Music Schools

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
I going to be getting out of the Army about a year after I get back (thanks to stop loss going away I'm no longer getting stuck into an Afghan rotation), and I'm going to school immediately after getting out. I've started looking at my options and have thus far come up short. My two options for majors are either Drums & Percussion performance & theory, or Studio Audio production / Audio Engineer. Does anyone know of some good schools to look into?

I was going to go to Full Sail in Florida, but my cousin went and checked the place out and said it was a high-priced piece of junk. They aren't even accredited so you're basically paying alot of money for a useless piece of paper from them. Upsetting because I had my sights set on this school for about 5 or 6 years now.
Then I looked at Berklee, and after reading reviews it also looks to be a waste of time.
 

elpol

Senior Member
I always ask this: What is your goal?

Purposeful education is seldom wasted, in my opinion. There are lots of really great schools/academies in the US of course, and options beyond Berklee are no less worthy of looking into. As long as it suits your purpose and goals...

Audio Engineering? Again, this is just my opinion, however I can count on one hand the number of engineers/producers I have met who have taken any kind of formal program in the subject. (and I've met quite a few)Not saying that school is a complete waste in this area, just that you need be very careful with 'accredited institutions' for Music Production. If you want to go heavy into it, then you can research Colleges and Universities that offer Graduate programs in the subject.

There are more and more one-off courses you can take that teach general techniques and/or basics of sound production that are geared towards home and small studio types who want to get into it and need some initial guidance - Community colleges are where you can find some of these (at least up here in Canada)

good luck!
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
I always ask this: What is your goal?

Purposeful education is seldom wasted, in my opinion. There are lots of really great schools/academies in the US of course, and options beyond Berklee are no less worthy of looking into. As long as it suits your purpose and goals...

Audio Engineering? Again, this is just my opinion, however I can count on one hand the number of engineers/producers I have met who have taken any kind of formal program in the subject. (and I've met quite a few)Not saying that school is a complete waste in this area, just that you need be very careful with 'accredited institutions' for Music Production. If you want to go heavy into it, then you can research Colleges and Universities that offer Graduate programs in the subject.

There are more and more one-off courses you can take that teach general techniques and/or basics of sound production that are geared towards home and small studio types who want to get into it and need some initial guidance - Community colleges are where you can find some of these (at least up here in Canada)

good luck!

my goal? honestly, i realize this is a basic question that i should have asked myself from the start, but i'm stumped. i don't really know. i mean, the only thing i know is that music is my life, and i want to make it my future. i don't care what i'm doing, whether it's playing my own music or helping someone else get thier music out, as long as it deals with music i'll be happy. with the training i've had in the army i could easily go to any 3 letter organization and make 6 figures from the start, but i don't care about that, i just want to do something with music. i think i would enjoy playing much more the producing or recording, but like i said if i'm involved with music i'm happy.

the only problem i have with the one-off courses is that there is no degree. i was raised in an area where if you don't have a college degree you're a waste of space. and i've spent going on 6 years out of high school now feeling like scum of the earth because i don't have a degree. am i wrong? do i need a degree to make anything of myself in the music industry?
 

elpol

Senior Member
my goal? honestly, i realize this is a basic question that i should have asked myself from the start, but i'm stumped. i don't really know. i mean, the only thing i know is that music is my life, and i want to make it my future. i don't care what i'm doing, whether it's playing my own music or helping someone else get thier music out, as long as it deals with music i'll be happy. with the training i've had in the army i could easily go to any 3 letter organization and make 6 figures from the start, but i don't care about that, i just want to do something with music. i think i would enjoy playing much more the producing or recording, but like i said if i'm involved with music i'm happy.
Pardon my ignorance, but are you entitled to assistance for post-secondary education from being in the Military? And, does it have to be 'education' that would be of a direct-benefit to them?

the only problem i have with the one-off courses is that there is no degree. i was raised in an area where if you don't have a college degree you're a waste of space. and i've spent going on 6 years out of high school now feeling like scum of the earth because i don't have a degree. am i wrong? do i need a degree to make anything of myself in the music industry?
Your passion is quite evident right from the words you just typed. The bolded part above is one of those 'can-of-worm' areas that might kick-start another classic thread here in DW... ;-)

In all seriousness, I have a B.Mus. and L.Mus (Licentiate, which was modeled after European-style classical performance diplomas). I've never, ever 'needed' my letters to get me anywhere in the music industry. That said, the education I received gave me a lot of the tools that I use continuously in my career, both obvious and subtle.

