Lynn’s bassist gets full scholarship to Berklee College
Isabella Pavei will attend Berklee College of Music for free after securing a full scholarship to the prestigious school.
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LYNN – When Isabella Pavei started playing bass guitar at age 11 for her church youth group, she thought it would be “boring, basic, like, hitting a note.” The Lynn resident had no idea that at university, bass would earn her a full four-year scholarship to one of the world’s most prestigious music schools, Berklee College of Music.
“To me, it’s like the backbone of every band in every song,” Pavei said recently. “Without the bass, there is no pump to music. It drives me crazy how awesome the bass is in every song, and I can point it out and describe it, and every music I’ve listened to, I can hear what I would play on a certain song on the bass.
Pavei, 18, is one of eight high school students who received the scholarship in a ceremony Aug. 10 through Berklee City Music, a Berklee nonprofit that works with young people in underserved communities.
“A very talented and very competitive pool of applicants,” Kasey Cox, head of enrollment and advice for the Berklee City Music program, said of the scholarship. “It’s a huge honor.”
The Berklee City Music Network provides high-quality contemporary music lessons at low cost or free to more than 50,000 students each year through 46 organizations in North America, Puerto Rico and Ecuador. The Boston branch of the network, Berklee City Music Boston, offers a five-week summer performance program called “Aspire,” the Berklee City Music Preparatory Academy for actors, dancers, musicians and versatile performers in grades 4 through 8. grade, and Berklee City Music High School Academy for Grades 9 to 12 students during the school year.
At High School Academy, which Pavei attended for three years in addition to studying at Boston Arts Academy, students study theory, take master classes, and ensemble classes. Most classes take place on weekdays between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. after school. Students play genres ranging from rock to jazz to R&B and participate in several concerts throughout the year.
“She was extremely talented in our program,” Cox said of Pavei. “She is very bright in addition to being a very talented musician.”
Pavei was part of several ensembles this year, including jazz and electronic ensembles, and took the theory course at the highest level.
Cox also described Pavei as someone who comes forward and supports others.
“I feel like (these are) two really great qualities for playing electric bass as well,” Cox said. “They kind of anchor the whole in a certain way.”
As a child, Pavei chose the music of his father, Ralfy Pavei, who always loved music and played it at home. He exposed Isabella to her very eclectic tastes, from rock ‘n’ roll to punk and heavy metal, from bossanova to country music.
Ralfy Pavei had an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar.
“I wanted to learn acoustic guitar because I wanted to play the music I listened to at home,” Isabella said.
She therefore learned a few chords on the acoustic guitar at the age of 8 from her father. “Then I started to learn things on my own and he just let me do my own thing. ”
When Isabella joined the church band, they already had two guitarists and a drummer, so Pavei had no choice but to play bass. She began taking private lessons from her pastor at church, then studied music at a Zumix, a youth music program in East Boston.
“I learned how important bass is and how fun it is,” said Pavei.
When choosing a high school, Pavei approached the decision thoughtfully. She looked around and weighed her options. She was accepted into the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School in Danvers, but computer science or the culinary arts never really caught on to her, as much as music.
“I made a firm decision to go to a performing arts high school to take music a step further and see if that was really what I wanted,” Pavei said.
She is accepted at the Boston Arts Academy, where her choice is quickly validated. At BAA, she discovered Berklee City Music Boston. She attended a summer program there in her first year and entered High School Academy in her second year.
“For me it’s like a dream,” said Ralfy Pavei of Isabella’s experiences with Berklee’s youth programs. “She was so happy to be able to participate in this program. She was living a dream, receiving all these teachers, learning all these things.
“Growing up in Brazil, we don’t have all of that. Musicians in Brazil are really in trouble. If you want to be average, no one is going to invest in you.
“It was like I was a student at Berkeley,” Isabella Pavei said of her experience. “Meet musicians from all over the world, see what musical life would be like in Berklee, play jam sessions until 11pm (or midnight).”
Pavei was told she would get the scholarship back in April.
“I was completely in shock,” she said. She didn’t believe the email at first and had to check with her advisor Kasey Cox. When Pavei ran to his mother to tell her the news, his mother believed someone had died from COVID-19 because so many negative things had happened everywhere during the pandemic. But, of course, she was happy to hear the news, kissed her daughter and cried.
To top the good news off, Pavei’s younger brother Mateo, who is now 12 years old and plays drums in their church, has also just been accepted into Berklee City Music Preparatory Academy.
At the moment, Pavei does not yet know where she wants to go with her music career. She would like to play and try to write and produce more music. She enjoys meeting new people and playing with different musicians.
“I want to see where my music takes me.”