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Music Schools Part 1 - GIT

Not that kind of article

OK, let me see... here are my replies and thoughts to the thread by Oakleaf. This is not an actual instructional article like the other ones I've written so far, it's a direct reply to these questions. I've put them into an article though, because I think a lot of people might be interested in reading about this stuff.

I am going to give you my perspective on attending a music school... in my case, the Musician's Institute in North Hollywood / CA, which I attended in the mid 90s. I am going to respond to the points and questions that some of the members have raised in that thread. I might not comment on every single one of them, but I guess that's ok... it's been a while since I was there and quite a few things will have changed since then, no doubt.

So I don't really wanna comment on the pricing etc. I will mention how to get that kinda information though.

Last week, I talked to one of the MI representatives, and he told me how much things had actually have changed... a new building, lotsa changes to the courses themselves and to the faculty etc.

Before I start though, more information on the MI can be found at their website: Click here You can find information about the programs there, about pricing, living in North Hollywood, the faculty of the MI etc.

You can also order (or download) a free catalogue (you'll get that by snail-mail) with more info, plus you'll have a chance to get in touch with the MI administration or one of the MI representatives. They will be able to give you detailed information on current prices, the different programs, requirements, etc.

So if you are interested, use these resources.

Oakleaf originally asked about Berklee, but Guni suggested that it would be cool to hear about other schools, too. So here are my thoughts about my time at the GIT a few years after graduating.

Why go to a musical school as opposed to just going out and playing guitar?

Well, I always wanted to be a good player, and I also wanted to educate myself as much as possible about the background... theory etc. Mind you, back then, there was no internet really, so that was not an option.

The first lessons I took were at a small music school. I was taught some of the basic chords, like Am, C, D etc. No one ever properly explained to me why an Aminor is a minor chord and an A major chord is a major chord.

That bothered me. My influences were guys like Satriani, Vai, Gilbert… players who knew a lot about theory, they kinda "made it cool" to know about theory. And they created some interesting music with it.

So, I wanted to go to a good school. I then heard about the GIT. The list of graduates was impressive... Paul Gilbert, Abi von Reininghaus, Brett Garsed, Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson, John Frusciante, Todd Duane, Jimmy Herring, Jennifer Batten, George Lynch (who used to take a few classes when he already was among the most popular rock players, back in the late 80s, early 90s) amo.

The list of faculty members was also impressive. Throughout the years, a lot of amazing players (both famous and not-so-famous-but-still-very-unique):
Howard Roberts, Joe Diorio, Don Mock, Paul Gilbert, Jennifer Batten, Joy Basu, Brett Garsed, Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson, Dan Gilbert, TJ Helmerich, Ross Bolton, and in 2003, George Lynch and Carl Verheyen joined the faculty as well! (And I don't even wanna start to list the artists who played concerts and workshops at the school... way too many... enough of the name-dropping already, anyway)

Paul Gilbert was one of my main influences even back then, and I was like "Hey, I wanna go to that school" - especially after I read that one of the main purposes of the school is to prepare you for being a professional musician. Instead of teaching you all abstract theory stuff, they prepare you for jobs like session-player, "hired gun" etc.

I always enjoyed playing all kinds of different styles, and the idea of going to a school where I could learn about all these different styles appealed to me big time.

Playing the guitar was always fun to me, but I also thought "If I wanna earn a living with this, doing all kinds of jobs, I'd better become a versatile player, broaden my horizons etc."

So the GIT seemed to be a good choice. You get to do a lot of things other than just learning plain theory... you have to play quite a lot, and pretty much everything is related to stuff you can use in real life... things you need as a working musician, as opposed to studying millions of exotic scales etc.

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