If you were to want to become a Music Teacher in a school-system, then yes you must have accreditation. Even college/university ranks want either a high-level education or the equivalent in professional experience.

If you want to be a player and contributor to the art of drumming and music, then the degree won't have as much value to you as a means to get you gigs, etc. It's more about getting lots of tools for that professional toolbox: If having a degree is important to your principles and beliefs, then getting one isn't a waste of your time. It is not, however an absolute requirement to having a career in the music industry. It's just that education is never a bad thing, you know? (unless you have a bad educator, of course ;-)

Another way of looking at it is that you go to school for only as long as it suits your end-goal. I'd assume that you would want to make sure you can play at a very skillful level, with high reading capability, be well-rounded stylistically, have solid grasp of music theory, historical perspectives, aural-skills, etc., etc. You also would want to treat your chosen school as a serious means to network and develop connections and associations with your musical peers > this is one of the most important aspects that seems to me to be 'understood' by most, however not always talked about much. Because of this, the City or region you choose should not be taken lightly. However, do consider that just Berklee may not be the end-all, be-all - you could say the same about NYC or LA or Nashville.

A dear friend of mine and fellow drummer had a plan after he finished his undergraduate degree in Montreal: He went specifically to NYU to study with John Riley and obtain his Masters. He also generally went to test his mettle in the NYC music scene. He's had a pretty successful run over the past 20 years now. Even moving back to Canada, he still works regularly in NYC.

I also have several musical compatriots who went to Berklee once upon a time - None finished. Not because they couldn't cut it. It was because they got too busy professionally; they had achieved what they had really set out to get from that school - a chance to study with great teachers, lots of shedding, lots of connections and consequently, gigs/tours, etc.

I'm sorry for being so verbose, but I guess you can tell that I have some strong opinons on the subject. I've never been or likely will be 'famous', yet I have managed to have a nice career in the music industry - probably just like the vast majority of the guys and girls I play with: Yes you ought to be good at your instrument. You should also be a good person, professional at all times, easy to work with, flexible (but not a pushover), confident (definitely not arrogant!) and hard-working. Nobody I've ever worked with cared about whether or not I had a degree, let alone asked about it.
One cool thing I like about the biz: the humility part is free - after so many times I've done something very high-profile, only to come home to a casual at a local pub in front of a few drunken souls, who are only interested in the meat draw... how can you get a big head?

If I can do it... It takes time and a lot of hard-work and determination and yes, a bit of luck too. Not to mention the inevitable worries about $$ - I wouldn't trade what I do for anything. (well almost anything, but since I'll probably never be an astronaut, I'll just stick to music)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
If you want to be a player and contributor to the art of drumming and music, then the degree won't have as much value to you as a means to get you gigs, etc. It's more about getting lots of tools for that professional toolbox: If having a degree is important to your principles and beliefs, then getting one isn't a waste of your time. It is not, however an absolute requirement to having a career in the music industry. It's just that education is never a bad thing, you know? (unless you have a bad educator, of course ;-)

Another way of looking at it is that you go to school for only as long as it suits your end-goal.
Very well said.

I've never heard anything bad about Berklee before. Plenty of name players have gone there.

Gregg Bisonette went to North Texas State.
Kenny Arnoff went to Indiana University.

Musicians Institute (PIT) has a good reputation, and they now have some sort of degree program.

There is also the Los Angeles Music Academy, but I don't know if they have a degree progrm or just a vocational program.
 

spirit

Senior Member
I dont know what the system is there- but here it is possible to have lessons and regular exams that if passed give you a guild hall grade pass, 1-8. The lessons incorporate reading, rudiments, etc. At grade 8 you are able to sight read drum scores in a fluent manner, after that it is possible to go on and pay further for drum lessons that will introduce world music styles, theory, percussion and the whole range you would expect.

