Successful Berklee Alumni #145: Lucy Patterson

Lucy Patterson


Listen to the interview (approx. 31 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2017 with a major in Film Scoring.  Principal instrument:  voice.


Position:  Technical Recruiter at Elevano, a small technology staffing company based in Orange County, California, that specializes in finding computer programmers with the right skill sets to fill open positions at companies.  Recruiters receive territories and programming languages to focus on:  Lucy’s are the San Francisco Bay Area, and Java/Javascript.  She finds new developers, touches base with the ones she knows in case they want a new opportunity, and also sees if corporations are interested in working with Elevano.

Overview:  Lucy made money as a waitress while a Berklee student.  After finishing Berklee in August, 2017, Lucy moved home with her parents.  She waited tables while looking for film scoring work.  An advertising agency she had been working with sent her some projects, but not nearly enough to support herself, and she wasn’t interested in doing a long, unpaid internship   So by the end of the year Lucy had created a profile on Indeed, looking for marketing jobs.  Almost immediately after making that profile her boss now-boss reached out to her with an opportunity to work at Elevano.  “It was very bizarre to get recruited, but my boss was looking for something particular. He liked servers because we’re fast & determined. I also had a high GPA. he found Berklee interesting.”


You can see Lucy’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “I didn’t have a background in recruiting, but my boss hired me because he saw I had the personality to do this job. I’m determined and like winning–I’m the type to go after something and not stop until I get it.  That’s why this is a good job for me and I enjoy it.”

“Technical recruiting is a happy mix of sales and marketing. Like sales, you have to turn your head and get to the next thing and not waste time dwelling on something you can’t effect.”

“Training at Elevano is you start doing your job and they watch and follow you through the entire process and will tell if you if you’re doing it wrong. I was happy to jump in and do it that way–I got better fast.”

“My first day at the job I felt totally in over my head with all the lingo and technical terms everyone was using where I had no idea, but you learn by hearing it. It”s like speaking a language. I caugth on pretty quickly.”

“I graduated Berklee early and the film-scoring major isn’t a piece of cake. I didn’t know much about music theory and had to catch up really fast.  At Berklee I’d watch those who are the most successful and see what they’re doing differently and I’d try to do the same thing. I’ve done that in my job: being persistent, being determined, working hard and that would lead to being successful.”

“Of course we all have a passion and a love for music. If you’re thinking about a non-music career, don’t let that passion for music completely disappear. Keep it going, even if it’s just keep singing in the shower. I don’t have guitar calluses on my fingers, but I take any freelance scoring gig that comes along.  Even when I’m not doing a paying gig, I write music for fun so as to not get rusty.”



See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Presentation #5: Berklee Alumni: What Berklee Did Well & Advice

This presentation, similar to #4c, is being given fall, 2018 to multiple sections of the Career Development Seminar (LHUM-400).  It features many direct quotes about what Berklee is doing well to prepare folks for careers outside of music, as well as advice which these folks have for current students.  The presentation also summarizes data about careers and career paths.

In addition to updated data,  a direct student quotes is used in each of two other sections (how their music careers related to their current ones and their current relationship with music.

Download the Presentation.

Data from everyone class of 2005 or later interviewed in 2015 – Sep. 18 was tabulated and used: interviews #1 – 151, except for #7.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #144: Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin

Photo by Kelly Elaine Photo


Listen to the interview (approx. 56 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2011 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Musical Theater.


Position:  Interior Designer, the sole proprietor of her own Interior Design company, Kelly Martin Interiors.  Her company focuses on design for residences, middle to high-end, doing jobs ranging from full houses down to a single large bookcase.  While most work is done locally in L.A., the business also has an E-design component.  “She’s also launched an E-design part of the business , “All I need are dimensions and photos of the space and I can design for anywhere!  I’ve got clients in Boston, New York, Pennsylvania, and even someone in Pakistan.”  As a sole-proprietor, she handles all the administrative parts of the job as well as the creative aspects.


