Eric Wesling is in his second year with IAJSD playing guitar. He just started his senior year at Mission Bay High School but he already has a pretty good idea where he will be going to college. This summer Eric was awarded a $30,000 per year scholarship and the prestigious Berklee College of Music!
Last August Eric attended The Berklee Guitar Sessions, a one week guitar intensive program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He stayed in the dorms and took classes. I asked him about the curriculum and he told me, “There were three classes each day, the first one being the ensemble class, jazz styles, and then fretboard harmony, with different clinics and concerts in between. The instructors there have very new, creative ideas that they shared with us, and it gave me a whole new understanding of the guitar. I also learned about the guitar itself, like the measurements and the types of wood they use. They had the head of Godin guitars do a clinic all about the materials used to make guitars and how different types of wood create different vibrations.”
I asked him if IAJSD helped to prepare him for this program. “IAJ definitely helped me prepare for Berklee. Berklee really looks for musicians are not just talented, but that can read well and have a good ear. I never really focused on these things until I started playing in IAJ. Gilbert Castellanos had us playing transcriptions, reading new music, and identifying chord qualities, which helped my playing immensely. These concepts helped me understand what my instructors were showing me and they saw that I knew what I was doing.”
Apparently one Berklee instructor in particular saw that Eric knew what he was doing. Tim Miller spotted Eric’s talent and ability and recommended him for a scholarship to attend Berklee as a college student. I asked Eric about the scholarship. “I was awarded a $30,000 scholarship for a four year degree. The head of the guitar sessions, Kim Purlak, pulled me aside during the sound check for the final performance, and handed me the certificate. It covers tuition for two semesters, but has the possibility of being renewed if I make decent academic progress.” I am very confident that Eric will excel in this program, given his track record at IAJSD.
Congratulations, Eric, on this wonderful accomplishment! We wish you every success completing your senior year of high school and wish you luck as a college student at Berklee or whever you decide to go.