Bachelor of Arts

Guitar Performance Degree

There's still time to apply for September 26, 2022 semester start • Degree application deadline extended
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Develop the skills to become a professional guitar player. Through private lessons with Berklee's renowned faculty and a rigorous program of study that spans contemporary music styles, you will develop your unique sound, improve your technique, increase your musicianship, and harness technology to create professional-sounding recordings.

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The guitar program begins with your home studio and gear, teaching you how to effectively leverage these tools to deliver high-quality results. You'll also strengthen your understanding of harmony, ear training, and improvisation. From there, you'll dive into the technical challenges of professional performance, including scales, reading, chords, tone, fingerstyle technique, arranging, performing in an ensemble context, and advanced improvisational techniques.

Through elective coursework, you can choose to immerse yourself in a specific style or study several different ones, such as blues, rock, jazz, R&B, and more. Additionally, you will learn the fundamentals of how today's music industry works. Each semester, you'll work one-on-one with a Berklee professor in private guitar lessons that require the same proficiencies as the campus-based program. Your experience will culminate with a 60-minute performance and a demo reel geared toward securing professional work that aligns with a variety of career goals, including freelance musician, session player, touring musician, educator, and more.

Upon completion of the Guitar Performance major, you will be able to:

  • Put your knowledge of harmony, ear training, and rhythmic concepts into practice
  • Incorporate digital technology into your guitar practice routines, live performances, and recording projects
  • Collaborate with other musicians remotely on recordings
  • Construct and play pentatonic, blues, major and minor music modes, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales and their modes in any key within any musical context
  • Build and recognize triads, power chords, diminished triads, augmented triads, 7th chords, extended chords, and inversions
  • Examine lead sheets and play chord voicings and melodies in a variety of musical styles
  • Develop an extensive repertoire of techniques, including tremolo, rasgueado, harmonics, pull-offs, hammer-ons, slurs, percussion, and electronic effects
  • Perform rhythm guitar with a solid rhythmic foundation as it relates to different styles and time feels, including blues, rock, funk, jazz, Latin, and other styles
  • Improvise over a variety of different chord progressions and musical grooves
  • Play and compose in a variety of nonstandard tunings
  • Demonstrate solo guitar techniques that include passing tones, upper and lower neighbor notes, rhythmic variations, multivoiced phrases, and accompaniment
  • Play with a personal touch and technological mastery that allows your unique sound to shine
  • Assess the historical lineage that’s been passed along through the generations, from early blues players to the contemporary guitarists of today
  • Develop a varied repertoire that includes classic as well as contemporary guitar music
  • Explore the definitions of artistry as it applies to your professional work
  • Describe new and evolving technological developments that are driving revenue streams and the music industry overall

Admission Requirement: Recorded Video Audition

For the Guitar major, students are required to submit a recorded video audition, in which the student performs a prepared piece (original or cover) on guitar. The performance should be an unedited take, approximately 3-5 minutes in length, in any style that demonstrates the student's instrumental proficiency and overall musicianship. The video should be uploaded to a website like YouTube, with a link provided for review by the Board of Admissions.

More about admissions requirements  Read Less

Curriculum

Updated September 8, 2021

(120 Credits)


  • Elective Courses (18 Credits)

    Complete any six courses, except Liberal Arts courses coded with OLART, OLSOC, or OLMSC, in a given student's area of interest and professional development (e.g., guitar, music business, songwriting, arranging, orchestration, etc.). (18 credits)

How should I set up my schedule, based on the above requirements?

Check out this handy planning guide to help you understand which courses you should take during which semester.

View Sample Schedule
  1. Fill out the online application (15 minutes)
  2. Create a 500-750 word essay, or a 3-5 minute video essay
  3. Prepare a recorded audition
  4. Attach your official transcripts
  5. Ask for two letters of recommendation

Read full undergraduate admissions requirement details .



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Online undergraduate degree tuition vs. campus tuition

Affordable Tuition

Online undergraduate degree tuition is $64,380 (current) / $65,100 (Sept. 2022 onward) for 120 credits (includes associated fees). To get started, this degree program includes a non-refundable $75 application fee.

Read full tuition and associated program fee details for this, and all other undergraduate programs here.



Available Financial Aid

Ready to Return to Berklee or Transfer in Credits from Another Institution to Complete Your Degree?

Students transferring in from an accredited institution can carry over up to 60 credits, and students with previous Berklee experience may be able to transfer even more.

Learn about our different transfer options: