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Students come to Berklee because they are passionate about music and creativity—and because they seek expert guidance to help them realize their dreams of becoming artists and innovators of tomorrow. First-year students can begin this journey in Boston, or at Berklee’s state-of-the-art campus in the vibrant, culturally rich Mediterranean city of Valencia, Spain.
In Valencia, students will have the opportunity to begin their Berklee experience in a more intimate setting, one that places a strong emphasis on the global music industry and international career paths. Students will complete the same core curriculum taken by entering students on the Boston campus, while also enjoying an immersive cultural experience in one of the most important musical regions of Spain.
During the end of their first semester, students will work with an advisor to declare a major. Upon completion of their first-year studies in Valencia, students will transfer to the Boston campus to continue in their declared major for their degree or diploma and enjoy access to all available academic opportunities, such as minor programs of study or double majors.
Mediterranean Culture and Music
Strong Educational Foundation
Intimate Campus Setting
Berklee’s First Year Abroad program in Valencia, Spain, offers you all the benefits of a Berklee education while also providing a comprehensive and well-supported international experience in a small-campus environment. Just as in your entering year on Berklee’s Boston campus, the First Year Abroad program develops your musicianship and engages you in a coherent liberal arts curriculum that informs your thinking about issues that have shaped our time. At the same time, the First Year Abroad program provides a life-changing international experience to those students who are especially curious about the world around them.
By living in another country during your first college year, you will greatly expand your way of thinking. The program places you in a culturally diverse setting in Valencia, Spain, a city known for its rich history and its musical traditions. The program provides also provides you with the opportunity to interact with people of various backgrounds and perspectives, and to explore your new community through additional cocurricular travel and activities.
Living in residence halls with students from Spain and throughout Europe, you will also learn through the informal processes of dormitory life what it means to be a part of a diverse community. You'll learn to analyze problems on a global scale—an ability that can be difficult to master at any age. A year in Spain offers you the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of the country’s people, music, culture and language. But more than this, you'll come to appreciate the diversity of the world in which we live, an appreciation essential in the global society of today.
College students, especially first year students, who study abroad often form a strong sense of community amongst themselves. Overseas, students depend on one another for support as they strive to balance their courses and the intricacies of an unfamiliar nation. Such bonds provide will provide you with a built-in network of close friends to start off your college experience. This is especially true in the small campus environment of Berklee’s Valencia location. These friendships will likely continue as you transition to the Boston campus to complete your undergraduate education and may very well serve you as a lifelong support network.
In addition to the first year learning mastered by all Berklee students, students who complete the First Year Abroad program will:
The process to apply to Berklee’s undergraduate program is the same, regardless if you want to do your first year in Boston or Valencia.
All applicants to the undergraduate program must complete and submit the online application. To be considered for the First Year Abroad program, simply indicate “yes” to the relevant question within the application, along with an additional personal statement about your interest in the program. Your interest in the program will not impact whether or not you are admitted to Berklee. Please note that you must be over 18 years of age when the program begins.
If you are accepted to the college, we will inform you in your admissions decision as to whether or not you are able to participate in the First Year Abroad program.
The Valencia campus experience offers students access to state-of-the-art recording, technology labs, and classrooms in an intimate academic setting. All students in their first year at Berklee complete a core curriculum in the fall and spring semesters. The below classes are typical for most degree students.
Students may receive advanced placement through a variety of methods including U.S. Advanced Placement exams, Berklee entering student proficiency assessments, and/or transfer credit. For those students, an appropriate schedule will be built from core music theory, performance, liberal arts, and major courses to advance students on their educational path. Students interested in pursuing a diploma should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. Links to all of Berklee’s courses and more information about the curriculum can be found here.
Private instruction courses are assigned based on instrument and level.
Ensembles are assigned based on instrument and style interest.
This course is a study of popular music. This study begins with the aural analysis of contemporary songs, including bass motion, chord function, and aspects of the rhythm section. It leads to understanding the bass line, harmony, and rhythmic structure of these songs and creation of original pieces in major key and Aeolian mode (natural minor). Keyboard exercises, written homework assignments, and laptop computer drills provide extensive practice in musical and notational elements. Students learn to read and write major and natural minor scales in all keys and learn triads and seventh chords diatonic to those scales. The course provides exposure to chromatic variations on major key harmony: the principles of secondary dominants and modal interchange are studied in limited situations to add color and variety to diatonic harmony. These activities will decode the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic language of most of contemporary popular music and set the stage for a detailed study of more complex and chromatic music in Harmony 2, 3, and 4.
Students develop basic ear training skills through performance and dictation. They study melodies, intervals, harmony, and solfege in major keys, as well as basic rhythms in the most common meters.
