Nakyung Kang

Class of
Berklee College of Music

Pronouns Used: She/Her/Hers

Hometown: Seoul, Korea

Principal Instrument: Violin

Majors: Music Education

Languages Spoken (other than English): Korea

Describe your favorite Berklee experience so far.

My favorite Berklee experience was meeting new friends and talking with them! Berklee covers a wide variety of genres like jazz, rock, classical, world music, and ethnic music. Not only can you learn during class time but you can also learn about unfamiliar genres by talking with your peers and working with them! In classes, you also get to share your work for peer review and professor’s feedback. It is definitely an eye-opening experience because no one’s work is the same.

When you think about your favorite class so far, what is one example of why you enjoyed it?

My favorite class is solfège. As a music education student, Solfège 1 and 2 are required courses. In solfège class, I learned and practiced sight-reading, dictation, and singing. First of all, solfège class improved my sight-reading skill, which is a crucial skill to have as a musician. Also, it improved my vocal skills as I practiced singing the excerpts. Most importantly, I was able to develop relative pitch. I have perfect pitch and because I can hear the pitch of every note in the music, I never knew how to develop and practice thinking in intervals. Solfège definitely helped me with developing relative pitch and this helped me to become a more skilled performer. 

What is your favorite part about studying and living in Boston? 

Best part about living in Boston was the food accessibility. Boston is definitely a place where I can get my hands on Korean food. As a person who never lived outside of South Korea until now, I was so happy to have access to Korean restaurants near the dorms. There are also lots of restaurants and markets that sell food from all around the world. I also had a friend who enjoyed going to the halal restaurant and my other friend loved the hot pot restaurant downtown so much that we celebrated her birthday there. Eating is something that you shouldn't be worried about. 

My favorite part about studying in Boston is that there are amazing study places. Looking for a place to study is always the hard part. I personally prefer places that aren’t too quiet, too loud, or too enclosed. At Berklee, you can borrow a study room to prepare for the test with your friends. This was definitely helpful because we were able to effectively use our time and not be distracted by the outside noise. The Boston Public Library is also a great place to go. It is not too quiet or too loud, and it has lots of personal space. It is also not too far from the campus and there are lots of places to eat if you get hungry while studying. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone applying to Berklee College of Music or Boston Conservatory at Berklee?

Have fun in the audition! The Berklee audition is never a place to be in fear or nervousness. The professors try their best to loosen up the atmosphere and bring out your full potential. Make sure to explore the Berklee website to read about expectations and the practice materials. Same thing with the interview. There is a series of example questions that the interviewers might ask. For the interview, I believe that it is important to be aware of your aspiration and motive in music, and put that clearly in words. It is also important to be true to yourself and show your character to the interviewers. All this can be done through practice, so review the website! 

Where is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place is a practice room with a piano. I play the violin and I love playing it but practicing can be really stressful. I play the piano whenever I feel like I need a break. Also, practice rooms are personal space where I don’t have to think about others. When I practice, I can really focus on the sound that I create and the improvements that I should make. 

Why did you choose Berklee?

Berklee was the best school to commit to for several reasons. I've played classical music since elementary school and only got to explore other genres like Argentine tango and Hungarian music in grade 12. I loved playing as a concertmaster in my school’s symphony orchestra and the violin solo pieces that I had to play for my school assessment challenged me to be a better musician. However, because I loved doing what I am good at, I wanted to explore and be good at other genres as well. I knew that if I went to conservatories or other music schools, I would be only studying classical music. Therefore, Berklee’s unique curriculum focusing mainly on jazz, contemporary, and global music was the prominent reason why I chose Berklee. Moreover, as I was researching about Berklee, I watched an interview video about a classical harpist trying out jazz in Berklee that resonated with me a lot. The harpist stated in the interview that he wanted to try something new other than classical music. After watching this video, I was certain that Berklee would be a school where I would be able to achieve diversity in musicianship while feeling confident in learning something that I never had before.

As a prospective student, I was also drawn to the low student to faculty ratio of Berklee. Berklee has 8:1 with over 90 percent of the classes featuring less than 20 students per professor. I work better in an intimate class setting with frequent small group discussions and opportunities to ask questions in class time. I didn’t want to sit in the back row of the lecture with 300 students and not be able to personally connect with the professors. 

Lastly, Berklee’s emphasis on creativity and growth made me certain that I will become a better musician. Music had been a hobby for me until grade 10. Therefore, I never took intense lessons and didn’t practice as much as students seeking to be a performance major. I always thought that I may be competitive around musicians playing as a hobby but be far worse than performance major students. This made me feel insecure about my portfolio. However, Berklee did not stress excellent and flawless musicianship but potential for growth, talent, and creativity. As a person who felt lacking overall, I chose Berklee to be better and reach my full potential. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I don’t have clear plans yet, but I hope to teach middle school students in an international school or go to a law school to study music or education laws. 

What have you enjoyed most about the live shows you’ve been involved in at Berklee?

I have done a couple performances, and I think I enjoy the community surrounding it. Whenever I performed, my friends and classmates would come to support and I would do the same with them. It always just created a positive and supportive environment. 

Where do you hope to perform this coming year?

I am thinking of joining a club called Berklee KSCA to promote Korean culture at Berklee. I am also thinking of signing up again for the Classical Coalition Club’s events. 

Your social media channel/web URL?

Instagram: @kangnakyung__

Youtube:Nakyung's Youtube