For our graduate spotlights, we like to catch up with Musicians Institute alumni who are currently working and thriving in the music industry. MI Guitar program graduate Ruben Wan is a guitarist, songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles, CA, who has amassed a large social media following across all platforms.
Originally from Panama, Ruben enrolled at MI and graduated in 2016. He first started his career as a session musician, and eventually saw the benefits of posting his guitar playing online. We spoke to him about what he learned at MI, his career so far, and advice he has for current students looking to follow in his footsteps.
Why did you choose to attend Musicians Institute over every other music school?
Location. I really wanted to pick a school in Los Angeles and had heard great things about the teachers at GIT (editors note: At its launch, Musicians Institute was called Guitar Institute of Technology) from back in the day.
What is a lesson you learned in an MI class that you feel you use the most in your career?
Just because a current gig feels like it’s not worth your time, it doesn’t mean it’s a complete waste of your time. Relationships can be formed in the worst of gigs along with valuable experiences.
Explain your journey after graduating from MI to what you’ve accomplished so far? What do you still hope to accomplish?
- I’ve been featured on multiple guitar publishers such as: GuitarWorld, MusicRadar, GuitarPlayer, Guitar.com.
- I’ve had the chance to collaborate and help launch products as an artist for brands such as: Ultimate Ears, Instagram, Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha, Line6, Focusrite, Martin Guitars, Elixir Strings. Etc.
- Have been able to build a loyal following through my music. 240,000+ strong on instagram, 70,000+ on Youtube and 60,000+ on Tiktok
- My whole collection of original music on Spotify + all other streaming platforms.
- What I hope to still accomplish: I’m still striving to create more original pieces that are an accurate representation of myself. Hopefully I can earn a Grammy with one of those songs.
What advice do you give to a new guitarist in the industry?
Consistency is key. It’s not a race but a marathon. Just because some peers of yours were able to succeed through one way, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the same path as them. Everyone’s journey is unique and different.
Was there any single experience at MI that you felt really shaped you as a musician?
My first show with my former band: “She Loves Yellow”. The members were MI Alumni as well. Mateus Asato on lead guitar, Yasutaka Nomura on Bass, Chow Kiat on drums and Remington Maxwell on vocals. I was easily the weakest link of the group and due to that I had a huge growth as a musician. On the academic side: Music production class with Dave Isaac. Private lessons with Dan Gilbert and Adam Hawley.
Three words that describe your career:
Entertaining. Inspiring. Humbling.
What is next for you as a musician?
I have a new song coming out called “God Complex”. Music video comes out the same day. I recently played my first festival as a solo artist in my hometown Panama and have a couple more lined up. Follow my socials to stay posted!
Make sure to follow Ruben below:
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