This course introduces the fundamentals of music technology geared to the needs of today's professional musician. One of the most significant challenges facing musicians today is mastering the skills required to continually adapt to a changing technology base. Musicians today must understand and be prepared for the fact that this technology base is moving more rapidly than it can be assimilated. The course topics will give an overview of all aspects of the current technology with the primary goal of enabling students to make intelligent decisions in evaluating future technological needs.
The Artistry, Creativity, and Inquiry Seminar provides an introduction to the life of the creative and curious mind. In this course, students explore their own creative process, reflect on their life choice as a musician, and examine the role of the artist in society. Students learn how to ask questions and find answers about topics and issues that affect the choices they make personally, professionally, and creatively at Berklee and beyond college. Students also evaluate their abilities and interests in order to develop college and career goals, and to begin the process of selecting a major. In addition, students begin maintaining their Berklee College of Music electronic portfolio. Taught by faculty who also serve as students' first semester advisors, this course provides a creative and reflective atmosphere that encourages students to participate actively in their own learning. Students engage in discussion, getting to know the faculty member and each other.
In this course, students explore the writing process as a tool of thinking and a mode of exploration. Students develop academic writing and expository prose techniques for creating clear and coherent papers. The course covers a wide range of skills necessary for college-level work including sentence-level issues, theses, paragraph structure, organization, form, and style. A focus will be placed on writing styles appropriate to audience and purpose. In addition, the process of writing and revision will be emphasized during the course. Students develop critical thinking skills and learn to evaluate, utilize, and cite primary and secondary printed and electronic sources. Students begin to cultivate a strong, individual, and creative voice by developing oral communication skills for a variety of settings.
Private instruction courses are assigned based on instrument and level.
Ensembles are assigned based on instrument and style interest.
In this practical course students work on the musical concepts of melody, rhythm, harmony and form as applied to the principles and techniques of writing and arranging for the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, basic percussion) and a lead-line in a solo instrument, two horns (trumpet, alto or tenor sax) or voice. Students learn the conceptualization process of combining individual components to create a musically satisfying arrangement. Study of various contemporary musical styles and musical concepts that comprise them, including writing from the "bottom up" (groove-driven) and "top down" (working with a melody in a lead instrument or voice). Writing assignments will incorporate combinations of acoustic, electronic and/or MIDI instruments. The course includes a fast-pace overview of the fundamental concepts of music notation such as imaginary bar line, transposition, and rhythmic notation.
This course is a continued exploration of major key harmony, particularly secondary and extended dominant relationships. Additionally, students continue to study melodic construction and motif development. Students learn principles of linear harmonic continuity and guide tone lines; minor key harmony; subdominant minor; blues theory and chord progressions. Students also learn melodic rhythm, form, and melody/harmony relationship.
Students further develop basic ear training skills through performance and dictation and study melodies, intervals, harmony, and solfege in minor keys, as well as more advanced rhythms, meters, conducting patterns, and notation.
Functional tonal harmony analyzed and composed in various musical textures. Emphasis on voice leading, melodic writing, and figured bass.
Students Choose One Literature Course
Literature: Lorca and Hemingway
Federico García Lorca and Ernest Hemingway are two of the most internationally recognized literary and cultural figures of the 20th century. That is, not only are they viewed with great interest and even division and controversy in their birth countries of Spain and the United States respectively, but they continue to cast a long shadow across the globe and especially over the Atlantic. Furthermore, not only did each of these two compelling figures leave a deep footprint in the other´s country, but they were also influenced and greatly inspired by the socio-cultural patrimony of the other´s homeland. By studying and analyzing Lorca in America and Hemingway in Spain students will explore an inter-cultural journey that reaches the core of how many Spaniards view America and how many Americans view Spain to this day.
Literature: Music and Words
In this course, students explore different themes and genres within the field of literature, examining critical and creative thinking through literary analysis. Students apply the skills of synthesis, interpretation, and evaluation in writing and speaking about fiction, drama, poetry, creative nonfiction, and literary criticism. Students also explore concepts related to aesthetics such as beauty, rhythm, and sound; and concepts of literary analysis such as plot, point of view, character, tone, and style. Students complete analytical and creative writing assignments.
Students have the option to choose one additional two-credit class from the list below.
Students have the option to explore one two-credit course from the list below during the spring semester.
An overview of business and legal issues of special concern to musicians and songwriters, with special emphasis on copyright law, recording and music publishing agreements, and relationships between artists and other parties, including managers, producers, and investors.
An in-depth study of the nature of human and electronic communication. Students write and edit a variety of business documents including cover letters, memos, reports, and proposals, among others, as well as practice extemporaneous speaking, presenting to a group, planning and running meetings, and supervising teams.
