Harvard Artist Lookout: Emily Spector

Many of us have dreamt of being president, an astronaut, or a rock star when we were young, but not all of us are brave enough to keep our childhood dreams.  However, Emily Spector, a freshman at Harvard College and Berklee College of Music, is bold enough. She’s known she’s wanted to be a rock musician since first grade, and now she’s pursuing her dreams with full force.

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Emily – a classically trained violinist, rock and punk singer, guitarist, and pianist – came to Cambridge from New York, where she kicked off her music career. In November of 2016, she had her first big, public performance, which was an album release show at Stage 72 for her album called Departed Qualities. “It was the sickest thing ever,” she reminisces, smiling from ear to ear.

Now, Emily is taking her next set of big steps towards chasing her biggest dream: to be a touring musician, going from city to city. For the next five years, Cambridge will be home for the New York native who is enrolled in the five-year dual-degree program offered by Harvard College and Berklee College. When she graduates, she will have a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College and a Master of Music from Berklee.

While Emily has been passionate about being a rock musician for a very long time, she never had her sights set on Harvard. In fact, the college application process was very stressful because there were few programs that offered what Emily wanted: a liberal arts education and rock/punk education. “No one really teaches rock. It’s so new.”

Luckily, Emily found the dual degree program at Harvard and Berklee in time to apply. Now that she is here, she describes the music departments at both schools as very different yet complementary. Emily has a bright future ahead of her, because of both her outstanding talent and her fearless optimism. She says, with great excitement, “This dual degree program is a dream come true.”

The dual-degree program is designed for artists who desire both to develop their musical talents and skills on top of liberal arts education. The application process involves applications to both Harvard and Berklee, which includes an audition and interview with Berklee. Through this program, Emily will become a better musician and more knowledgeable about music production and the industry. Simultaneously, she will gain the liberal arts education she desires and thus the perspective born from that educational background.\Users\andrea\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\_MG_4975.jpg

Before college, performing always felt pushed to the side, not prioritized. Now that music and performing has become  a priority, Emily is ultimately happy. “I just feel like the luckiest person alive. I really do.” After performing twice – at Harvard’s Freshman Talent Show and the Queen’s Head Pub – Emily looks forward to all her future time at both colleges for all that she will learn, create, and witness.


An earlier version of this article stated that Emily Spector would be receiving a "Master of Arts" from Berkless, but she will actually be receiving a Master of Music. The correction was made on October 2nd.