The Development of CRAFT
Los Angeles can be described as musician’s paradise. After all, loads of amazing musicians from Michael Jackson to Ray Charles packed up and moved to Los Angeles once they made it big, even The Beatles have recorded here. One place that’s helping musicians learn about the art and business of music is the Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music located in the heart of Hollywood right near Hollywood and Highland.
At the Musicians Institute, students have the opportunity to earn degrees Performance Programs in bass, drums, guitar, keyboards and vocals or Industry Programs including audio engineering, independent artist, guitar craft, music business, and film. The goal of MI is to prepare musicians for a long and prosperous career in music. Their reputation is stellar and students come from all over the world for the experience. One of the highlights of the school is their very successful Artist & Career Services Department.
Todd Berhorst runs the Artists & Career Services Department. He connects the students with real opportunities to meet with managers, agents, labels — major and independent — and industry professionals who need talent. The department prepares students for these meetings and guides them into the industry. The proximity to “the industry” is a huge advantage for the school and it’s students.
Another fabulous program the school offers is guest clinics when professional musicians come in for one session to teach a course and offer question and answer opportunities to the students. The evening that we visited the school, there was a clinic with Death Cab for Cutie drummer Jason McGerr. Jason isn’t an alumni of MI but prior to joining DCFC he taught drums for a decade. He feels that those years of teaching and learning help him when he’s grinding out 200 shows a year, dealing with long hours, being away from home on tour and working with the team dynamics of a successful band. While he appreciates all the lessons of a formal education, he notes that students need to put down the books and join the band to fully develop.
We spoke with a bass student from Brazil and asked how he managed to get to MI all the way from Sao Paulo. He trained as a dentist but felt that his heart was in music. He had been taking lessons for years from a MI alum who influenced him to look into MI. He is thrilled to be following his passion and after hearing him belt out a tune in his Intro to Voice class; I can attest that he’s got talent and charisma.
If you’ve already finished your education and gone down your career path but still have the music bug then you should consider their Summer Shot Program. It’s just for a week but offers students programs in performance, recording, song writing and guitar building. The program includes private lessons and jam sessions and you’ll even go home with a DVD of your show! Sounds like the perfect way to keep the creative juices flowing.