Berklee, Musicians Institute, LA Music Academy

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
I'm in highschool right now, but its getting reallllyy close to the time where I'm gonna start looking at and applying to colleges... Does anyone have ANY experience or connection to Berklee College of Music, Musicians Institute, or the LA Music Academy? I know, people have told me that a degree from a college in music doesnt gurantee me a good living off of drums... BELIEVE me, I am well aware of that. However, playing the drums (and music in general) is very clearly my passion that I want to live out for the rest of my life; so running the risk of a few hard years (probably more) financially is of little concern to me. I am most definetely going to pursue a career in drums and if anyone has any info or experience (good or bad) on these colleges that they would like to share...... I'd be very grateful :D
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Anthony Amodeo has some students that he's worked with which have made it into Berklee. Perhaps he can chime in. I think there are some PIT Grads on this forum as well.

I've played with many Berklee Grads and have been working for 20+ years with a guitarist/composer who graduated from there back in the 80's He has shared many stories with me from there. All very cool.

I've also been to the school as a visitor and played around the Boston area with students from there, but again that was way back in the 80's
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
I don't study at Berklee but I do know some people there, the main draw for a lot of people is the crazy amount of networking you can do there. For example Aldemar Valentin, a bassist from here (Puerto Rico) got to tour all over China because of a connection he made while studying at Berklee. I also know he's gonna paying off school loans pretty much for the rest of his life so there's also that.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
I did Berklee in "91 (performance and saxophone). Being from europe . my english wasn't the greatest at the time and I didn't make the connections I should have made. I played locally for 4 years or so, got married, and now , I play for fun. It is a very good experience, just very expensive though. maybe the best thing would be to do one semester at a time (start with fall)..
 
Not a grad of any place, but my friend/coworker and my drum teacher both went to Berklee. Their experiences were great - not only due to the quality of instructors - but quality of other musicians around. My coworker went for an audio engineering degree but was a ridiculous guitar player and he said the best part was how easy it was to find a group of quality musicians. You won't find that at a non-music school as much. My drum teacher talks similarly about this, but mentions a lot of the great professors and teachers he worked with.

I guess my question to you is - since you say you want to make a career out of drums, what does that mean to you? Is it touring with a band? Giving lessons? Studio musician? Drum tech? Local cover band drummer? These are all "careers" in drumming, but not what a lot of people think of when going to school for their instrument. My coworker was playing in a successful local band, but makes his living with his engineering degree. My drum teacher teaches, gigs with multiple local bands, fills in when needed and lives modestly. That's how many musicians make a living.

If you were to choose one of the three schools (all are very good), my advice would be try to find a secondary skill along with drumming. It can be music-related or not. Maybe a trade, or spend a lot of time knowing gear/tuning to tech for other drummers. Or professional dog walker. Anything! I feel that this can help when drumming feels like a job, at least you have some other skills that can bring in some money to allow you to pick and choose who you work with and not be forced into bad situations because you need the money. Also, your music goals might change in 5 years. I know another very talented drummer who's been with the same successful jam band who's quitting to become a carpenter because he's been "doing music" for 10 years with no real sign of financial security.

If I could do it over again, I'd try to go to Berklee in a heartbeat (never went to music school). And if your really serious about your music, you'll probably regret NOT going to a music school.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I would just find a regular university with a good percussion/jazz program-- if you live in the west, there are a bunch of good ones in California, Oregon, Washington, even Idaho. Get your stuff thoroughly together there, then finish up at Berklee, or another gold-plated school of your choice, mainly for the networking. I don't know about LAMA, but I believe MI just gives you a certificate of having gone there-- I don't think it's the best option.

Also: you will eventually come to regret racking up tens or hundreds of thousands of $ of college debt, so beware of that. Nobody becomes a musician because it looks attractive after rationally considering the finances, but at least try to avoid going crazy and needlessly burying yourself in debt.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I am a Musicians Institute grad. PIT class of 92.

It was a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun. Glad I did it.

But it's hard to say how that relates to today. Tuition back then was a fraction of what it is now. The school is under new ownership. 1/2 the staff split off to start LA Music Academy.
Back then they had a summer into program, and the one year main program. Now they have 101 programs from into up to a 4 year degree.

It is one heck of an experience.

I will have to say, out of all my class mates, only a very small handful have a successful career in music though.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I am a Musicians Institute grad. PIT class of 92.

It was a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun. Glad I did it.

But it's hard to say how that relates to today. Tuition back then was a fraction of what it is now. The school is under new ownership. 1/2 the staff split off to start LA Music Academy.
Back then they had a summer into program, and the one year main program. Now they have 101 programs from into up to a 4 year degree.

It is one heck of an experience.

I will have to say, out of all my class mates, only a very small handful have a successful career in music though.
MI grad here as well 1999
was a lot less expensive then
I loved my experience there ...I worked my ass off there
most of the staff that was there when I attended is gone

I have 3 former students attending Berklee who love it and either their parents are paying or they are on scholarship
I have also worked with lots of Berklee grads
tuition is ridiculous

I have never been associated with LAMA
 
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Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
One guy in my band went to Berklee, but it was for the music business degree back in the eighties. He ended up selling insurance for 20 years or so. Now he's back into the music. He is a great guitarist. Another guy in our band just graduated last Saturday from MIT's music business program. He is a phenominal drummer. It will be interesting what he does and where he goes with this behind him. For now, he is with us, hopefully our band will go somewhere, but you know how it is out there. There are no guarantees in life. Personallly in my own career, community college did more for me than that tech school I went to back in the eighties.
 

Drums101

Senior Member
Don't limit yourself to just these schools. There are definitely other schools with great jazz programs (University of North Texas, William Paterson, University of Miami) that aren't exclusively music schools, and also are cheaper than Berklee.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
Don't limit yourself to just these schools. There are definitely other schools with great jazz programs (University of North Texas, William Paterson, University of Miami) that aren't exclusively music schools, and also are cheaper than Berklee.
^ this
..............
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
Don't limit yourself to just these schools. There are definitely other schools with great jazz programs (University of North Texas, William Paterson, University of Miami) that aren't exclusively music schools, and also are cheaper than Berklee.
If I may, I would like to add Indiana University to this list. I totally agree with this reasoning too. Peace and goodwill.
 

Beat3/4

Junior Member
New York Jazz Academy it's a great Jazz School!!
That is indeed a good option. My friend (probably shouldn't post names) played fist for many years at church, but got going with the jazz at NJYA, and now he got a really good scholarship in New School. The thing with them, is that they can really help you take your playing higher than you expected. Maybe folks from NY, know of who I am referring to.
 
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leoyucht

Member
In the fall I will be starting my study at William Paterson University - the same place that Bill Stewart, Carl Allen, Ari Hoenig and Mark Guiliana studied. It's an amazing program but it's jazz centered (I am not sure if that is what you are going for).
 
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