Overview:  Kelly’s family were bit Do-It-Yourselfers, and she became handy with tools while still a kid.  She also started performing at a young age, but by the time she was finishing up at BoCo she suspected she wanted a different career.  But she signed with an agent and went to New York after graduation.  Seven frustrating months later, she left New York and moved to L.A. where her then-boyfriend was living.  She worked many odd jobs during the first few months, then her skill with tools led to her spending a year working for a design build company, constructing high-end showroom sets.  It paid well, but was part time with variable hours.  A friend of a friend then got her a job as a production assistant for a home decorating TV show.  While working there, the show’s designer noticed that Kelly was good at design work, and she became his de facto assistant.  By the fall of 2012, the designer offered to set Kelly up with a job in either carpentry or interior design–she chose interior design.  One phone call, and she had a part-time job as a designer’s assistant.

Over the next few years, Kelly worked a series of interior design assistant jobs, mostly full time, at both large and small firms, getting great experience.  In 2014 she started Kelly Martin Interiors as a side thing while still working full-time, not sure if anything would come of it, but gradually she built up her reputation and clientele, so by late 2016 she was able to stop working for others and be on her own full-time.


You can see Kelly’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:    “Being self-employed, I get to make the decisions and don’t have to answer anyone else (With clients a collaboration, not someone telling me what to do).   Plus working on your own is how you make decent money in this field.  I do an hourly rate plus a commission on the goods I sell when I furnish a place.”

“After everything (furniture, etc.) is ordered it becomes a project management position and just making sure it all flows smoothly. I hate to say it, but my job is roughly 30% creative and 70% business.”

BoCo was really good at getting us to dip our toes in all aspects of musical theater:  performance, but also directing, production, and management, plus performance.  When I put together a show it was all about how it looked and she started to realize how I’m a very visual person.”

“I get most clients through word-of-mouth, but others find me through social media– mostly Instagram–plus some specialty design websites.”

“If you want to work in interior design, figure out a way to get a job in the field in some capacity, whether as a salesperson or an assistant or even doing receptionist/admin. work. Learn the ins and outs of the industry from whatever job you can get.  The design industry is forever growing and changing and there are always opportunities to move up.”



Kelly working on a project (photo by Meghan Bob Photography).  “I love the hands-on nature of my job. Even at BoCo I’d take classes at the MFA museum school, painting and art. I like getting my hands dirty. I’ve done carpentry and woodworking, and love watching the construction. It’s really cool to formulate an idea then, work with people to see it come to life.”



See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni

Successful Berklee Alumni #143: Dylan Nelson

Dylan Nelson


Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 2 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Production & Engineering.  Principal instrument:  guitar.


Position:  Territory Manager (Sales).  Dylan works for an insurance company where he sells franchises.  He reaches out to people, typically those who work in the industry, in his geographical territory and encourages them to invest their time and money to open a franchise affiliated with this company.  There’s a base salary, but most of his pay is commission and bonus-based.

Overview:  While at Berklee, Dylan really wanted to work at a specific high-end rock studio in L.A., figuring he’d start as a runner and work his way up.  He did exactly that after graduation, getting a job there and becoming a de-facto assistant engineer after a year and a half.  However, he continued to be paid minimum wage and gradually grew to hate the long and unpredictable hours, feeling he had no life outside the studio.  One day in late 2016 Dylan was relaxing at the beach with friends and he got a call to come in right away to work with a famous rap artist and he expressed his unhappiness to his friends, who suggested that if engineering for a super-famous rap artist wasn’t making him happy, maybe he should find another career.

Dylan considered different options, and decided that sales was the best path toward what he wanted–he had family in sales and knew that it could provide excellent income.  Being from Texas and aware that it was booming economically, he searched online for sales jobs there.  Dylan found his current company and convinced them to give him a chance; he moved out there and started working at his current job in the spring of 2017.


Choice Quotes:  “I like the feeling of success when you finally make that sale that you’ve been working really hard at and you see it come to fruition and it’s really rewarding. A lot of the people I work with are middle-aged and have kids and it’s rewarding to help them put their life in a better position. Also the money is good–I got out of music because I wanted to be financially comfortable, buy a house, have a retirement, etc.”

“Even in the studio I was always very buttoned up and professional. There were no bad habits to unlearn.   But I was still surprised very quickly how hard/stressful sales could be. You make a lot of money in sales, but you’re working really hard. It’s a skill which you can have or not, but he equalizer is hard work.”

