Forum Recap: Getting Ready for Five-Week

The City Music Network Forum is a monthly webinar attended by members of the Berklee City Music Network. This month’s guests, Kasey Cox and Madison Denbrock, spoke about getting ready to send students to the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program as a Berklee City Music Summer Scholar.

Dates to remember
Decisions Emails Sent Out: May 9th
Student’s Enrollment Paperwork Deadline: June 1st
Site’s Payment Deadline: Priority, June 1st, City Music June 15th

Program Dates: July 7th – August 10th
The First Week:
Saturday, July 7th: Check in to housing, program and orientation
Sunday, July 8th: Placement – ensemble & theory/musicianship
Monday, July 9th: Academic Orientations – Theory, Musicianship, Instrumental Department and Performance Perspectives
Tuesday, July 10th: Pick-up schedules
– City Music Tuesday Meetings at 1pm
Tuesday, August 7th: City Music Scholarship Concert

Prepare your students for a college experience. Their individual schedules will be similar to that of a Berklee College student, with specific class times and breaks in between. Learning how to manage their free time is new and important to understand for many students. They can utilize that free time to use practice rooms, or attend activities hosted by the Student Activities Center. Additionally, the college has a number of resources (counseling, etc.) available to the students who should be encouraged to seek them out.

College Credit. Students who earn a “B” in their courses can earn 3 college credits from Berklee. Students who go on to complete a second year at Five-Week can earn an additional 3 courses upon earning a “B” the second year. Up to six (6) total credits can be awarded to high school students who attend Five-Week. Encourage your students to be aware of this opportunity.

Auditions. Sunday,  July 8th – students will have a placement audition to determine what courses and ensembles they will be put into. Although students are always nervous, remind them this is just for placement; they’ve already auditioned and earned their summer scholarship!
 A second audition opportunity is available from Berklee during five week, hosted by the Admissions office. Students can use this to practice their audition skills, but they also have the opportunity to earn scholarships to Five-Week next summer or to Berklee College

Quick Tips:

  • Ask for help
  • Manage your time well
  • Try-out for opportunities – this is a time to explore!
  • Build relationships 


Madison and other students with her site director, Regina Nixon, of Phoenix Conservatory of Music during Five-Week

Madison, a five-week alum and now Berklee student, joined us to share her tips about Five-Week as a City Music student. Her advice is listed below:

Key things to bring:

  • Ethernet cable

  • Computer, adapter

  • Fan (you may not bring that but you’ll probably want to buy one)

  • Portable phone charger

  • Extra XLR and/or ¼” cable

  • Only what you can carry! Don’t overpack

Don’t bring:

  • Multiple instruments
  • Amps

 You’re going to spend more than you think you will

  • Plan for trips on the T (subway)
  • Extra shows in Boston
  • Eating with friends

Preventing Burnout. 

Almost everyone gets sick during week 3; bring Emergen-C or similar
 to boost your immune system. Know your body. If you need more sleep to function well, make sure you take the time and get what you need. There will be late nights, and there is always something going on but make sure you take the time to care for yourself so you can make the most of your experience

Don’t talk about ratings. Everyone receives a rating from their audition; it’s tacky and difficult to talk about them. They’re only used to place you in an ensemble and as a starting place – not a determination of how “good” you are.

Auditions and Anxiety. If you’re well prepared, they will likely ask you to improv over songs you’re already familiar with
. Remember that everyone is scared, it’s “pointless” to worry. Auditioning is part of being a musician

Dealing with being far away from home

  • Travel in packs
  • Talk to your family/support group about how to stay safe
  • Stay busy to combat homesickness
  • Seek advice/support from City Music staff, and utilize the campus counseling resources

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: Alumni Advice from Yesseh Furaha Ali

As part of our #5to5week countdown to 2015 Five Week, we asked five week alumni what advice they have for students that are getting ready to travel to Boston. Today, we’re featuring Saxophone player and Berklee College of Music student Yesseh Furaha Ali.

Yesseh Furaha Ali
#5to5week Yesseh Furaha Ali

“I attended five-week for three summers (2012-2014). Every year I learned something new, developed and matured as musician and an overall individual, and made many connections from people all across the world who I still keep in contact with till this day. To me, my favorite part of five week was just being around diversity in music, people, classes, teachers, etc. I felt as though being in this type of an environment allowed me to express myself freely amongst other musicians. My advice to you students, first and foremost is to thank the people who’ve helped you and guided you to get to this point in your young musical careers, especially your City Music site and the staff and administration at Boston City Music for providing you with this wonderful opportunity to be apart of this summer experience many dream of attending ON A SCHOLARSHIP.  So definitely be thankful for that. Also, always keep in mind that you are a representation of your city, your City Music site, Berklee, your family, and anyone else who has helped you along the way. Remember that there is a time and place for everything but when it’s time to work, it’s time to work. Professionalism goes a long way in anything you do, and keep in mind that you are auditioning 24/7 wherever you go. Like my late music teacher would say, ‘It’s how you look, how you act, and how you sound.’ Keep this in mind and many opportunities will open up. And lastly, have fun! Definitely explore Boston and take as much in in these five weeks as you can! Congrats to all of you, and I hope you take full advantage of this experience!”

