It was Christmas of 2007 and I was eleven years old. I had been taking guitar lessons for a year now but I still could not put my mind to it; the abrasive methods of my piano teacher had cemented my distaste for music years before. The torture had started last Christmas, when my younger brother opened his present: a Yamaha acoustic guitar. Despite my protests, I soon found myself sitting in lessons with him, sharing that one guitar. We all thought that this guitar fad would end quickly, so what happened when Christmas rolled around again took everyone by surprise.
I was sitting in the choir at my school’s Winter Concert (they put all the kids in the choir) when the older students took the stage. They were playing loud guitars and drums, captivating the audience and looking like they were having the time of their lives. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They way they were engaging the audience, demonstrating their abilities but also entertaining, it made me realize that I could be there if I practiced. I called my mom as soon as I got home and told her, “I want an electric guitar”; baffled by my sudden interest, she let me know that I would have to buy it myself so that I would appreciate it. Less than a month later, I was playing my new Epiphone SG, a guitar that has accompanied me for several years and still sits in my room now that I study at Berklee.
For many years I was not considered for any of the school’s musical theater productions, given my young age and lack of experience. However, I mustered up the courage to audition for ‘We Will Rock You’, based on the music of Queen, and finally earned a place in the band; this proved to be a turning point in my life because I began playing in the band with older students, leading me passing on wisdom and making me play at a higher level than what I was accustomed to. The climax of this experience was closing the show with the guitar solo for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, one of my favorite songs. The band, which was behind the curtain at all times, was revealed at the end of the last performance and I was granted the opportunity to take center stage and play one of the most beautiful melodies written for guitar. With a newfound confidence and ambition, I went on to form a band with one of my best friends and attended two Berklee five-week summer camps. My friends and I also played on live television, accompanying a friend who we met in Five Week 2012. I knew now that I wanted to dedicate my life to music.
Studying music is uncustomary in Mexico; families often consider it to be a fruitless profession that leads to financial uncertainty. Not my family. They encouraged me to pursue a career in music, but not a garage rock one, a studied and dedicated one. As the years passed, the looming threat of college grew closer, but I was sure that my only choice was Berklee because I knew that this school would let me reach a level that I could not achieve anywhere. I applied and received an audition date in mid-February 2014; my parents were furious because I had not applied elsewhere, meaning that if I were not accepted I would miss an entire year of university. Fortunately, on March 31st at 10pm, my phone chimed with an incoming e-mail: “Your Berklee decision has been made, click here to see your result.” I only read the first line and started shouting, and the whole family gathered to celebrate.
Here at Berklee I have been part of several projects, some of the ones that I remain active with are an indie-rock band I co-founded and a Guitar-led fusion project that I founded. I have also been hired to play with Colombian singer Laura Suarez to play around Boston in café’s and restaurants. I am also working on arranging and producing music, focusing on providing arrangements for singer-songwriters and then recording them. I also worked on ‘Curtain Up’ 2016 as an arranger.
I waited seven years to be here and now that I am, I continue to be awestruck at what the college offers. Being here has been one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences I have had, shaping my career path in ways that I know I could not find anywhere else and meeting extraordinarily inspiring people. I know that I am incredibly fortunate to be here, and I am taking advantage of this opportunity with hard work, passion, dedication and willingness to learn and improve.
After four very intense years I finally graduated from Berklee College of Music. It is a huge honor to be a part of such a talented alumni pool and I hope to be able to make a mark on Music sometime soon.