Live Sound and Stage Craft teaches students the ins and outs of setting up and operating sound reinforcement systems. Students develop knowledge of signal flow, mixing board operation, microphone choice and placement as well as strategies to avoid feedback. Weekly hands-on guided set up and operation of sound reinforcement systems help illustrate concepts and allow students to learn through the power of experience. This includes mixing from the stage while performing, mixing for other musicians for and from the FOH (front of house) position, as well as monitors. In addition, students acquire effective set up and stage management skills as well as the common communication protocol with other musicians and technicians in live sound reinforcement situations. Finally, implementation of adapted practices and systems for problematic spaces or venues is also explored. Students will also gain experience with basic lighting and video stagecraft systems.
This course explores topics in electronic production and live performance techniques related to modern electronic dance music production, sound design, arrangement, and performance. Students will generate content and create their own music while learning how to use Ableton Live Suite. Students will learn to analyze electronic music, and explore techniques for remixing, performing, and creating electronic music.
This is an 'in-the-box' project-based virtual production course. Students learn to produce short sound-alikes of fragments of contemporary hit records employing sequencing and virtual instruments. They also learn to produce a full acoustic band cover using virtual instruments and one live instrument and/or vocalist. Additionally they learn to produce short musical creations by chopping and editing audio, incorporating tempo mapping, elastic audio, Melodyne, looping, beat detective, and other manipulation tools. Students also learn the skills needed to edit and arrange music to picture.
Study abroad students outside of Berklee enrolling in this course must have requisite musical background.
This course provides an introduction to the art and technology of creating music videos. Students learn the challenges and possibilities of representing music visually through the art of filmmaking. They explore the fundamental tools and techniques of music video production by reviewing and analyzing groundbreaking music videos. They also apply those techniques in the hands-on production of personal music videos.
An introduction to live electronic music performance and DJ skills, beginning with the use of the turntable as a musical instrument. Students will explore the culture and aesthetics of Hip-hop, turntablism, club DJs, radio, and mash-up DJs, and will master the following techniques: cueing, mixing, beat matching, beat extending, mash-ups, blending, and scratching (basic, scribble, laser, uzi, stab, cut, transformer, crab, chirp and flare). Students will create their own live mixes and present them as midterm and final performances.
This online course focuses on developing critical listening skills with particular emphasis on analyzing recording and mix techniques in the context of the popular music mix. Topics include: acoustics of the critical listening environment; mix elements such as balances, panning, EQ, reverb, compression, delay and time-based effects; instrument identification; stylistic comparisons of recording and mix techniques. Listening analysis examples and concepts are reinforced through weekly critical listening assignments. A set of weekly audio ear training drills are also part of the class.
This course represents a step-by-step approach to the essential elements of effective records. Using in-class evaluation of demos, masters and commercial recordings, it takes students through an in-depth analysis and appraisal of the emotional effectiveness of recordings, with consideration for: artist identity, vision and intention; melody, lyrics and song form; arrangement, performance, and mixing. Several in-class presentations of student analysis projects are required.
This course is for any musician interested in being more comfortable in their body and developing confidence through movement. The musician's first asset is their physical body and it is critical that performers develop a body language and awareness that allows them to fully deliver their artistic vision. This course fosters full-bodied expression through increased awareness of breath and alignment coupled with discovering one's full range of movement. Developing your senses including sight, touch, hearing and kinesthetic to enhance your overall performance skills. Communication, strength, stamina, wellness, intention, performance, and audition skills are developed thorugh movement disciplines that may include various dance forms, yoga or other somatic practices, games and improvisation. No previous dance or movement experience is required.
A lab focusing on rhythmic techniques and song styles of Brazilian music and their related percussion instruments. Development of performance skills through study of audio and video recordings as well as supervised ensemble playing. Note: ILPH-357 may be taken instead of this course.
For non-piano principals. Comping, harmonic continuity. Triads, seventh chords, melody, and accompaniment. Standard song forms, blues.
Immersion into a different culture broadens understanding of one's own culture and society. This course develops students' awareness of and communication between cultures, highlights the importance of diversity, encourages conversation, and explores global issues in context. Its goal is to help students articulate their identity as artists and global citizens. The course is designed as a seminar, with hour-long weekly meeting, including speakers, visits, special events, and experiential learning. Students are required to perform a diversity-related project.https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eXxH5MPHAhcgVWmz38-YtRRk001QzjghfYIgscNfo-0/edit?usp=sharing
Optional course availability subject to change.
The First Year Abroad program is taught by top-notch professionals who will push you to explore the depths of your abilities. Meet the faculty you'll be studying with below, or see a list of all faculty on the Valencia campus.
As an undergraduate studying on the Valencia campus, you'll also register for private instruction. See private instruction faculty, by instrument.