Follow along on social media with #5to5week and follow us on Facebook.

SAVE THE DATE: August 11, 2015, 7:30pm BPC – 2015 Scholarship Concert

25 FREE Registrations for Students to Attend the BCMN Conference

BCMN Conference logo 2014 (1)



We are offering FREE registration to the first 25 undergraduate and graduate college students who register to attend the Berklee City Music Network Conference in Los Angeles, CA from November 2-5.

After the first 25 FREE registrations are given it is ONLY $25 per day for undergraduate and graduate students.

Make sure you use your “.edu” email address to receive the discount.

Don’t miss out on this great event featuring music industry experts, nonprofit leaders, accomplished music educators, and Grammy-Award Winning artists.


Berklee City Music Network Site Explores a New Side of Professional Development

Eagle Rock

When the American Honda Motor Company decided they wanted to explore a new kind of corporate philanthropy in 1980s, education reform was at the forefront of the discussion.  “After talking with folks in big cities and small towns all over the country, the challenged state of public education came back as a resounding cry for help, “ explains Dan Condon, Associate Director of Professional Development at Eagle Rock School.

The early idea around Eagle Rock was teaching professional development. After that came an idea for having learning laboratories in high schools to serve as channels towards education reform, renewal, and reinvention.  We are both a professional development center and a high school, that’s how we partner with Berklee City Music Network,” explains Condon.  “We have kids from all over the spectrum with three main things in common: They want to finish high school, they want a diploma, and because we are fully funded by Honda, we are interested in serving young people whose families do not have monetary resources.”

The Professional Development Center at Eagle Rock provides  an array of tours, visits, fellowships, and residencies through their Professional Development program, but their main focus is working with external schools and organizations. “Much of our high leverage work is focusing on consulting and staff development work in schools, “ says Condon.

But Eagle Rock has a unique approach to their work. Condon emphasizes, “Our vision to our approach to consulting is different than other professional development models. We don’t use an expert model. We aren’t interested in going into a school and telling them all of the things they are doing wrong and coming up with a list of solutions for them. We don’t think that is sustainable.”

Music Students at Eagle Rock School Rehearsing

Condon says the approach is focused around specific steps. “The first step we take is to listen to the aspirations of the school. Then we immerse ourselves in the school and look at all of their assets, the things they are doing well. Even in schools that think nothing is going well, we are able to go in there and root out some things that are working.”

After the initial “aspirations and observations”, the Eagle Rock team engages students and staff on the ground to move toward their aspirations. “We do that a few times throughout the year, “ says Condon. After that, there are video conferences and leadership coaching over the phone. For whatever group they are working with, they do a post visit survey asking a few questions to see how well the process went.

“ The studies around professional development are showing that there are a certain amount of hours over multiple years that are necessary for sustainability plans to kick in. Our interest is in allowing groups to crowd source their solutions so that Eagle Rock can step out. It’s not a ‘blow in, blow hard, and blow out approach.’ We are very interested in sustainability, “ explains Condon.

So what are Eagle Rock’s plans for the future?

Condon is optimistic:

“We are pretty excited. We are in our 20th year of operation. About ten years ago we were able to increase capacity in terms of staff. We are currently in exciting talks for our professional development center where more resources are going to be allocated to increase our capacity to serve other schools around the country.”

How can the Berklee City Music Network support Eagle Rock’s initiatives?

“Currently we only have two full-time consultants who go out and consult with schools around the country. Throughout this past year we have been trying to figure out how to increase our staff capacity. We have brought school leaders and instructors into the mix. Ike Leslie is one of those folks. We know his ties to PULSE and the City Music Network. He has come on the road with us and has been instrumental in delivering a professional development school reform mission related to us. If there are schools in the Berklee Network that resonate with our mission about urban, high school reform and renewal, we would love for them to reach out to us. In addition to traveling on the ground level, we also have a professional development center here on site. We can host folks at a cheap rate. We don’t charge anything for our services. We only charge $30 per day for meals and lodging. So that’s an open invitation.”