“When I left the studio for the job, every single person at work and all my acquaintances thought I was crazy–the looks some people gave me!  But my closest friends were like ‘Dude, do it.'”.

“At Berklee I got to interact with many different people–all the international students and those with different backgrounds. You get out of the box of your hometown and see the world through other people’s eyes, which in sales is an experience worth its weight in gold.”

“When interviewing for this job, I sold myself by saying, ‘When I was in the studio working on projects I was working with egotistical whack-jobs doing the most important project in their life. Being in a windowless small room with these people you learn a lot about relating and working with people. Selling franchises is the same thing. I’ve got to help them through this hugely important process without stepping on their toes. It’s a jump, but I want to win and I’m ready to start making some money.'”



See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #142: Michael Ranieri

Michael Ranieri


Listen to the interview (approx. 49 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Business.  Principal Instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Registered Nurse in the acute psychiatric care wing of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, a community hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts which treats many different medical conditions.  Here’s the primary contact person for 7 patients, who typically are there for less than two weeks.  He does a medical status assessment on each patient, “charts” their progress (enterins the data) and makes sure each patient is OK and takes whatever medicine is needed.  He’ll also suggest treatment options to the doctor or team.  He’s currently working part time (24 hours/week), but the pay is good.   He could work more hours if he wanted to, but has a small child at the moment.

Overview:  After finishing Berklee at the end of 2010, Michael moved home (Connecticut) after graduation, and sold guitars at Sam Ashe while teaching guitar a bit on the side.  In the fall of 2011, though a temp. agency he got a job as a substitute teacher in the public elementary schools.  Michael wanted to profession in which he helped people.  He considered getting his M.Ed. and becoming a classroom teacher, but noticed that it was hard to get a job and was scared of ending up unemployed.  Many members of his family, including his then-girlfriend (now wife) worked in medicine, and that seemed like a safe way to earn a good income, so in the fall of 2012 he started taking prerequisites to go to Nursing school.  His wife finished Optometry school and got a job in  Northamption, so they moved up there in the fall of 2013.  Paperwork issues delayed his enrollment in nursing school for a year, but he was able to spend the year working at a special ed. teacher’s assistant, experience which proved relevant to his current job.

September 2014 Michael entered the Accelerated Second Bachelors Degree in Nursing program at Elms College.   He got good grades, and graduating in the spring of 2016, got his license in July, and started looking for hospital-based jobs, sending out over 100 applications.  Finally in November, his third interview led to a job at Cooley Dickinson hospital, working the night shift in the medical/surgical unit.  Michael liked his job, but really didn’t like working nights as he rarely saw his then-pregnant wife, so when a daytime position opened up in the psychiatric wing he took it.


You can see Michael’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:

“As a psychiatric nurse you get to know the patients on a very deep, personal level often. They share their deepest, darkest secrets–abuse, trauma history. Often the people are readmitted.  It’s often a chronic thing, like diabetes, you’re just trying to keep the symptoms under control and help people live with it.”

“I really like the interactions with patients and my colleagues. This is huge: I get along really well with your bosses–that’s important anywhere no matter where you work. I also really like psychopharmacology, learning about the medications and how they work.”

“Those first few weeks as a nurse are hard. You learn knowledge at school,and you need it, but then you do it and you feel a lot of pressure and no school was enough preparation.”You learn to grow up and be independent very quickly!”

“You always have options–don’t feel that your Berklee degree limits what you can do. Just the name “Berklee” will help you stand out — it definitely helped me as I was applying to nursing jobs.


Michael as a Berklee student.  “To be a good musician you have to be disciplined–same as being a good nurse or student. It took real commitment to finish Berklee’s program, and similar commitment to do a nursing program.”

“I still practice to keep my chops up. Music is ingrained in me, but these days it’s more a hobby than anything else.”





 Michael with his son and “Santa.”  “If you want to continually learn and grow as a person, the medical field is great!  Nursing is a good career choice because you don’t have to go back to school for 8 years–you can do it as an adult learner.”





See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.