Southern Oregon Univeristy Joel Henigson has learned to play guitar from many of the area's finest. Now he plans to take his talents across country in the fall.

Henigson first began playing the guitar at the age of eight. At first, he studied the instrument under the instruction of Dave Marston, the director of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir. Over the years since then Henigson, now 18, has studied blues guitar with Michael "Hawkeye" Herman, classical guitar with Tom Redik, and electric guitar with Jeff Ebnother.

Guns N' Roses, ACDC, Aerosmith, and Dire Straights are some of Henigson's favorite bands and influences, and he enjoys playing rock and classical rock more than anything. He also has a collection of five guitars &

three electric and two acoustic &

and writes his own songs.

"It was pretty much from the time that I first stared taking guitar lessons that I knew this was what I wanted to do in my life," said Henigson of his longtime dream to play guitar and write music.

Henigson received his GED from Rogue Community College at the age of 16, after being home-schooled and attending Willow Wind Learning Center for middle school. For the last two years, he has been a full-time student at Southern Oregon University, studying in its music department. But after just one year of studying classical music, Henigson believed was ready to begin learning more about the contemporary music that he writes and plays. He became interested in Berklee College of Music because of its reputation for being a respected contemporary music school, and also because of it's location in Boston.

"Boston is a really great location, I really liked it," said Henigson. "I have always wanted to live in a big city because of the music connections and the amount of musicians to play with."

In the summer of 2005, Henigson attended one of Berklee's summer music camps in Los Angeles, and was very impressed with the staff and teachers that ran the program. So, in November of 2006, he auditioned for the school. The audition consisted of a performance (Henigson chose to perform the guitar instrumental piece "YYZ" by Rush), a play-back exercise (where Henigson had to repeat what he heard), a music sight-reading exercise, and an interview with faculty members.

In April, almost six months after his audition, Berklee congratulated Henigson on his admission to their school. The school, which has a yearly cost of close to $40,000, also awarded Henigson with a $7,000 song-writing scholarship for his original work entitled, "Rescue Me."