Since Musicians Institute launched its Bachelor of Music Program in 1994, the school has equipped hundreds of talented students for successful careers in high-profile positions. MI alumni success stories include professional touring musicians with superstar artists; thriving singer-songwriters; composers for film, television and stage musicals; members of the U.S. Army band; creators of music libraries for film and TV licensing, sound engineers and professional educators.
“The education we provide benefits the many music students who don’t want to follow the traditional music education route,” says Joe Elliott, Director of the Bachelor Degree Program. “It’s a definite alternative to the typical Bachelor of Music degree you get at state colleges and conservatories because, rather than focusing on the history and theory of music of the past, we deal directly with the realities of ways people are making a living in the business today. Compared to standard music degrees, MI’s Bachelor Degree offers much more actual performance content along with contemporary music-specific studies.”
Associate Dean Gary Solt adds, “Our vision is to send our graduates out with the ability to have a long, fruitful career, not just a degree to hang on the wall. The extensive preparation that they put into their weekly performances and their final juries guarantees that they have professional-level live performance skills in a variety of styles including funk, Latin, rock, jazz and classical music.”
The Supportive Music element of the program includes courses in such essential areas as music theory, ear training, audio recording, music history, music business, computer applications, music teaching, keyboard skills, arranging and conducting. These studies are undertaken in depth—the program has eight levels of theory, for example, that merge classical and popular music-based musical analysis. Students engage in an equal measure of ear training, learning to apply their skills to deconstructing the tunes they play in ensembles.
General Education, which comprises 25 percent of the 180 total units required for the degree, is offered through a special credit-transfer arrangement with Los Angeles City College, although students can also meet the standards for English, history, math, science, etc. at any accredited school in the country and apply these credits to their MI degree. Solt adds, “The greatest thing is seeing young people come to MI and embrace knowledge from the outset. Their experiences light a fire that stays with them for their whole life. They grow enormously in the years they are here, and because we are selective about the students we choose for the program, the majority are up for the challenges and stay the course. It’s wonderful to see them blossom at such a high level.”