All students at Berklee College of Music enter with a principal instrument.

No matter what major you end up pursuing, you will complete at least four semesters of private instruction, labs, and ensembles with this instrument. This fulfills your performance core requirement.

Our String Department includes:

  • acoustic strings,*
  • banjo,
  • cello,
  • mandolin,
  • harp,
  • viola, and
  • violin.

*We encourage qualified students whose principal instruments are not listed here to audition as an "acoustic string" principal. This category allows us to accept talented string students from a variety of musical traditions outside of the Western classical orchestra tradition. In recent years, acoustic string principals have included students whose primary instruments are cuatro, guzheng, kemancheh, oud, qanun, tamburica, tar, ukulele, and other string instruments.

Note that Berklee has separate departments and programs for guitar and bass.


A Method and a Mindset

No matter what style you pursue as a string player, you'll find faculty in the Berklee String Department who have deep knowledge and professional experience in the idiom. From working with players from the Boston Symphony Orchestra to devising a jazz curriculum for the harp, you'll learn how to bring your skills to professional levels. With individualized instruction in violin, viola, cello, harp, banjo, and mandolin, you'll gain the versatility and tools you need to follow your creative vision to career success.

Alumni Story

Kishi Bashi

Kishi Bashi '99 is a multitalented musician whose years at Berklee infused his music with cinematic lushness. He composes on violin, and sings and writes songs blending Japanese and English, and his performances include guitar, keyboard, vocal looping, and beatboxing. His solo albums, 151a and Lighght, demonstrated his versatility. On 2016's Sonderlust, he continued to showcase his talent, with NPR’s All Music Considered, descirbing the album as a rapturous mix of '70s soft rock, disco, and synth pop.

Student Spotlight

String Students Play with Lucius and Others at Newport Folk Festival

Berklee Instant Strings performed at Newport Folk Festival 2018 with This Is the Kit, Lucius, and Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam. 

Program Details