I never had any goals as such- I was lucky in that when I was young at 11 ish- I stumbled upon free drum lessons in my school- the class was 33 people and over the years it dwindled down to 4, out of those 4 I am the only one that plays still.
that took and passed all grade exams. We were taught by an Ex BBC orchestra drummer- so we covered every style at the time.
Since passing I made it my aim to cover as much as possible- so I have listend to plenty that was not covered. Blues, soul, Rnb and more. The only thing I found that works is loading my I pod with playlists of music types and working them. Soaking the feel, groove and style up to the max. One thing to bear in mind is many variations exist for every type of music and it really is a matter of being reactive to whats being played.
Even tho I teach and have done for a few years- I am aware all the time that- I never stop learning. At no time will I be a master of all- I will always try and be the best I can in all I do.

I am I guess old school in many ways because of my age- I think having a good foundation in drumming at the start- has allowed me to build on that since..
In my drumming life its not really about what exams I have passed in drums- it is a matter of knowing the right people, getting out there with your thang and being able to execute on the day!
My advice is only research this well mate- I have read a lot about famous drumming schools and think they have a place- but that depends also on what you want in life- if pro drumming is a goal and you want to work in pro big bands, theater land, or something like that then its a great start to that path. It can only give you a bigger view of the life of a pro drummer- good stuff!

I am far too busy to get into that as much as I would love to enroll at one of these places if you have the time, money and ambition- go for it and best of luck SGT mate!
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
Going to college definitely opens your doors to many roots no matter which type of college you choose.

This is tough what I should say being I am a graduate of Berklee. Being I know the industry the way I do I don't think I can recommend any young person from NOT going to any college but Berklee or college in general may not be the choice for you.

The choice is not a black and white issue in my opinion. Being a starving artist right after Berklee I know I couldn't afford an additional $400 a month in lessons if I chose to continue my studies. That said, I didn't need lessons at that moment because I had SO MUCH material that only now is it wearing thin and I graduated 10 years ago. Hence this was my reason to study with Tommy Igoe and some others as of late.

The options in life as young musicians:

1. Go to Berklee : You were like myself and wanted a college degree but didn't want to study a ton of general education classes. You wanted your focus to be strictly on music so Berklee is the choice. Are there possibilities of finding a better teacher outside the school? Sure, but there are a lot of bad *** teachers there as well. You just have to choose the right ones. Some push you, some let you push yourself and simply give you a TON of info. I had the latter when I was there in Skip Hadden, Rick Considine, Larry Finn and Giovanni Hidigalo. You will become a bad *** drummer there, but you have to be careful not to take all the proficiency to the point of sterilizing you. Take the classes and the lessons more serious. If you are going there for the sake of their degree options I really would choose anything other than their technologies such as MP&E or at the very least take the Music Ed., though an expensive version of that degree, at least you will have a degree that can ultimately land you a job.

2. Go to University & study with bad *** teacher in NYC/LA: This would be my first choice today, but at the time I couldn't handle nor knew what I would study in a general education. I believe though I would regret not being as rounded of a musician but having a head start in the industry would have been nice.

3. Forget school all together and simply study with bad *** teacher: Talk about throwing all your eggs in one basket. It's the fastest route to being a great drummer for sure as long as your parents don't mind you still live with them and don't ask for rent. You work your 20 hours a week to have enough money to pay for your car and your lessons if you can actually find an instructor who lives in middle America somewhere. If your parents live in LA or NYC then this choice may actually work. I hope you have a rich uncle though to help you start investing in real estate because by the time your career starts to peak out you are going to need a place to live eventually.

End Result:

1. Well rounded musician, college degree, great drummer (if you practice and have some natural talent), establish yourself with other students and the Boston music scene.

1a. Same as 1 except you realize Boston is not for you so you have to find another city to get started an established in. You use your degree and knowledge to get a job.

1b. Same as 1 except you go an get a master's degree at a school in NYC/LA in a General Education and establish yourself as a player in the scene. Perhaps study with bad *** teacher once a month because you have so much from Berklee to work on and school has homework too.

2. Well rounded human being, college degree, great drummer (if you practice and have some natural talent) and set yourself up in the scene of LA/NYC.

2a. Same as 2 except you chose a different city which you may be successful in or you may have to move and start all over again without the help of being a college student.

2b. Same as 1b except you have a different college degree.

