for Musicians
You will learn to practice meditation approaches and breathing techniques, play using healthy posture and technique, get more out of your practice through improved focus, use your breath to improve phrasing and ease performance anxiety, and play with deeper expression through inspiration. These concepts, exercises, and practice routines present yoga from the musician's perspective, focusing on direct relationships between using yoga and creating music.
Social Media Marketing: Mapping and Mastering Your Online Identity
This class will explore and help you learn how to identify and promote yourself clearly and consistently over a broad range of platforms, and will introduce you to the fundamentals of using online marketing tools and strategies to create a personal brand that stands out in the digital marketplace.
Mobile Recording Techniques
Details coming soon.
General Curriculum Information
Genres and Styles
You can choose to study the following styles:
Jazz—The repertoire will focus on music drawn from jazz standards, the Great American Songbook, blues, Latin, and modal jazz compositions by a wide range of important jazz artists, including Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Christian Scott, Tunde Adjuah, and others.
Each participant's schedule is entirely customized to their interests and abilities. The schedule below serves as an example of the expected course load along with the breadth of additional opportunities throughout the intensive.
|10 AM–12 PM||Mandatory Elective|
|12 PM–1 PM||Survey of Instrumental/Vocal Styles|
|1 PM–2 PM||Faculty Artist Clinic*|
|3 PM–5 PM||Visiting Artist: Performance Perspectives Master Class|
|7 PM–9 PM||Open Mic*|
|9 PM–10 PM||Homework in the Dorm Lounge *|
|9 AM–10:30 AM||Music Theory|
|12 PM–1 PM||Musicianship|
|1 PM–2 PM||Faculty Artist Clinic*|
|3 PM–4 PM||Musicianship Teacher Office Hour*|
|4 PM–6 PM||Additional Elective*|
|7 PM–9 PM||Tuesday Night Jams*|
|9 PM–10 PM||Study Group at Cafe 939*|
|11 AM–12 PM||Musicianship|
|12 PM–1 PM||Live at 160 Caf Show*|
|2 PM–3 PM||Reading Lab|
|4 PM–6 PM||Ensemble|
|8 PM–10 PM||Movie Night in the Residence Halls*|
|9 AM–10:30 AM||Music Theory|
|12 PM–1 PM||Musicianship|
|1 PM–2 PM||Performing Songwriter Sidewalk Series*|
|2 PM–3 PM||Theory Teacher Office Hour*|
|4 PM–5 PM||Styles Lab|
|7 PM–9 PM||Thursday Night Jams*|
|9:30 AM–10 AM||Private Lesson|
|11 AM–12 PM||Musicianship|
|12 PM–1 PM||Live at 160 Caf Show*|
|2 PM–3 PM||Instrument or Vocal Lab|
|3 PM–4 PM||Practice Room Session*|
|10 AM–11 AM||Yoga for Musicians*|
|12 PM–4 PM||Extra Ensemble Rehearsal*|
|10 PM–11 PM||Caf Show*|
|1:35 PM–5:30 PM||Red Sox Game at Fenway Park*|
|6 PM–7 PM||Practice Room Session*|
|7 PM–8 PM||Homework in the Media Center*|
*These activities are optional to attend. This schedule is subject to change.
At Aspire, performance opportunities are available to you almost every day. Recurring performance opportunities include the following:
- Monday evening open mics in Cafe 939
- Tuesday evening jam sessions in David Friend Recital Hall
- Wednesday and Friday afternoon open mics in the Berklee Dining Hall
- Thursday afternoon open mics at the Berklee Bookstore
- Thursday evening jam sessions in Oliver Colvin Recital Hall
In addition, the final week of the program hosts over 200 ensemble performances. You will participate in at least one performance, though you may perform in multiple shows if you take more than one ensemble. You have the option to audition for additional ensembles on the first Sunday of the program.
All students 15 and older with six months of playing or singing experience are welcome to attend. Most students who attend this program are of high school or college age.
The US Department of Homeland Security requires that any participating student who is not a US citizen apply for an F-1 student visa. Students may not attend the program with a B-1 visa, B-2 visa, or ESTA visa waiver. Learn more about the F-1 Visa process by reading the articles within our F-1 Visa Help Center category.
Berklee offers a variety of full and partial merit-based scholarships for students attending Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive. Learn more about scholarships.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to audition for a scholarship to Berklee College of Music’s undergraduate program while attending Aspire: Five-Week, with approximately $10 million in scholarships awarded during the final week of the program.
Earn College Credit
Students who receive a grade of B or higher in their core classes will receive three college credits upon completion of the program.
Meghan Trainor, Charlie Puth, and Betty Who are among the many Aspire alumni who have gone on to have successful music careers.
Once you're enrolled visit our Next Steps for Enrolled Students to make sure you have everything you need for your program.
Check your email for important information
- You should continue to check the email that you used to enroll in the program for important information.
- You will receive a detailed check-in email with information regarding your assigned arrival location, housing assignment, and a link to view your program schedule one to two weeks prior to the start date of your program.
- When you arrive on campus, you will receive additional program information to guide you through your program.
What to pack
- If you are staying on campus, you can reference this packing list with any additional items you’ll need while attending your program.
- With the exception of pianists and drummers, students are expected to bring their instruments to all summer programs. Review our list of instruments and gear to bring to your program in this Help Center article.