Five Week Alumni Advice: Yancy Garcia

This is a guest post by Amp Up NYC student Yancy Garcia. Yancy attended five-week as a summer scholar in 2015.


What did you find most rewarding about your five-week experience? Outside of having the opportunity to meet industry professionals and getting great advice from them, the most rewarding experience would be the classes. My ensembles were great and I learned how to work with my peers during rehearsals and how to arrange our songs. My favorite, though, would have to be my music theory classes. Every lesson was engaging and my teacher was very enthusiastic – I gained a lot of musical knowledge.

What surprised you most about your experience? The most surprising experience at Five-Week would be getting to meet other students from all around the world. I met kids from South America, Europe, and all around the United States. I have never been in an environment with so many culturally diverse students.

What piece of advice would you give a student who is attending for the first time? For a new incoming student to the Five-Week program, I would definitely say to bring more than enough clothes because 5 weeks are longer than it sounds! But, really, go to the program with an open mind and be willing to get out of your comfort zone.


Amp Up NYC® is a music education pilot initiative designed to accelerate the adoption of Modern Band music programs in New York City public schools. Founded by Berklee College of Music, Little Kids Rock, and the New York City Department of Education, Amp Up NYC provides teacher training, classroom instruction, interactive online technology, and instrument donation that help schools establish contemporary music programs.


#5to5week Ensemble Director: Marty Walsh

As we count down to Five Week, Berklee City Music is interviewing our Five Week City Music ensemble directors. Today, we’re featuring Marty Walsh, director of the Five Week City Music Pop/Rock Ensemble.

Ensemble director Marty Walsh with Five Week student.
Ensemble director Marty Walsh with Five Week student.

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

Working with very talented City Music musicians.


What advice can you give to students to get the most out of your ensemble?

Think above all else what is right for the song. It’s not about individual performances, it’s about how the group performs as a whole


Many students travel from far away – what is one thing you think students should do/see/eat while in Boston?

Go to a Red Sox game. Fenway park is the classic old school baseball stadium.


SAVE THE DATE: August 11, 2015 at the Berklee Performance Center, 7:30pm

WATCH highlights from the 2014 Scholarship Concert:

Follow along on social media using #5to5week


A Testimonial on the Berklee Five-Week Experience by Ahmari Underwood

Ahmari Underwood

The Berklee City Music 5 week experience is one that changed my life. Before I went to the Berklee 5 week program I was unsure what to expect. I heard many testimonies from a variety of different people who had already experienced what I had yet to. Although I had many affirmations as to how awesome the experience was, I was still filled with doubt. I did not think that 5-weeks during the summer would completely change the way I view my life; but it did.

I learned so much about myself, my musical capability, and how to cope being so far away from home. While I was in Boston for the Berklee 5 Week program I was tested mentally. I was placed into an ensemble that was required to play some extremely advanced jazz music that I had never fathomed performing. However, hardwork, perseverance, and pushing myself mentally each day allowed me to reach new heights. Not only was the 5-week experience one that allowed me to stretch my mental capacity musically, it was one that allowed me to be involved with a plethora of young musicians who were doing the same. For this reason alone, along with many others, I was able to make some really good friends who I would even consider “life-long friends”.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to grow in such a way that I never thought that I could have. The amazing staff and facuty at Berklee, the ensemble leaders, peer leaders and advisors, and the list goes on. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to represent City Music during this amazing conquest, because they are the ones who pushed me, helped me remain focused, and treated me as family. I am a blessed man. I’d like to personally thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today, and I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity experience the Berklee 5-week summer program to meet it head on and make the most of every single note. Thank you.