LAMA College for Music Professionals

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LAMA College for Music Professionals, often referred to as LAMA, is a contemporary music school located near the historic Old Town district of Pasadena, California (a suburb of Los Angeles).[1] LAMA, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) offers its students Professional Associates of Arts Degrees in Music Performance (drums, guitar, bass or vocal artist development) and music production.[2]

The student body averages 150 musicians. Teachers can give personal attention to each student.[3] LAMA has graduated more than 1000 international and domestic students, whose ages range widely but the average is 20 years old. Approximately 50 percent of attendees are from the United States while the rest hail from Europe, India, Korea, Japan, Brazil and other countries from around the globe.[4]


LAMA, originally named LA Music Academy, was founded in 1996 by music industry veterans who sought to create a comprehensive, performance-based curriculum that balanced academics with 'Playing With The Pros' (ensemble workshops featuring professionals active in the film, television and recording industries).[5] Original department Chairs included Frank Gambale (guitar), Dave Carpenter (bass); Joe Porcaro and Ralph Humphrey (drums). In 1998, the Vocal department was established by Kevyn Lettau. Educator and four-time Grammy-nominated singer Tierney Sutton assumed the role of Vocal Department Chair in 2008. LAMA's original Executive Director, Tom Aylesbury, became president in 2004.[6] The school changed its name in November, 2012, to LAMA College for Music Professionals.

Playing With The Pros[edit]

A key to the founders' vision was the concept of 'Playing With Pros', in which students receive regular, featured exposure performing with professionals, in contrast to the student ensembles typical of other institutions. It is the LAMA's view that this experience facilitates learning by simulating the 'real world' working environment of the professional musician.[7]

Summer Music Camp[edit]

Every year, LAMA hosts its Summer Music Camp, often referred to as its Summer Music Program. The program is composed of two, one-week sessions. The first session encompasses the Rock and Roll, Funk and Blues genres while the second focuses on Jazz, Fusion and Latin music. Each session concludes with a student concert. The program is open to interested drummers, guitarists, bassists and singers ages 10 and up who have received at least one year of private instruction. The program provides a snapshot of daily life at LAMA, including band workshops with fellow students; ensemble workshops with professional musicians and instructors; playing technique courses; a private half hour lesson with one of the faculty members; clinics and concerts with faculty and special guests; and a visit to a recording studio to record an original tune.[8]

Drummer's Reality Camp[edit]

LAMA and DrumChannel partnered with Guitar Center in 2012 to host the third annual Drummer's Reality Camp. The camp features clinics, music workshops, instruction, autograph sessions, a musician's round-table and a visit to Drum Workshop in Oxnard, CA. For 2012, drummers include Neil Peart, Marco Minneman, Gil Sharone, Jim Keltner, Ralph Humphrey, Joe Porcaro and more. Past artists also include Alex Acuña, Cobus Potgieter, Thomas Pridgen, Kenny Aronoff, Peter Erskine, JR Robinson, Terry Bozzio, Efrain Toro and others.[9]


LAMA's Department Chairs and instructors maintain high visibility, appearing on top-selling[citation needed] albums, TV shows and film soundtracks; they also perform throughout the world.[10]

Current Guitar Faculty

  • Jody Fisher (Chair)
  • Bill Fowler (Co-Chair)
  • Dave Hill
  • Dave Murdy
  • Andy Abad
  • Jackson Allen
  • Steve Gregory
  • Brad Rabuchin
  • Art Renshaw
  • Jamie Rosenn
  • German Schauss
  • Ken Song

Past Guitar Faculty

Current Drum Faculty

  • Joe Porcaro (Co-Chair)
  • Ralph Humphrey (Co-Chair)
  • Mike Packer
  • Richie Gajate-Garcia
  • Dave Beyer
  • Aaron Serfaty
  • Tony Inzalaco
  • Gary Ferguson
  • Matt Starr
  • Steve Pemberton
  • Sam Mazur

Past Drum Faculty

Current Bass Faculty

  • Jerry Watts (Chair)
  • Kevin Axt
  • Steve Billman
  • Mark Browne
  • Tim Landers
  • David Levray
  • Hussain Jiffry
  • Andre Berry
  • Doug Ross
  • David Levray
  • Joey Heredia
  • Philip Bynoe
  • Rufus Philpot

Past Bass Faculty

Current Vocal Faculty

Past Vocal Faculty

  • Kevyn Lettau (former Department Chair)
  • Chariya Bissonette (former Interim Chair)
  • Pat Flahive
  • Lauren Flahive
  • Debi Nova
  • Jon Holley
  • Sherry Perri
  • Tim "Ripper" Owens
  • Mindy Stein
  • Diana Booker
  • Irene Garcia
  • Bill Cantos
  • Tina Von Busek
  • Scott Blois
  • Diane Richardson
  • Julie Ragins
  • Alison Wedding
  • Michael Mishaw
  • Alyse Korn

Current Music Production Faculty

  • Sean Halley (Chair)
  • Andre Knecht
  • Andrew Murdock
  • Mark Browne
  • Hugo Mendoza
  • Chase Meyer
  • Dave Beyer
  • Thena Dare
  • Dave Pozzi

Current All School Instructors

  • John Avila
  • Rick Garcia
  • Kacee Clanton
  • Chris Juergensen
  • Dave Pozzi
  • Howie Shear

Past All School Instructors

Master Class Instructors[edit]



  • Cliff Almond
  • Tom Brechtlein


Artists in Residence[edit]




  • Susan Hegarty


  • Oz Noy
  • Tariqh Akoni
  • Mike Miller

Visiting Clinicians[edit]


Alumni of LAMA have performed with many notable artists including: Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, The Black Eyed Peas, Paul Anka, The Calling, Lifehouse, Ricky Martin, Steps Ahead, Hilary Duff, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Sepultura, Airto, Macy Gray, Natasha Bedingfield, Mark Salling and Sérgio Mendes. Alumni include:


Scholarships are available across all music departments for incoming students who demonstrate exceptional musical potential. Candidates are evaluated on a variety of aspects, including feel, technique, musical vision and overall musicality.[11][12]

School/Equipment Sponsors[edit]

Tech 21, Aguilar Amplification, M-Audio, Yamaha, Remo, Zildjian,

Community involvement[edit]

  • Union Station Foundation
  • Guitars Not Guns
  • Rose City High School

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The Campus
  2. ^ Benzuly, Sarah (2009-07-23). "LA Music Academy To Offer Associates Degrees in Music Performance". Mix Magazine (Mix Magazine). p. 1. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  3. ^ "LA Music Academy Scholarship Opportunities". Vintage Guitar Magazine (Alan & Cleo Greenwood). 2007-03-27. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  4. ^ Mills, Michelle (2007-11-03). "Hitting All The Right Notes". Pasadena Star News. p. 1. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  5. ^ LAMA Music Production Instructors
  6. ^ LAMA School Management
  7. ^ Playing With The Pros
  8. ^ Kelman, John (2009-06-02). "L.A. Music Academy Summer Music Camp Kicks Off June 22". All About Jazz Magazine (All About Jazz Magazine). p. 1. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ LAMA Faculty
  11. ^ Amendola, Billy (March 2008). "LA Music Academy Celebrates 10th Anniversary". Modern Drummer Magazine (Modern Drummer). p. 1. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  12. ^ LAMA Scholarships