Music Schools Part 1 - GIT
(19 Apr 04)
What do you get out of it?
See, I always tell people that today, you can get a lot of the information taught at those schools from other sources... the internet, books, videos, private teachers.
But what you can't get anywhere else is the ENVIRONMENT. For two years, I was doing nothing else but playing and learning. I was surrounded by amazing players (not only guitarists), I was taking lessons from amazing teachers (Henderson, Garsed, Dan Gilbert, Steve Trovato) on a regular basis, I saw some wonderful concerts and workshops, and I was able to play with some very talented guys.
I was doing nothing else apart but playing, practicing and learning. So I made a huge leap forward during that time, and I learned a lot of stuff that I use on a regular basis now: theory, the ability to play all kinds of different styles, the ability to teach, sight-reading etc.
Also, I have a huge pile of material that I haven't worked on much yet, which I can work on in the future. So for the future, I have plenty of stuff to practice and learn from.
I didn't lose that personal playing style I had before I went there (I had been playing for 8 years already when I attended the school), it was just more defined and versatile afterwards.
How much do you need to know about guitar to attend and not feel like you're doing hurdles in the Special Olympics? (Do you need to be a Satch or a Vai to attend?)
No you don't. Why would you want to go to a school if you're Vai already? Seriously, that's my standard answer to that question. I hear that question a lot! The requirements to get in there (regarding experience and abilities) aren't as high as you might think. You need some basic knowledge of theory (chords, scales etc.), playing experience etc. I dunno what the entry tests are like today, but you can figure that out.
Here's a quote from the current MI application . To apply you have send in the application plus a recording of yourself (tape or CD, your playing should be accompanied by a metronome or a drum machine)
- Play at least two scales and arpeggios of your choice
- Play at least 60 seconds of a rhythm groove in any style and any tempo
- Play 2 or 3 songs in any style that best represents your abilities
- Record your speaking voice with a short narrative telling us why you want to attend MI
A high school diploma or equivalent is also necessary to attend (unless you wanna sign up for the Encore program... check the MI website for further information.
Anyway, what I think you need more than abilities:
- A strong will to succeed. The school can offer you a huge amount of information and knowledge, you can learn so much. You need to be willing to work hard and invest a lot of time to use those resources efficiently.
- A general idea about what you wanna do later on. Why do you wanna attend a school? Why do you wanna go there?
If you i.e. say "I wanna be a hired gun, a sideman, touring with solo artists etc.", well, that's a good, well-defined goal, and you can focus on learning the skills you need for that. That's just one example: If you ie. sign up for a two-year-program, a lot of time in the first year will be dedicated to learning and understanding the very basics, you'll kinda "relearn" those. So even if you have some problems with basic theory etc, once you're signed up as a student, you'll be able to work on it.
Once you make it to the GIT, your skills and abilities will be considered, and you'll get some recommendations regarding what courses you should choose.
Beth Marlis once told me that even beginners are invited to sign up, the requirements are kept pretty low for those. Of course, as an absolute beginner, you won't be recommended to attend the same courses as someone else who already is a more experienced player.
So your abilities will be judged, and you'll be told what to work on based on that. It's a placement test. On your first day, there's another test just to make sure you actually know the things you're supposed to know. So no cheating on the entry-test ok?
For further information on pricing, legal things, rules and regulations etc., check out the downloadable catalogue: Right click and save as
Do I have to be an amazing sight reader to be able to pass?
Nope. That's another rumour. As mentioned before, if you're an amazing player already, why would you wanna attend a music school. You sure will need to read a lot there, but a lot of time in the first few months of your time (depending on what courses / program you choose) will be dedicated to working on the basics again, developing better reading-skills etc.
If you'd be such an awesome reader, you probably have many years of playing-experience already, so you probably wouldn't even see a sense in attending a school.