“Anyway, he pushed back on that. The more we talked, the more I realized that for him, getting into Berklee doesn’t represent an opportunity to learn and expand his skill set. Nothing like that.
It represents a short cut.
Instead of spending years grinding and refining your skills and building an audience, in one stroke he will have instant validation. “I’m good because Berk-f’ing-lee says so!”
This is extremely common. At the state place, I’d say that the mix between students who really wanted to get better, and the students who just want a sticker/cert, like they’re an organic banana, is about 60/40.
I have kicked maybe a half-dozen of the worst rubber stampers out of my studio (even the cert seekers typically still like guitar, in a casual way). I used to get shit for it, over the obvious retention issues, but I always got my way because I won’t actually jettison a student unless they are a *complete* screw off, and that level of student always creates a mountain of their own documentation.
What happens to those students is that the department always finds a way to get them a generic BA. They all graduate. And that, so far, is the last I hear of them.
Incidentally, the real roadblock to a BM in performance isn’t the coursework: it’s the recital requirements, junior and senior. You can’t outsmart, fake, or otherwise sneak past the recitals. I’ve seen a lot of students get through all the coursework, and bog down because they can’t play. So there is that.
But everybody graduates. Even the guy who caused a lockdown and SWAT roll-out still graduated, albeit several years late, due to being expelled for a few years.