I went to Berklee from September 2010 to May 2015. In my senior year of high school, I got a flyer in the mail about Berklee, mentioning that video game scoring is a possible study to take at this school. This. Blew. My. Mind. I HAD to come here. I always heard good things about the school, I always heard about the alumni who came here, and I was amazed that there was a college that took film scoring and video game scoring seriously. I'm still amazed that I was accepted to the school and the Electronic Production & Design major.
So much has happened with me at this school and at this time of my life that it's impossible to summarize it in this tiny blog post. But I am happy that for 5 years, I took as much positive advantage of the school as possible.
I made friends with people who were SO different from me. Everyone is a musician at the school, of course, but this school means so much to me because I met people who acted different, believed in different ideologies and philosophies in life, and people who were not afraid to be brutally honest in musical critique. I've benefited greatly from the friends I made in Texas, of course! But I met totally different kinds of people here in Boston, and I am so grateful that I did. No way would I be as social as I am now. No way would I be as curious about other musical genres, other paths of music, and other beliefs in life if it weren't for Berklee.
I had a blast going to all of the clubs of the school, the Video Game Music Club absolutely being the top one. The Sound Design Network, Women's Film Initiative, and Film Scoring Network were also great clubs, not just for their education value, but to meet new people and friends and learn from them. These clubs are also what motivated me to participate in my first Global Game Jam in January 2012. (Hoopsnake!)
A moment in time I will never forget was seeing everyone come together during the city lockdown at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings. People came together. People gave each other support. People gave ME support.
The Berklee sign you see in the picture for this part of the blog is a series of signs we made when I was at Berklee CARES. The president of the club at the time had an idea of making signs that people can sign themselves in support of each other. 3 signs would read, "Berklee Loves Boston", which we hung on the metal fence on the intersection of Mass Ave and Boylston. This was a time where I learned what it meant to truly care about people. I'm someone who still finds it much easier to focus on myself than others, but I am thankful, no matter how dark this period was, that I could have seen the positive light from everyone genuinely caring for each other.
Ah, so much to talk about! So much has happened in just 5 years! I did gain my weight back, but I also lost a ton of pounds one summer. Maybe I'll get back on track to my slim days... I dunno. :)
One of THE best jobs I've ever had by far was working as an usher at the Berklee Performance Center. I had incredible managers who had such a cool balance of being super-disciplined but also super-caring about every one of us. I got to work shows and see musicians like Steven Wilson, Willie Nelson, Carole King, ah man, so many artists. This was a huge moments of learning about teamwork, learning about adjusting to plans suddenly changing on the fly, and learning how to cooperate with people who work differently than I do. I worked there since October 2011 and believe me, I still miss it. If you ever see a show there, give the ushers a high-five. They work damn hard every single show.
The last thing I was to talk about, of course, is the education I got in film and video game scoring. The most memorable moments of school and classes specifically were always from my video game scoring classes. These are the classes where I learned about the "steps" of becoming a video game composer/sound designer from our professor, Michael Sweet. If you don't know Michael, turn on your Xbox 360. You know that familiar logo sound that pops up when your 360 starts? You can thank Michael for that.
Our first day of his video game scoring class, he asked us calmly, "How many of you would like to be composers for games?" All of us (the class itself was about 12 people. Small but very social class), promptly raised our hands eagerly and proudly. We laughed when we looked around the room, seeing everyone become so prideful and happy in wanting to take on this journey.
He calmly retorted to our response, "Great. The harsh reality is, only 2 of you will continue to become composers."
I always reflect on this thought, if this was maybe too brutal for us to think about in our young college careers, a la J.K. Simmons in Whiplash, or if this was the push we needed. After that day, I did everything I could do to improve myself and to do every step of the book (if there are even really steps to "breaking into the industry" at all) .
Something I still struggle with is taking things literally. I often focus on myself so much that I can still lose focus on my health, the people around me and how they are doing, and anything else that doesn't have to do with me. I am fantastic at focusing on myself specifically. But sometimes it comes at a cost. I am thankful for how I progressed through Berklee, but I do wish with all the friends I made here, I wasn't afraid to come to them for feedback on my work. I find it so much easier to just hang out with people, relax, and give people support. But I am always afraid to ask for support. I am always afraid to ask for help. And hopefully in my journey, I can better at this.
But one good thing that came out of taking things literally is when Michael one day told us about networking events around Boston. According to him, networking events and game dev meetups are the best place to meet people, and he wished more composers went to them. After that, I went to almost every. Single. Boston meetup I could find. And this was where the other part of my life in Boston comes in: the amazing Boston game dev community.