Andrew Bussiere

I first looked at GCC as a second chance. After a tough first year at UMASS Amherst studying wildlife conservation I came to GCC with the intent to take a few math courses and going back to UMASS. I ended up staying for a few years.

I was a lost student, unsure of my future with no interest in planning out a life. I didn’t feel at home until I got involved with music. GCC’s music department was unlike anything I had experienced before. Unique curricula, small classes, engaged students, and caring teachers made playing, living, and learning music an absolute pleasure. It sparked a passion for music I had ignored since high school.

Classes like Tonal Harmony and Ear Training gave me a foundation to build my own musical vocabulary. Private lessons and courses like Creative Musicianship gave me the tools to communicate. And Jazz, Rock, and World Music Ensembles gave me an outlet. The GCC Music Department wasn’t just a jam band and it wasn’t a classical conservatory. GCC is where I leaned to treat my body and voice as an instrument in itself. It wasn’t just about instrumental proficiency or academic achievement. It was for me a holistic approach to music: more self-awareness and communication than scales and arpeggios. It was the tools I learned at GCC that lead me on my path to Berklee College of Music and beyond.

I’ve spent 3 years at Berklee College of Music studying Jazz Composition, something I could not and did not foresee before enrolling in my first harmony class at GCC. Berklee is a tough place. Classes are demanding as professional expectations ooze into your subconscious. No matter your level of musicianship, or confidence in your abilities every time you turn a corner you discover another world-class musician ripping apart a jazz standard you thought you knew. It’s an easy place to become overwhelmed and disappointed (a phenomenon that seems to happen to everyone at the end of every semester.) The abilities GCC instilled in me, the foundational tools that the music department is built on are what’s kept me moving forward at Berklee.


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