Ringo Starr gets honorary degree from Boston music school

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. doctorate / ˈdɒk tər ɪt / (n.) – the highest university degree

    After finishing her master’s degree, she wants to proceed with her doctorate.

  2. commencement / kəˈmɛns mənt / (n.) – a ceremony in which students receive their degrees or diplomas

    The speaker for this year’s commencement is also a graduate of this university.

  3. arrange / əˈreɪndʒ / (v.) – to change a song or music so that it can be performed in a different way

    He arranged jazz versions of his favorite singer’s songs.

  4. pick up (something) / pɪk ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to learn something, such as a skill, without so much effort and in an informal way

    She picked up Italian language from her year-long stay in Italy.

  5. percussion / pərˈkʌʃ ən / (n.) – instruments played by hitting and shaking

    His favorite percussion instrument is the drums.


Read the text below.

Ringo Starr finally made it to Boston on Thursday, June 2, to receive his honorary degree from the Berklee College of Music.

The school originally announced that The Beatles drummer would receive a doctorate in music at commencement ceremonies in May, but Starr was unable to attend then and instead addressed the graduating class in a recorded statement.

But with Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band in town for a show, the school held a special ceremony to honor his lifelong contributions to the music scene that featured performances of Starr’s hit songs, arranged and performed by Berklee students.

Starr, 81, told the story of how he picked up drumming when he was 13 and very ill and someone brought some percussion instruments to the hospital to keep him busy. He was hooked.

“I just wanted to be a drummer from that moment on,” he said at Thursday’s ceremony. “It was my big dream and it’s still unfolding. I get to play with great guys, like the band here. It’s just a great life I lead.”

Gregg Bissonette, the drummer in the All Starr Band, and Berklee President Erica Muhl provided opening remarks.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Ringo Starr received an honorary degree for his lifelong contributions to the music scene. Do you agree that a pop star like Starr should receive an honorary degree? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If you can give an honorary degree to a Japanese musician, who would you choose? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Starr picked up drumming when he was 13 and wanted to be a drummer from that moment on. What is something that you wanted the moment you knew about it or experienced it? Discuss.
  • Starr knew as young as 13 what he wanted to do in life, while others discover what they want when they are older. Do you think it’s okay to pursue a dream late in life? Why or why not? Discuss.