Up Close: Berklee Online


Global Extension of Famed Music School: Founded in 1945, Boston-based Berklee College of Music is the largest private music institution in the world. To date, Berklee alumni have received over 400 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards. Since 2002, Berklee Online has provided more than 75,000 students from 144 countries the renowned curriculum of Berklee College of Music. Every online student is assigned a Berklee-trained Academic Advisor. Berklee Online’s award-winning online courses, multi-course certificate programs, Bachelor’s degree programs and Master’s degree programs, are accredited and taught by the college’s world-renowned faculty, providing learning opportunities to those interested in music and working in the industry. Former students include members of Nine Inch Nails, Dave Matthews Band, Karmin, Sugarland, Train and many more. 

In-Depth With Songwriting Instructor Andrea Stolpe: In 2020, 22 years after graduating from brick and mortar Berklee College of Music, Andrea Stolpe won the Berklee Online Exemplary Faculty Award. The multi-platinum songwriter, performing artist, author and educator, who has been a Berklee Online instructor for 17 years, has worked as a staff writer for EMI, Almo-Irving and Universal Music Publishing, and had songs recorded by Faith Hill, Jimmy Wayne, Julianne Hough and others.

While working as a songwriter in Nashville, and even before scoring her first cut, Stolpe’s former teacher and mentor, legendary instructor Pat Pattison, offered Stolpe the opportunity to teach his course: “Lyric Writing Tools and Strategies.” Over the years, in addition to designing and teaching her own course, “Commercial Songwriting Techniques” (from which she developed her groundbreaking book, Popular Lyric  Writing: 10 Steps to Effective Storytelling), she has also taught songwriting workshop courses in melody and harmony (created by another of her former instructors, Jimmy Kachulis).

Currently, in addition to “Commercial Songwriting Techniques,” Stolpe teaches “Writing from the Title” and “Writing Lyrics to Music.” Over the years, she has graded/responded to over 103,000 student assignments and estimates that she has taught over 15,000 songwriting students.

New Master’s in Songwriting: This June, Berklee Online is launching a Master of Arts Program in Songwriting, which Stolpe describes as a “project-focused master’s degree,” and “a safe space in which to build a network.” Its goal is to have students produce a body of work that prepares them for commercial positions in the industry. Enrolled students can choose their career focus––including Songwriter/Producer, Sync and Licensing, Vocal Arranging and Songwriting for Musical Theater. By the end of the program, students will have written a portfolio of songs that reflect their creative goals. They will focus on collaboration and production in support of their artistic perspective in the market.

Andrea Stolpe: “During non-pandemic times, two obvious advantages of Berklee Online are avoiding the financial pressure of living in Boston and having significant one-on-one weekly time with instructors. The courses are structured to enable peer and instructor feedback several times a week, rather than the brick-and-mortar once-weekly format. It’s quite intensive and we’re always available. Great writers are connected to their instincts, starting out with inspiration and creating a direct line to those instincts, which gets our thinking brain involved with the heart.”

Contact Berklee Online, 1-866-BERKLEE (237-5533)   

Download a FREE Songwriting Handbook from Berklee Online: welcome.online.berklee.edu/general-download-berklee-online-songwriting-handbook.html