Founded in the heart of Hollywood in 1977, Musicians Institute (MI) is a College of Contemporary Music built on the idea that musicians should teach—and learn from—other musicians in a creative, supportive environment.
Musicians Institute is dedicated to inspiring artistic and academic excellence while preparing students for careers in the music and entertainment industry. Our cutting-edge educational offerings provide the information, skills and expertise necessary for musicians and creative professionals to achieve their goals. We strive to develop a diverse array of talented individuals who can enrich the global community with their artistic contributions.
Musicians Institute is committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment for the community it serves. Members of the MI community include students, faculty, administration, families, and visiting artists. As an institution that is dedicated to preparing students for careers in the diversified music and entertainment industry, MI strives to cultivate talented individuals from across all backgrounds with conscious efforts to enrich the global public.
A UNIQUE COLLEGE
Musicians Institute offers a complete education in every aspect of the music industry, including instrumental performance, DJ & producing skills, composing for video games, audio engineering, guitar building, music business, and training in the latest music technology. Through real-world experience and guidance from working professionals, students can earn a variety of degrees and certificates, while taking advantage of networking opportunities at its state-of-the-art Los Angeles campus.
MI connects students to the global music industry with all the tools they need to enhance their careers and pursue their artistic dreams.
Musicians Institute provides an innovative education that prepares graduates for creative and professional careers in the contemporary music industry. MI is dedicated to providing comprehensive instruction, facilities and other resources to support and inspire artistic and professional accomplishment.
Musicians Institute is a private institution that is approved to operate in the State of California by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education and has been an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1981.
For information on BPPE, you may visit the Bureau website at: www.bppe.ca.gov
History of MI
The seeds of Musicians Institute were originally planted in 1977 as the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT), which was the only school of its kind at the time to offer a practical, experience-based education in contemporary music. The innovative program was developed by Howard Roberts and Pat Hicks, who recruited some of the top player-educators in the U.S. and established a tradition that continues at Musicians Institute today: instructing students with a unique blend of creative, educational and professional talent.
With the addition of the Bass Institute of Technology (BIT) in 1978, the Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) in 1980, and the Vocal Institute of Technology (VIT) in 1987, the school grew to serve an even greater variety of musicians. Musicians Institute began to be recognized as an innovator in the field of contemporary music education. Located in the epicenter of the entertainment industry—on Hollywood Boulevard, where it still stands today—MI continued to attract students from all over the world, creating an international community of musicians and creative professionals.
In the ‘90s, Musicians Institute further expanded its programs to match a rapidly changing music industry. The Keyboard Institute of Technology (KIT) was founded in 1991, followed by the Recording Institute of Technology (RIT) in 1993 as well as the Bachelor of Music Degree in 1994. In 2000, two innovative programs were unveiled: the Recording Artist Program (RAP), which offered a combination of artist development, digital recording and music business skills; and the Guitar Craft Academy (GCA), which taught the skills of building and maintaining electric guitars and basses. In 2002, the Music Business Program (MBP) was established to train both musicians and non-musicians in the career skills required for the business side of the industry.
To match the ever-changing music and entertainment landscape of the 21st Century, Musicians Institute has reorganized all its programs into a streamlined, integrated College of Contemporary Music. The School of Performance Studies includes programs for Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard Technology and Vocals; while the School of Entertainment Industry Studies offers programs for Artist Producer Entrepreneur, Audio Engineering, DJ, Electronic Music Production, Guitar Craft, Independent Artist Live Music Event Production, Studio Recording and Music Business. With over four decades of experience, MI is constantly developing new educational and career development initiatives to serve a global music community.
THE GUITAR INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (GIT)
The Guitar Institute of Technology opened its doors to full-time students in April of 1977, laying the foundation for Musicians Institute. Based on educational philosophy of guitarist Howard Roberts, GIT was co-founded and managed by Los Angeles music businessman Pat Hicks. The three original instructors; Jow Diorio, Rob Eschete, and Don Mock ventured into unexplored territory as they worked to turn Howard’s vision of an intensive, contemporary, vocational guitar program into a practical reality.
MI inspiration and founder Howard Roberts poses with his new Gibson Howard Roberts model guitar (c.1980). Throughout the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s’, HR was one of the busiest guitarists in Los Angeles, appearing on hundreds of albums, movie soundtracks and TV performances, and his own LPs established him as one of the premier jazz guitar stylists of his generation. He applied a lifelong passion for learning theory to writing books and columns as well as conducting legendary seminars. His efforts raised the standard for guitar education and culminated in the establishment of GIT, the world’s first full-time contemporary guitar program.