3. The best drummer of all the choices because you have a ton of time to practice and have the drive to do so. You become a a superstar and never have to worry about anything in your life or you get old & realize at 50 you still don't own a home, have a family, have health insurance and no reasonable way to get any of those things.

Now that I think about I WISH I went to college right away and did 1b!
 

mcbike

Silver Member
i thought you had to go to an accredited college to use your g.i. bill. one of my air force buddies said they are raising the gi bill to 3,000 something a month in august. right now it's like half of that.

I would say just go to a regular college in a town with a decent music scene and start playing gigs as much as you can. also study with the best teacher you can find for what you want to do.

If you want to do the studio thing intern at the best studio in town and work your way up to engineer. The best engineers I know all got their start this way. i would recommend that over trying to start your own home studio and learning yourself. everybody and their brother has a home studio these days and what is in demand is REAL studios with REAL engineers and REAL producers.

just get a liberal arts degree, hell even from a communtiy college it would leave more money left over to put towards your music career.
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
wow! ok, thats a lot to digest. thanks for all the input thus far though, it has definitely opened my mind to other possible routes. as far as the military thing, yes i am entitled to money for college. there is a whole system that is specific by state on how much you get per month and it caps out at like 80 grand. i won't go into the math and everything involved. however, i don't know if this would apply to music schools. it has to be an accredited university i know that much. but the advisers and people in the know over here unfortunately don't actually know that much and are very available. so when i can talk to them, i can never get a straight answer. it's pretty frickin frustrating.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I was going to go to Full Sail in Florida, but my cousin went and checked the place out and said it was a high-priced piece of junk. They aren't even accredited so you're basically paying alot of money for a useless piece of paper from them. Upsetting because I had my sights set on this school for about 5 or 6 years now.
Then I looked at Berklee, and after reading reviews it also looks to be a waste of time.
I know 3 people who went to school at Full Sail.
2 of them moved back home after and work in the audio department at Guitar Center.
The other one was an ex-girlfriend who after graduating worked as a cocktail waitress in a strip club, got pregnant and then moved back home....

So... yeah, I wouldn't go to that school.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
I can't say enough good things about my time currently spent in the one year program at Atlanta Institute of Music, aka AIM. The facility is brand new and state of the art. Both the Percussion Performance and Studio Audio Production programs are top notch. The teachers are great. Class sizes are extremely small. It offers everything PIT offers except it's several thousand cheaper /$16,500 for the 4 quarters/ 12 month program/, and I have heard of no one having trouble transfering credits to the comparable 4 year institutions.

There are also many good drummers here. Every student concert I've been to has been exemplary. Jerome Flood, the most recent Guitar Center drumoff winner just graduated from here last month, and with all respect to him he was just one good guy among many.

Atlanta's also a good city with plenty going on. I'm surprised more people don't talk about this place. But so far that's been fine with me, because I've enjoyed the individual attention.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
I can't say enough good things about my time currently spent in the one year program at Atlanta Institute of Music, aka AIM. The facility is brand new and state of the art. Both the Percussion Performance and Studio Audio Production programs are top notch. The teachers are great. Class sizes are extremely small. It offers everything PIT offers except it's several thousand cheaper /$16,500 for the 4 quarters/ 12 month program/, and I have heard of no one having trouble transfering credits to the comparable 4 year institutions.

There are also many good drummers here. Every student concert I've been to has been exemplary. Jerome Flood, the most recent Guitar Center drumoff winner just graduated from here last month, and with all respect to him he was just one good guy among many.

Atlanta's also a good city with plenty going on. I'm surprised more people don't talk about this place. But so far that's been fine with me, because I've enjoyed the individual attention.
That's nice to hear. They have made some giant steps from when I went to checked out the facility back in the '95-97 time frame. No joke they literally had Commodore 64's in their computer rooms back then.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
That's nice to hear. They have made some giant steps from when I went to checked out the facility back in the '95-97 time frame. No joke they literally had Commodore 64's in their computer rooms back then.
Yeah, I've heard a lot of stories about the old building. But year before last, Nite Driscol just went for it with a new building in Duluth and all new stuff. The first time I ever walked into the main recording studio I couldn't believe all the money they had shelled out for top drawer gear. It's pretty impressive there now.
 
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