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Musicians Institute: The Music of Hollywood

By Genie Davis

June 5, 2017

The Musicians Institute has been located in Hollywood for 40 years, bringing with it the true sound of the music industry.

Musicians Institute is located on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. (Courtesy photo)

The musical education behemoth offers challenging music performance programs that combine contemporary music performance with vigorous education in traditional music disciplines. Performance programs include five major disciplines of study: guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocal. Along with the impressive performance programs, The Musicians Institute offers in-depth Industry Programs as well to prepare graduates for music careers, training students in state of the art facilities.

According to Beth Marlis, vice president of industry and community relations at Musicians Institute, as well as the executive director at The Musicians Foundation which provides student scholarships, “The school is arguably the most well-known and respected contemporary music school in the world.”

Drummer courses at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

Marlis began working with MI thirty years ago as a faculty member. To this day, she’s a guitar instructor as well as a vice-president.

She notes that the school’s location in Hollywood is an essential element of its success. “There’s a reason we are where we are – it’s because the music industry is the school’s focal point, and its bull’s-eye is in Hollywood.”

One of the hallmarks of the school is their faculty, who like Marlis, are active in the real world with music careers. “Our authenticity is born out of the fact that our faculty are professionals that you’ll see working in television, films, and recording studios, or are working musicians on tour.”

Music production courses at Musicians Institute. (Courtesy photo)

The school was founded by members of the famous musical “wrecking crew,” who performed at every session at major studios in the 60s and 70s. “They built the Hollywood music industry of that era, and chose to share their expertise almost casually back in 1977 by starting a school,” Marlis relates. “Our DNA comes from the recording studios of Hollywood.”

Hisatake Shibuya purchased the school and has owned it for 23 years. The Japanese businessman is committed to the arts, and owns other schools in the area, including Elegance International School of Professional Makeup, Theater of the Arts acting school, and the International Dance Academy, as well as owning ESP Guitars and other related companies.

Students in class at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

Today the school is made up of eight different buildings spanning the area of Hollywood and Highland. Programs are eclectic, covering disciplines such as audio engineering, audio post-production, a music business program, and even a luthier school that teaches students how to build guitars. Its independent artist program helps students learn to be a successful, self-promoting independent artists. “Students in the independent artist program learn social media, marketing, and have a mentor. We also have a DJ program. But our mainstay is our performance-type program,” Marlis explains.

The school’s large urban campus currently has around 1000 students enrolled, with 70% of the student body from domestic locations and 30% international. “We offer Bachelors’ degrees, many short six-month programs, and the most popular program that we offer, an AA program in pure music,” Marlis attests.

Marlis says that in a nutshell, Musicians Institute offers students an authentic program that provides students hands-on, real-world programs. “We are the most innovative, well-respected, and oldest contemporary music school in the world, and we are turning out graduates who are the next generation of the music industry.”

In fact, the school has many famous graduates, from Anderson .Paak, highly visible at this year’s Grammy Awards, to Keb Mo, all the band members from Weezer, and half of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Graduates have performed as sidemen for Michael Jackson, Pink, and the Allman Brothers. “Ariana Grande’s keyboard player came from our school,” Marlis points out.

Guitar instruction at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

With some 300 faculty members, the ratio of faculty member to student is high. Depending on the program type, some student/faculty relationships are one-on-one.

Along with faculty, Marlis says outside members of the music industry are often a part of campus life. “The industry is here every week. We have high level auditions; A&R reps come and take the cream of the crop of our students. We are super robust about career placement and gig opportunities. There are internships, we get our students on auditions, we constantly get them placed. And that’s a big part of being here in Hollywood,” she notes. “If you want to be a fisherman, live by the ocean. If you want to be in the music business, be here. We are in this community and really invested in Hollywood; our community is important to us.”

Marlis recommends potential students – and simply interested outsiders – come and visit the campus. “I love giving personal tours. It’s always interesting and exciting. It’s a little like being in an episode of Fame or Glee,” she remarks. “It’s an incredible environment. You see the connections in the industry being built right before your eyes.”

The Musicians Institute
6752 Hollywood Blvd.
800-255-7529

Students perform at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)


Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.

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