16/9/2016 (Spanish date)
Please enjoy this musical playlist of cues I wrote at Berklee while you read this week’s blog. It is recommended that you use higher quality speakers so you can hear the effort that went into crafting the low end of these tracks:
This week, Week 6, I completed my last week of school at the Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain. It was stressful finishing the final projects, but it was overall a rewarding experience. I wrote cues for Far Cry 4 and How To Train Your Dragon.
Last summer, I attended the Palomar Film Music Workshop in San Diego, California, where I made many great new friends and learned where to begin with film scoring. One of my good friends from that trip, Jordyn Davis, was in Europe at the same as me this summer, so she came over to Valencia to end her study abroad trip before heading back to Michigan about two weeks ago. I took her on a tour of campus here at Berklee, and then we enjoyed dinner and reminisced our wonderful memories of last summer at PFMW. It was great to have Jordyn visit, and she gave me some great travel advice that I wish I would have known much sooner.
With this in mind, here are Tyler’s Travel Tips for when you go abroad next time:
1) When traveling in Europe, take your time and go with the flow. Ask questions if you need help. Don’t get mad or embarrassed when that person doesn’t speak English. Just move on until you find what you need. Understand that each airport and train/bus station may ask you for different things. Be prepared to provide ID’s, passports, tickets, and remove all laptops and iPads from bags when going through security.
2) Be prepared to get pushed. It is common to push your way through crowds to get where you need to go. If someone pushes you over, it is not personal: it is just common for the region. Be able to hold yourself and don’t let all the touching get to you. I’ve had strangers lean on me in line for food while they were deciding what to order like I was a wall.
3) Be direct with what you want. Americans tend to saying things like “Do you think that I could possibly have ____” whereas in Europe you can just say “I want ___”, and it is not considered rude.
4) Learn how to say “Do you speak english?” and “I need help” in the language of the places you visit in addition to other important words like hotel, food, and taxi.
5) Download MyTaxi app on your phone. (Tip courtesy of Jordyn Davis) Apparently it’s the European version of Uber and will take you where you need to go and you can pay with a credit card. This is handy if you would have trouble speaking with a taxi driver because the app tells the driver where to take you.
6) Bus drivers tend to be more or less on time, but they won’t wait for you. Also, if you’re at the stop, you still have to wave them down to stop. If you’re just sitting there, they may drive on by. Be prepared to pay or scan your card quickly.
7) Turns out it’s illegal in Spain for foreigners to not have their passports on them at all time. We found that out when we stayed at a Hostel and the man working the reception desk told us if we couldn’t show him our passports, he would have to call the police to take us to jail.
8) Look ahead at the potential weather and pack light and smart.
Last Sunday, some friends of mine and I traveled to Madrid, the capitol of Spain. We took a bus for 4 hours from Valencia. Once there, we toured west/central Madrid around the Gran Via, where our hostal was. Gran Via is like the Broadway of Madrid. We saw the Royal Palace and some monuments and tried to see The Lion King live show, but it was sold out. Instead, we got to see the St. Petersburg Ballet perform Swan Lake. Later, we met up with Claudia, a friend from Berklee session 1 who lives in Madrid, and we enjoyed dinner and drinks on Gran Via. It was a fun short trip!
I’d like to share with you some final thoughts on the program here in Valencia, Spain. During my 2 sessions, I took 4 grueling courses, 3 of which were on film music and 1 that covered video game music. I learned many useful skills that will hopefully help me get more job opportunities in the future. Some of those skills were unexpected, such as working efficiently under extreme pressure, eating less (not overindulging) in order to work more , and keeping a positive attitude in the midst of adversity. I also was able to work on leadership, planning, teamwork, foreign language, and people skills everyday abroad. I’ve never been pushed so hard to do something that I love, and I’m pleased with everything I personally got out of the program. I will miss my new friends from the film scoring group Dani, Miguel, Stephanie, Adam, Emily, Simon, and Sydney and all the other great people from around the world that I met at Berklee. I’m going to miss my incredible professors Alfons, Vanessa, Lucio, Sergio, and Fabien. I’m not going to miss my cot at the dorm, though!
Of everything in Spain, what will I bring back to ‘Merica? I’m really not sure what will stick with me. I’ve enjoyed using military time which is 00:00-24:00. I never accidentally set my alarm for 8:00pm instead of 8:00am when using military time. I now enjoy walking because I’ve had to so much while in Valencia. I also realize how crucial my cup of coffee is in the morning. I’ve come to enjoy wearing sandals and living in beach weather everyday, but I realize that probably won’t happen in Indiana.
I’m really glad to be coming back to America. I like my personal space, I like my bed, my friends and family, and my home studio. European people, I have found, don’t mind sharing space so most days I play bumper-people (think bumper cars) to get to class. It’s not bad, just different! You have to be able to hold yourself stronger to get around in crowded areas in Europe than you do in the States. So coming home will be easier in that sense. I love cooking and will be able to do that again. My diet here has consisted of bread, pan (bread), and rice. I like to cook and eat meat. As my friend Simon says, “Man need meat!”
I’d like to especially thank my girlfriend, Erin, for being so understanding of and believing in me enough to allow me to be gone for eight weeks straight (sorry!) and my parents for their support in this journey as well. I’d like to give a shoutout to my brother, Daniel, who will begin a new phase of life in Japan in August. You will have so much fun!
Thanks for reading my blog in these past weeks! I hope you have enjoyed learning about my experience, and I hope it helps you if you decide to travel in the future. Peace out.
Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus
6 Week Summer Study Abroad
Film and Video Game Scoring Program