As soon as Vitas Svigaris enrolled in Berklee Online’s Songwriting and Producing Music undergraduate degree program, he says he knew he wanted to continue on into one of Berklee Online’s graduate programs. In fact, he says he wants to complete all of the Berklee Online grad programs he can, and earn his master’s in Songwriting, Music Production, Music Business, and Film Scoring! (Note: If one were to complete all of the aforementioned programs, the final Berklee Online graduate program that’s currently available—Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Music Studies—would not be necessary.)

Svigaris graduated with his bachelor’s in May of 2024, and now a month later he has already embarked on his grad journey, without taking a semester off. Although he doesn’t plan on enrolling in all of the programs at once—this summer he begins taking courses for his Master of Arts in Songwriting degree—you get the sense when speaking with Svigaris that this 23-year-old doesn’t like to sit still for too long. Accordingly, he is in his car when doing the interview for this article. 

“You never should stop learning,” says Svigaris, driving from one of his two jobs back to his house. “You always should learn because if you’re going to stop learning, that’s it.”

His first job, he says, is a family business that involves manufacturing heat transfers, working with businesses like Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, and more. The second business is his own and involves selling point-of-sale programming systems in his home country of Lithuania.

“People call me workaholic,” he says. “I cannot stop. I work 24/7. Last night I got two calls at five in the morning and I answered them just to help the client. I just like it. It’s the momentum, and it’s the same thing with Berklee.”

Svigaris hasn’t taken a break from music since he began learning at the age of seven at the esteemed National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art, where he says he learned his discipline and love for putting in the time.

“It’s a classical musical school,” he says, “and you start school from eight in the morning and you finish eight at night. It was like an all-the-time schedule. … Berklee is a little bit simpler for me.”

Whether it’s simpler or not, one part of the Berklee Online experience that Svigaris has definitely seemed to appreciate is the way the instructors deliver feedback.

“What I noticed when I come to Berklee Online, and maybe this is coming from the American people, but you always start with the good stuff,” he says. “And the instructor will say, ‘you did a really good job,’ which ‘oh, okay, fine, I did a good job, thank God!’ but there’s still that ‘but.’ But the first sentence gets you excited and ‘okay, I am something, I can do something!’ Because in Europe the teachers are always starting from, ‘you did that wrong,’ not what you did good. And that change of perspective in America really changed how I feel about all the learning.”

You might think the workaholic lifestyle Svigaris alludes to would drive him to compose complicated pieces of music with complex counterpoint that careens forth at furious tempos, but it’s the exact opposite. Within his recordings—both those that he has composed and those he has produced—there is a common thread of contemplative tranquility. Even the cover art for his releases evokes a meditative mindset.

The artwork of musical releases from Berklee Online student Vitas Svigaris is pictured.
The artwork of musical releases from Berklee Online student Vitas Svigaris

He says that’s because he likes to listen to his own songs while he works, and encourages his listeners to use his music for the same purpose.

“I think it’s coming from when you work, you want peaceful music, to listen to peaceful music because there’s a lot of stuff happening on the computer in the programming end of the business,” he says. “There’s a big object which you need to understand, and I think that music helps me to progress more in work. That’s why I create this.”

He says his work ethic, study ethic, and his exploratory ethic all run in the family.

“In my ideal world,” he says. “I want to finish working at the company at the age of 40 and then sit only with the music. From where all of this comes, my dad has a PhD in philosophy, so he writes books, et cetera. And he has all of these businesses and everything, but he says ‘the thing that relieves me and relaxes me most is writing books, not going to the office to work. The thing which I like to do, if I could, I would just sit and write books.’ And he’s doing that right now, nothing more. He doesn’t go to the company anymore.”

With dedication and a love for learning, Svigaris’s journey shows that it’s possible to balance multiple passions, and that staying curious and committed can lead to a fulfilling experience. And with enough hard work he’ll be retired at 40, with four graduate degrees, and making music.

 Published May 23, 2024