First Year Abroad students are required to stay in housing arranged by Berklee.
Living together as a cohort of students provides a safe and comfortable environment while abroad.
Several months before the program begins, students will be asked to submit their housing preferences, including preferred room type (single or double) and roommate (if applicable). Submitting your housing preferences is not a guarantee that you will be assigned your preferred housing option. Once assignments are made, changes may be considered on a case-by-case basis and cannot be guaranteed.
Your housing reservation will be made by Berklee, so you should not contact the residence to reserve a place.
Collegiate Marina Real
Collegiate Marina Real is a new luxury residence that opened in fall 2018. It offers incredible amenities and an unbeatable location by Valencia’s marina—just a few steps from the beach. Each room has a private bathroom, kitchen facilities, and a mini fridge.
Housing costs vary by room type. See Tuition, Fees, and Funding for more information.
Students have access to many services at the residence, including:
Meals are not included with housing. Students are responsible for their own food costs. Many students buy food at local supermarkets and cook at home. There are also many great cafes and restaurants close to the residence and near the Berklee campus.
Once you arrive in Valencia, the easiest way to get from the airport to the residence is by taxi. There is a taxi stand at the airport. Tell your taxi driver you are going to:
Collegiate Marina Real
Calle Francesc Cubells, 7
46011 Valencia, España
The Berklee campus is located approximately 1.5 miles from the student residence. Students can bike, walk or take the public bus to school.
If you have questions related to the opening of the campus in fall 2020 and the hybrid model that will be applied to all programs at that time, check the Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions section.
Academically, nothing. The quality of the program, faculty, and staff are the same. Valencia does have a smaller student body than the Boston and is contained in one long building within the City of Arts and Sciences complex. The facilities and recording spaces are comparable to Boston.
Housing is a required cost, additional to tuition. For the cost breakdown, please see our Tuition and Related Costs page.
You may begin your third semester in Boston as early as the summer immediately following your second semester in Valencia. However, if you require a visa to study in the United States, you must acquire it before coming to Boston. You may also choose to resume your studies in Boston in the fall.
During the end of your second semester, you will work with an advisor to declare a major before returning to the Boston campus.
We encourage you to select “yes” on the FYA opt-in portion of the application only if you are sincerely interested in the program and want to study in Valencia for your first year. If you have changed your mind and no longer want to be considered for FYA, please contact the Admissions Office at email@example.com or +1-617-747-2221 and tell us that you wish to opt out of FYA. Accepted First Year Abroad students will have up until the tuition deposit deadline of May 1 to confirm their starting campus.
No. Your acceptance to Berklee is in no way affected by your preference to start in Valencia or Boston.
Regardless of your campus preference, all undergraduate applicants are automatically considered for a scholarship through the audition and interview process. You may read more about scholarships here.
No. The undergraduate audition and interview process for Boston and Valencia is the same. For more information, please visit the Audition and Interview section of our website.
You need to be a fluent English speaker to be considered for First Year Abroad. Please follow this link for information about required English levels for undergraduate program admission.
All applicants must go through the standard application process. To be considered for the First Year Abroad program, simply indicate “yes” to the relevant question within the application, along with an additional personal statement about your interest in the program.
Visit our how to apply page to learn how to start your application.
Getting a degree from Berklee pushes you towards the next big step in your career, and coming to Valencia allows you to broaden your horizons and spend more time in the global music industry. As the liaison between Berklee Valencia and the industry, the International Career Center (ICC) is one of the resources you have to help get you from where you are now to where you want to be. The mission of the ICC is to provide expert guidance, cutting-edge resources, and professional development experiences to help our diverse body of students achieve their career goals. Rather than acting as a one-time job link, our overall focus is on career management. We help you access available resources and activities, and apply them to your career path.
Getting a bachelor’s degree in one of Berklee’s many areas of study opens you to a world of possibilities in the music and entertainment industry and beyond. After graduating, many students find jobs working in all facets of the industry. To start to get an idea of what Berklee has to offer your career, we recommend exploring Berklee’s Career Communities. Here you will see the different ways that Berklee helps students to build communities in the business, composition, design, education, health and wellness, performance, and production industries.
Succeeding in the music and entertainment industry is all about building your professional network and making connections with the right people. Students are encouraged to take advantage of their time in Europe to attend or participate in the many music and performance-related events held in Spain and throughout Europe. All event participation and attendance is optional, and students make all the arrangements to attend on their own. In some cases, students may be able to access special offers and student discounts through Berklee.
We encourage you to supplement the learning you receive in the classroom with hands-on experiential learning via an internship during your studies. The ICC is here to assist you in obtaining and maintaining an internship that best suits your learning and career goals.
Undergraduate students can do internships once they have completed two semesters and can see the available internship courses and options here.