ASEF Fellow Beti Strgar on Her Studies at The Berklee College of Music
“I arrived in Boston on one of the coldest days of the year. On the 10th of January, I started my undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music. It takes some time to adjust to their system, transportation, and obtaining a social security number, but as soon as classes began, I was ecstatic.
It is unbelievable to be surrounded by so many amazing musicians. We had to do another audition as soon as we arrived so they could place us in different classes. Depending on your rating, you will be assigned to a band, your private instructor, etc. I was very lucky to get an excellent rating grade straight from the beginning, which allowed me to attend more advanced classes. That also allowed me to finish more than one academic year in only one semester.
Even though my schedule looked quite easy at the beginning, there was a lot of work. I had to practice a lot, and I had a lot of assignments, tests, and practical projects.
After a midterm week, when the first pressures were over and spring slowly started to arrive in the city (which has the most beautiful blossom trees at that time), everything moved fast. Everybody was preparing for their final exams. People warn you about the stress level of those last two weeks, and I must confess, it is quite challenging. But on the other hand, it is a great opportunity to observe how much knowledge you have received in just one semester. Some tasks seemed impossible at the beginning of the semester, but there you are, doing them, performing, writing, and exploring music on a deeper level.
I finished a semester very successfully, with the highest grades for which I received a Dean’s list award for excellent academic performance during the Spring semester, and got to perform at the end of the semester with my jazz trio ensemble.
One thing that also stood out for me was one weekend in New York, where I was able to attend some really good concerts. The music scene is very broad in Boston as well. You have so many genres, so many different ideas, cultures, etc. all in one place. It is a truly eye-opening experience.
I am deeply grateful to ASEF for helping me out with my education. And I am looking forward to what the future holds.”