Studying Guitar at Berklee

At Berklee, students develop the necessary skills for success on our instrument and in the modern music industry. Our faculty are experts in a wide spectrum of styles, and students are encouraged to specialize and branch out as they create their personal sound. 

In all instruction, the Guitar Department emphasizes a solid foundation in instrumental knowledge: tone production, technique, scales, harmony, reading, improvisation, interpretation, rhythmic phrasing, groove, repertoire, and performance practice.

Coursework, Instrumental Labs, and Ensembles

The courses at Berklee are frequently updated to reflect the current musical landscape.

Guitar labs focus on specific styles and approaches to the instrument in the format of small-group lessons. Guitar ensembles explore a wide variety of genres and include performance opportunities at the end of each semester. Our faculty create the curriculum for these courses based on their professional experience.

Labs and ensembles are required as part of the performance core curriculum and for many of the majors. Each semester, our department offers over 100 choices for specific topics.


Ensembles at Berklee, offered through the Ensemble Department, provide students with the opportunity to work with other instrumentalists.

Through ensemble study, students will:

  • broaden their experience in diverse genres, 
  • expand their network of colleagues,
  • develop effective rehearsal techniques,
  • expand repertoire,
  • learn time management for learning new music,
  • explore arranging techniques,
  • strengthen in their role as a rhythm section player, and 
  • develop group playing experience.  

Ensembles are leveled courses that are offered in hundreds of sections that each focus on a specific style or approach. Students may choose these ensembles based on their ensemble ratings, which are assessed during placement auditions. These ensemble auditions are required upon entrance to the college and are offered for optional retakes each semester at midterms and finals.


Private instruction is central to your Berklee education. Our guitar faculty are experienced professional musicians and dedicated educators. Berklee has the largest guitar faculty in the world and includes all styles. Students may decide to study with one teacher or change teachers and styles as often as they choose. View a list of guitar faculty.