EUGENE, Ore.—Lane Community College guitar and piano student Robert Tufts will transfer this fall to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., to pursue a bachelor's degree in professional music.
Music faculty at LCC are very proud of Tufts’ commitment and accomplishments. Instructor Hisao Watanabe says Berklee is a highly reputable college for both commercial music and the field of jazz. Hundreds of its graduates have won Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Emmy awards. Watanabe believes that Berklee’s musically challenging and rich environment will contribute to Turts’ further growth as a musician and propel him to the next level of his professional career.
“Berklee was in my sights since before I started LCC,” says Tufts. “Some of their notable alumni are my favorite musicians.”
Tufts loved music all his life and was struck with inspiration while in middle school. “I had a friend who owned a guitar and was taking lessons. The fact that he was able to play Led Zeppelin songs really blew me away.”Tufts saved up and bought his first guitar soon after.
Life was not necessarily easy, however. Tufts left Sheldon High before completing his diploma but he later obtained his GED taking classes at Lane and the Khan Academy.
He enrolled at Lane in 2018 and found what he needed. “The faculty have given me inspiration and insight on pursuing my dreams and they have kept me motivated,” says Tufts. Without the training and education he received at Lane, “I would not be the musician that I am today.”
Tufts credits Lane’s jazz and sight reading and ear training classes for training him how to improvise, sight read, learn by ear,identify musical structures, and write down what he hears. These skills helped him perform well in his audition for admission to Berklee.
Tufts credits many music faculty at Lane for helping him succeed, including Hung-yun Chu, Hisao Watanabe, Olem Alves, Ron Bertucci, Seth Mulvihill, Steve Sharp, Matt Svoboda, and Doug Doerfert. “They each helped me in their own way,” he says. “Olem taught me everything I know about jazz,”and “every class with Hisao is an adventure.” He says Doerfert’s big band class “has been the highlight of my time at Lane.”
Tufts has a word of advice for other students.“Do the things that scare you the most. That’s where personal growth happens.”
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Lane Community College educates over 25,000 students annually at six locations across Lane County and online. Students and alumni from all 50 states and 79 countries create more than an $850 million dollar impact on the local economy, helping to support more than 13,000 local jobs. Lane provides affordable, quality, professional technical and college transfer programs; business development and employee training; academic, language and life skills development; and lifelong personal development and enrichment courses.