WANNA JAM ON "FREE BIRD"?
A high powered guitar quartet including (L-R) Tommy Tedesco, Howard Roberts, jazz legend/GIT visiting artist Joe Pass, and Don Mock, hang out in Pat HIcks’ office (c.1987).
From the beginning, MI’s staff, instructors, and visiting artists have provided musical inspiration on stage as well as in the classroom. Here, Don Mock (GIT), Joe Brancato (PIT), and Jeff Berlin (BIT) provide a stellar backing for Robben Ford during a concert in Room “A” of the 6757 Hollywood Boulevard facility (c.1981).
BIT’s first director, Chuck Rainey (Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan) lays it down (c.1980). BIT was one of the first schools in the world to recognize the fundamental importance of the electric bass in contemporary music and to make it the focus of a full-time program.
Pianist and educator Carl Schroeder (Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Art Blakey, Sarah Vaughn) has inspired MI students with his eclectic musical range and unique teaching style ever since he joined the MI staff in 1979. Students of every instrument consider the “Schroeder experience” to be one of the highlights of their MI education. Here, Carl proudly displays his fresh manicure to an admiring student.
After four decades at the peak of the studio guitar profession and innumerable album, movie, and TV soundtrack appearances, Tommy Tedesco earned the undisputed title “world’s most recorded guitarist”. Tommy was renowned for his ability to perform in any style on any stringed instrument, for his phenomenal sight-reading ability, and for his outrageous sense of humor (on display each Christmas when he donned a form-fitting Santa suit and handed out candy to shocked MI students). As a regular GIT clinician, his seminars were as entertaining as they were informative.
Following a long career in the music industry, MI co-founder Pat Hicks provided the direction that turned Howard Roberts’ educational philosophy into a functioning music school. Over the years following the establishment of GIT, BIT and PIT, Pat managed MI as it grew in size and scope. Following MI’s move into its current facility in 1987, the school expanded to include Vocal Institute of Technology (VIT) in 1987, the Keyboard Institute of Technology (KIT) in 1991, and the Recording Institute of Technology (RIT) in 1993. Pat retired from MI in 1995.
One of LA’s top studio drummers, and Ralph Humphrey, fresh from touring and recording with Frank Zappa, combined their experience, talent and educational ability in 1980 to co-found the Percussion Institute of Technology. As one of the first full-time percussion programs to focus on the contemporary trap set, PIT quickly set the standard for drum schools around the world.
PIT, GIT, BIT Graduates
One of the most outstanding collections of musical/educational talent ever assembled, the MI staff poses for an early ’80s group portrait. Front row (L-R): Joe Diorio, Howard Roberts, Casey Scheurell (PIT), Joe Porcaro. Second row: Ron Eschete, Steve Houghton (PIT), Tommy Tedesco, Jeff Berlin (BIT), Back row: Bob Magnussen (BIT), Carl Schroeder, Les Wise, Ralph Humphrey, Paul Farnen (BIT), Don Mock.
Founding GIT instructor Don Mock lays it on the table for a couple of students. Each of GIT’s original staff instructors – Don, Joe Diorio, and Ron Eschete – brought unique gifts to the school. Don’s ability to explain difficult concepts in clear, understandable language opened musical doors and his intense playing style inspired students to reach further with their own. Jow helped students break down artistic barriers while expanding the harmonic, melodic, and technical boundaries of jazz guitar. Ron taught players to ignore artificial divisions between rhythm and lead guitar with an all-in-one chord melody approach. Together, they laid the foundation for GIT’s instructional philosophy of hands-on creativity.
As MI expanded and began attracting students from all over the U.S. and around the world, the school became an international community within the city of Los Angeles. MI co-founder Rebecca Natalia contributed tremendously to the heart and soul of the school during these years, making MI feel like home to students a long way from their own. Becky retired from MI in 1996.
MUSICIANS INSTITUTE TAKES SHAPE
With the addition of Bass Institute of Technology (BIT) in 1978 and the Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) in 1980, Musicians Institute came into being. The MI facility, located through most of the ’90s above Hollywood Wax Museum, was home to a growing student body and staff while the school matured into its position as an internationally recognized innovator in the field of contemporary music education.