So we are newly back from Boston. Will had a great time at Berklee and he, now more than ever, is determined to go there for college. However, we learned some things:
1. While Will is very good for someone who's been playing the guitar for just under 2 years, he is not as good as a lot of other guys who have been playing longer. (They grouped the campers by ability. There were 3 groups, group 3 being the most accomplished. Will got put into group 2. He was the only one who'd been playing such a short time and they were impressed by his ability.) And those are the guys who he'll be competing against to get into Berklee for the 2010-2011 year. If he wanted to go right into Berklee in the fall of 2010, after this, his 12th grade year, he'd have to audition in December. That's only 4 months from now! This is disheartening to him in a big way. He wants to be there right now! He didn't want to leave! However, it looks like focusing on his music for another solid year would be a good thing to do because realistically, he isn't ready for the big audition yet.
3. Will is weak on sight reading and it is obvious he needs to get much better at that to get into Berklee.
3. Rick wants Will to go for a B.A. He wants him to have that B.A. so that Will has better job opportunities post college, could maybe get a teaching certificate later if he decides to earn a living that way, go on to grad school, etc. Keeping in mind that Will is a guy and might have to support a family one day, getting a B.A. seems very practical. However, Berklee really is a conservatory and the liberal arts facet of its program, we have the distinct impression, isn't really all that great. All the school's energy goes into its music. For example, Berklee will accept any liberal arts credits from other colleges, but will not accept any music credits. So Rick thinks that Will should take the year 2010-2011 to work on his guitar playing and also take some basic college level, non-music classes, such a college math, a science course, history, etc.
4. Having Will go to NVCC will cut the costs of Berklee. Berklee is very expensive! It seems like it is not uncommon for folks to transfer to Berklee after a year or two at another school. This would be a good plan because if Will didn't make it in (oh, he'd be soooo crushed) he could still transfer to another VA state college or Catholic U. VCU apparently has a good jazz studies program. Will really wants to go for a Composition degree at Berklee, but jazz studies could do him in a pinch (I think). You can always reapply to Berklee after a year. It seems people do this because they want so desperately to go there!
5. The hard part is that Will wants to be gone. He is emotionally ready to be out of here! But his skills and his maturity have to catch up. I predict this last year of high school will be a hard one! Will sees anything other than music as an irritating distraction. But I want him to to study Ancients with Josh and me. He needs to get more writing under his belt (the one thing Berklee seems to care about other than music is writing ability, they do seem to stress that a bit.) I guess I think education is a broadening thing and I can see that Will wants to focus very narrowly on his passion. I kind of see it as my job to make sure he gets a solid, broad (liberal, in the old fashion sense of the word) education before he goes off and specializes.
6. This makes me wonder about taking the SAT. We went through all this rigmarole to get testing modification for Will for when he took the SAT this past spring. However, they didn't give us their decision until after the last SAT test. So he was going to take it the first Saturday in October. But frankly, with all we are going through right now and the fact that he'll be so unmotivated at this point in his life. . . . Also, Berklee does not care about SAT scores. They don't even require them. Everything is based on the audition and interview. For homeschoolers they want a portfolio or list of books read/studied and a writing sample. That's it. If Will took courses at NVCC and wound up not going to Berklee but to a VA state college, he might not even be required to take the SAT. I think it might depend on the major. So. . . . what to do? Will would have to spend September prepping for the SAT. UGH!
Well, I have more to say but I've run out of time!