From established musicians looking to learn a new skill, newcomers from outside of the music industry, to the next viral sensation, you never know who you are going to meet at Berklee Online. With a global student population, all seeking flexibility in their music studies and a desire to learn from anywhere, Berklee Online offers unique networking and collaboration you can’t find anywhere else. Here are some of the kinds of students you’ll encounter in a Berklee Online course: 

Military Students

Berklee Online offers a 30 percent tuition discount to US service members, veterans, and qualifying family members. With a dedicated Military Affairs team available to help navigate courses and programs, it’s no wonder 10 percent of all Berklee Online students are military students! Read about veterans Eric Lewis and Marc Lumley, who both attended Berklee Online using their GI Bill benefits, and also started their own non-profits. 

Learners of All Ages

Because of Berklee Online’s flexible nature, we see learners of all ages in our courses and programs. This includes young students who can keep up with the curriculum like 10-year-old Seba Stephens and 14-year-old Audi Ellis, who pursued professional certificates. On the other end of the spectrum, Marchell Jackson is earning her Songwriting bachelor’s degree after more than 60 years as a professional jazz vocalist and recording artist. Unlike campus-based colleges where the average age of a student is in their 20s, we see a wide range of students of all ages. 

Transfer Students

Many Berklee Online students enter their programs with existing credit thanks to our generous undergraduate and graduate degree transfer policies, which also include partnerships with community colleges. In addition, some students can take advantage of prior learning credits, where they can earn up to 30 credits by demonstrating their proficiency in a subject through life and professional experience. In a stellar example of saving time and money, guitar degree student Alex Born transferred in 60 credits from another college, and earned 18 prior learning credits for his experience owning a music school. That left him with only 42 Berklee Online credits to complete his bachelor’s degree, compared to 120.

Degree Completion Students

For students who left the Berklee College of Music campus before graduating, Berklee Online offers the degree completion program where some students have the option to complete their degree through Berklee Online. This includes folks like Sheri Alexander, who had to leave Berklee College of Music in 1979 because of a health issue, enrolled in the degree completion program, and walked at the 2019 Commencement ceremony.  

Music Professionals

Professional musicians know that adapting with the industry is vital. That’s why you’re bound to meet a music professional in a Berklee Online course. We often work with professionals who are changing fields within the music industry, or want to add another skill set to their repertoire. We saw this with Scott Gentile, who is a classically trained pianist and conductor, but wanted to learn more about film scoring and electronic instruments when he landed the opportunity to score a feature film. 

Often we are lucky to have globally acclaimed artists study at Berklee Online, including: Alessandro Cortini, former keyboardist for Nine Inch Nails; Ryan Lewis; members of the band Train; Portugal. The Man; members of the band Sugarland; Stefan Lessard, bassist for Dave Matthews Band; Trey Anastasio of Phish; Fraser T. Smith; Trevor Horn; and Kip Winger

Touring Students

When opportunities come knocking, Berklee Online students can answer by being able to take their studies on tour with them. In a similar vein to students who are music professionals, we have had many students who take Berklee Online courses from their tour buses and hotel rooms. This includes Katelyn Brown, who earned her Music Business degree while on tour with husband, country singer Kane Brown, as well as Erini Tornesaki who toured with Cirque Du Soleil and now teaches at Berklee Online!

Music Enthusiasts

Some Berklee Online students are taking courses, earning a certificate, or a degree, not because they’re looking to further their career, but for their own personal enrichment. We see students come to Berklee Online with established careers, but want to express themselves outside of their 9-5 by learning songwriting, how to record, or how to play the guitar, like Dr. Bill Ennis. 

Bill is a doctor of osteopathic medicine who has always loved jazz music and jazz guitar. “I used to do a lot of reconstructive vascular surgery and everybody knew that there would be music blasting for every procedure I did,” he says. Bill decided to enroll at Berklee Online and earned his Advanced Professional Guitar Certificate. He’s continuing his studies with music theory and Ableton Live. We also saw NFL player Ben Grubbs and Berklee Board of Trustees member Pete Muller study at Berklee Online. 

By no means is this list exhaustive, but we hope it gives you a better idea of what kinds of students you’ll meet at Berklee Online, and how our student population looks a little different than traditional colleges and music institutions.

If you’d like to speak with an Advisor, feel free to call 1-866-BERKLEE (or +1-617-747-2146 if you’re outside the US) or send us an email at You can also schedule a 30-minute consultation!

 Published February 23, 2023