Many people are suddenly studying music online for the first time ever. Whether it’s a choice or as a result of social distancing, many colleges are asking their students to take their studies online. As an academic advisor at Berklee Online (as well as a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree) I can share a few tips on how to navigate the musical education experience online.

1. Use Your Phone to Your Advantage
We all play with our phones throughout the day, and get the weekly screen-time updates to prove it! Start new habits and use those moments to study. Get some reading done while you’re on the treadmill (or on the train, when we start taking more trains again), or jot down some lyrics while you’re in bed. Also, you probably don’t need to check the news quite as often as you are! Use some of those moments where you would be reading your phone for news and social media updates, to read your phone for class! Mobile-friendly classes are great for being productive on the go!

2. Get Started Early
Berklee Online students are typically juggling many things at a time. In addition to courses, you might be working multiple jobs, playing shows with your band, or just trying to make time for your family. That’s why it’s important to practice good time management.

Take note of when your assignments are due, and get started early. That way, you have more time to enjoy your weekends, instead of dealing with last-minute stress.

Also, since you’re not on campus, you generally won’t learn that your classmates have been working night and day on the latest assignment and thus receive that competitive jolt of motivation after running into them in the quad. Plus, even if you were on campus you should be practicing social distancing anyway. But the point is that you have to motivate yourself to do this!

3. Get to Know the Faculty
Are you taking Music Cognition with Susan Rogers? Did you know she was an engineer for Prince during some of his commercial peak? Or how about Music Business 101 with John Kellogg? He represented artists from Bad Boy Records! Prince Charles Alexander, who teaches several Berklee Online courses, also did a lot of work for Bad Boy, engineering music for Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige!

The point is, the faculty at Berklee Online have impressive resumés in the music industry, and if you’re taking a course with them, feel free to message them. They’ll usually respond in a timely fashion. Be sure to attend their live classes as well! They’ll have great advice for succeeding in class and in your career.

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4. Draw Inspiration from Your Classmates
Now this isn’t encouraging you to copy another student’s work! However, if you’re in a songwriting course, you’ll be encouraged to listen to your classmates’ songs. This is not only an opportunity to offer critique and praise to others, it can help lend inspiration to your own work! This won’t apply to all classes: there’s no drawing inspiration from looking at someone’s math assignment!

Also, remember when I reminded you that you won’t be bumping into any classmates in real-life anytime soon? Well, that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in touch. Connect with your classmates on social media, and keep each other motivated about the assignments you’re working on.

5. Ask your advisors!
This might be a bit biased, but if you want tips on a course, you should call up your advisor. There’s a good chance they either took the course, or know somebody who does. So don’t be timid, call them up if you want some advice on one of your courses!