Aspire: Preparing for Your College Experience

Updated on September 25th, 2023

The Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive is Berklee's longest and most immersive summer experience. It is important that each student socially and academically prepares for their Aspire: Five-Week experience prior to their arrival on campus, regardless of age or ability. It is our goal at Berklee Summer Programs to provide each of our students with the tools to succeed during their time with us on campus. 


Your Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive education is provided by Berklee's world-class faculty and includes a mix of private instruction, instrumental labs, ensembles, theory, and musicianship training. 

Coursework Designed to Inspire

Derived from Berklee College of Music’s award-winning undergraduate curriculum, Aspire: Five-Week coursework is designed both for students preparing for advanced music study and for casual music enthusiasts. It is the goal of the faculty to provide students with a curriculum that goes far beyond musical technique and dexterity, and will ultimately cultivate a well-rounded student performer by the end of the five-week program. 

If you hope to attend Berklee College of Music in the future, Aspire: Five-Week offers a glimpse into the four-year undergraduate experience as the program's curriculum is modeled off of the average undergraduate student's schedule.

A sample schedule of one week at Aspire: Five-Week is available on the program webpage. Each participant's schedule is entirely customized to their interests and abilities. The sample schedule serves as an example of the expected course load along with the breadth of additional opportunities throughout the intensive. 

Earn College Credit

All Aspire: Five-Week students who receive a grade of B or higher in the following courses will be awarded three (elective) college credits towards Berklee's Fundamentals of Musicianship I undergraduate requirement:

  • Theory in Performance
  • Musicianship
  • Ensemble
  • Private Instruction

If you take a subsequent Aspire: Five-Week program, and receive a grade of B or higher in those same courses, you will be awarded three additional (elective) college credits towards Berklee's Fundamentals of Musicianship II requirement.

Student Performances

Performance is the centerpiece of Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive. The program offers an incredible amount of live music and performance opportunities during the five weeks of the program. In addition to your ensemble performance in the final week, you have the opportunity to participate in various other performance settings, some of which are detailed below. 

Open Mic for Singer-Songwriters and Vocalists

Open mic sessions are open to all students. This is a great way to get to know other students and explore your potential in an informal setting. 

Jam Sessions 

Typically hosted two nights a week, jam sessions are open to all. Students learn to communicate in a group dynamic and experiment with different styles.

Performing Songwriter Showcase 

A panel of Berklee faculty will select 40 students to perform their original songs in a series of showcases scheduled towards the end of the program.

Spotlight Concert

Vocalists may audition to be one of 10 featured performers at the Five-Week Spotlight Concert, typically hosted in the final week of the program. Five soloists and five background vocalists will perform arrangements written for them by faculty members with a band of Berklee undergraduate students. 

Instrumental Showcase 

Instrumentalists may audition to perform in one of three all-star groups. These groups will perform in the Berklee Performance Center under the direction of Berklee faculty members during the final week of the program. 

Musical Theater Showcase 

Auditions for the Musical Theater Showcase will be open to all students during the first week of the program. Vocalists may audition for lead and supporting roles. Instrumentalists may audition for a seat in the Musical Theater Ensemble. Students selected for the Musical Theater Showcase will perform at the Five-Week Spotlight Concert in the Berklee Performance Center during the final week of the program.

Berklee City Music Scholarship Concert

This concert features talented students from the City Music National Network.

Exploring the City

On Berklee’s urban campus, which spans Boston’s Back Bay and Fenway neighborhoods, there is always something for our students to discover. Boston is a proud multicultural city that welcomes people of all kinds of backgrounds and interests. 

During your five weeks in Boston, you might want to explore these spots nearby:

  • The Charles River Esplanade
  • Boston Public Library
  • Fenway Park
  • The Museum of Fine Arts
  • The Prudential Center
  • Newbury Street
  • Symphony Hall
  • Copley Square
  • Boston Common
  • The Public Garden
  • The City of Cambridge

Student Activities

The Summer Life team organizes regular activities for the Aspire: Five-Week community during the summer. Throughout the five weeks, you will have ample opportunities to make meaningful connections with your peers through on- and off-campus events.

Additionally, members of the Aspire: Five-Week community are welcome to stop by Berklee’s Center for Campus Life to hang out, meet friends, play pool, or just to relax.

Join a Field Trip

Activities programmed by the Summer Life team include group outings to movies and concerts, local sightseeing tours, and trips to the Franklin Park Zoo, Shakespeare in the Common, and Red Sox games at Fenway Park. The cost to attend any Berklee-coordinated event will be covered by the school. Students are responsible for all "extra" expenses that may arise during activities programmed by the College (ie. a hot dog at a Red Sox game, a souvenir from the Museum of Fine Arts, etc.)

Attend On-Campus Events

Events include caf shows (student-run concerts in the Berklee Dining Hall), game nights, the opening Welcome Carnival on the first full day of the program, and the closing event on the final evening of the program. 

Hang Out with Friends

Stop by the Center for Campus Life to hang out, play pool, or play video games. 

Campus Resources

Take advantage of the many Berklee facilities and amenities at your fingertips, including practice roomsperformance hallsstudent lounges, and ensemble rehearsal spaces.

Next, learn about helpful resources and services provided by our trained support staff, or check out additional learning opportunities.