Home Stretch at Berklee College of Music

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Ayanna in Venice Beach, CA. Photo Credit: YKM Photography

This is my final year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Berklee is the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world, and has some of the most cutting edge facilities and recording studios and world-class faculty members. Students from all over the world attend Berklee to study one or two of the twelve majors that are offered. The majors are related to the different facets of the music industry, from music business, music therapy, music education, engineering, various types of composition and production, film scoring, songwriting, and performance. A few of the many, notable alumni from Berklee are Quincy Jones, Esperanza Spalding, Charlie Puth, John Mayer, and film composer Howard Shore.

The workload at Berklee is very heavy for students of all semesters and we are expected to work at professional level at all times. This year will be one of my most challenging and exciting because I will be taking advanced classes with the top faculty in music composition, production, scoring to visuals, and music technology. Over the course of my Berklee career I have been able to gain experience and training in a multitude of areas within the music industry, in addition to the coursework covered in my two majors, which are Contemporary Writing and Production and Professional Music.

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Ayanna conducting a studio orchestra recording of her piece Iridescence at Futura Productions in Boston, MA.

Even though my majors at Berklee are Contemporary Writing and Production and Professional Music, I have taken on many other opportunities to explore the various avenues of the music industry while pursuing my degree. Live voice and saxophone performances, DJing, private music instruction and music critic, editor, and journalist for Berklee’s online newspaper the Berklee Groove, are experiences that fell out of my normal coursework, but have contributed to my growth and development as a musician. By gaining these additional experiences at Berklee, I have been able to focus my goal to work as a composer and producer for film, TV, video games, advertisements, and artists.

With my career ambition established, there are other goals I need to achieve before my senior year ends. My main objective this academic year is to score my first film. I want to score either a student film or a small-independent film to put what I have learned at Berklee into a real-world context and have a completed film project to add to my portfolio. My second goal is to write as much music for visual media as possible and collaborate with others outside of the Berklee community in order to grow my network. Lastly, my third goal for my senior year is to receive two paid projects writing music for any form of visual media. This will be a great way for me to experience the business side of being a freelance composer and producer and hopefully, affirm my desired career path.

My experience at Berklee, both my formal training and the opportunities afforded me while on campus, have prepared me for a career as composer, producer and performer, able to successfully manage my own freelance business within the ever-evolving music industry.

Written by: Ayanna Jacobs-E
headshot2 Ayanna Jacobs-El is a senior from Huntsville, AL dual majoring in Contemporary Writing and Production and Professional Music at Berklee College of Music. Ayanna is a multifaceted musician as a composer, producer, songwriter, singer, saxophonist, and DJ. Ayanna self-produced a jazz, funk, and R&B EP entitled Metamorphosis in 2015 and in 2016 she founded a music production company that provides affordable music for small businesses and independent projects. Upon graduation, Ayanna aspires to compose and produce music for various forms of media as well as tour the world spreading a positive message through her music.