Musicians Institute

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Musicians Institute
Musicians Institute logo.png
Former names
Guitar Institute of Technology
Musicians Institute of Technology
TypeFor-profit education
PresidentTodd Berhorst
Academic staff
United States

Musicians Institute (MI) is a for-profit college of contemporary music in Los Angeles, California. MI students can earn Certificates and – with transfer of coursework taken at Los Angeles City College – Associate of Arts Degrees, as well as Bachelor of Music Degrees in either Performance or Composition. The college was founded in 1977.


Founders Howard Roberts and Pat Hicks[edit]

Musicians Institute was founded as The Guitar Institute of Technology in 1977 as a one-year vocational school of guitarists and bassists. Its curriculum and pedagogical style was shaped by guitarist Howard Roberts (1929–1992). Pat Hicks (né Patrick Carroll Hicks; born 1934),[2][3][4] a Los Angeles music industry entrepreneur, was the co-founder of Musicians Institute. He is credited for providing the organizational structure and management that rapidly transformed Howard Roberts' educational philosophy into a major music school.[5][6][7]

Programs added under Roberts and Hicks include:

  • 1978: Bass Institute of Technology (BIT)
  • 1980: Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT)
  • 1987: Vocal Institute of Technology (VIT)
  • 1991: Keyboard Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • 1993: Recording Institute of Technology (RIT)
  • 1994: Bachelor of Music Degree

Early curricular offerings[edit]

At the time of its founding, formal education in rock and roll at institutions of higher learning was limited mostly to universities and conservatories offering jazz studies, which were few. At the founding of the Musicians Institute, Jazz studies was, and is today, a strong component of the curricular offerings. In early days of the Musicians Institute, the demand for musicians and music industry professionals with comprehensive collegiate credentials in the field of contemporary music was low. Yet, the demand for contemporary music professionals was high. Roberts, when he founded the school, wanted to give aspiring rock and roll musicians a conservatory experience. Nowadays, comprehensive music education in higher education, from bachelors to doctorates, covers rock and roll from several perspectives, including literature, musicology, history, performing arts, technology, business, and law. For musicians working towards degrees in performance, proficiency in rock and roll is standard, particularly for aspiring session musicians.

The rise of contemporary musicians holding comprehensive academic credentials over the last 50 years is partly the result of more universities offering programs in the field, which, in turn, has increased the demand for contemporary oriented music educators with academic credentials at universities. Because the Musicians Institute was an innovator in rock and roll in higher education – and twenty-seven years ago began offering bachelor of music degrees – its alumni are well-represented as educators of contemporary music at institutions of higher learning.

Japanese businessman Hisatake Shibuya (born 1937)[8] bought the school in 1994 and Musicians Institute began developing new programs to keep abreast of the modern music industry. Programs added under Shibuya include:

  • 2000: Independent Artist Program (IAP)
  • 2000: Audio Engineering
  • 2000: Guitar Craft Academy (GCA)
  • 2002: Music Business Program (MBP)
  • 2016: DJ Performance and Production (DJP)
  • 2016: Associate of Science in Music Business (AS.MB)
  • 2017: MI Online (MIO)
  • 2018: Artist Producer and Entrepreneur (APE)
  • 2018: Master in Music Degree (MM)

On 25 August 2007, the Los Angeles City Council adopted a resolution declaring 25 August 2007, "Musicians Institute Day in the City of Los Angeles" in recognition of its achievements over three decades during its 30th anniversary celebration. The resolution was presented by Eric Garcetti, seconded by Tom LaBonge, and passed by a vote of twelve to zero out of fifteen, three being absent.[9]

Former institutional and division names[edit]

Active names

  • MI College of Contemporary Music™ (service mark & trade mark)[Trademarks 1]
  • MI Connects™ (service mark)[Trademarks 2] – online talent resource for students and alumni
  • MI Musicians Institute™[Trademarks 3]
  • Guitar Craft Academy™ – for the design, construction, and maintenance of guitars and basses

Trademark names of Campus Hollywood

  • Tricycle Entertainment™ (service mark – abandoned in 2004)

Former names

  • Guitar Institute of Technology (service mark – became inactive 22 June 1990)
  • Vocal Institute of Technology (service mark – became inactive 19 May 1989)[Trademarks 4]
  • Bass Institute of Technology
  • Percussion Institute of Technology
  • Keyboard Institute of Technology
  • Recording Institute of Technology (trademark – became inactive 5 December 2005)
  • Film Institute of Technology (trademark – became inactive 5 December 2005)
  • Encore Program
  • World Institute of Percussion (launched in 1987)

Trademark notes

  1. ^ "MI College of Contemporary Music™," United States Patent and Trademark Office
        Reg. No. 4662703, 20 December 2014
        Reg. No. 4659008, 23 December 2014
  2. ^ "MI Connects™," United States Patent and Trademark Office
        Reg. No. 4056217, 5 November 2011
  3. ^ "MI Musicians Institute™," United States Patent and Trademark Office
        Reg. No. 3630659, 2 June 2009
        Reg. No. 3630655, 2 June 2009
        Reg. No. 3380297, 12 February 2008
        Reg. No. 3380290, 12 February 2008
        Reg. No. 1598974, 29 May 1990
  4. ^ "Vocal Institute of Technology™," United States Patent and Trademark Office
        Reg. 6 September 1988
        Abandoned 19 May 1989


The Musicians Institute offers instrumental performance programs for bass, drums, guitar, keyboard technology, and vocals. Music industry programs include audio engineering, Independent Artist Program, the Guitar Craft Academy and Music Business. The school offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Bachelor of Music degrees in addition to certificates.

The Institute of International Education, in its assessment of "Top 40 Specialized Institutions, 2009/10," from its publication, International Students: Leading Institutions by Institutional Type, ranked Musicians Institute 13 in the United States out of 40.[10] Musicians Institute and its programs are registered by the state of California by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.[11] It has been an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) since 1981.[12][13]

In 1992, new musicologist Robert Walser cited the Musicians Institute as one of the best-known schools for guitarist, one that has flourished outside the ivory tower, offering students broader professional training.[14] But a trade-off, according to a review in the October 2012 issue of Performer Magazine, is that a lack of academic accreditation – specifically from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – can make it challenging for students to transfer credits from MI to academic institutions.[15] To meet the academic criteria for a Bachelor of Music Degree – 45 quarter units or 30 semester units in liberal arts – the Musicians Institute has a partnership with nearby Los Angeles City College (LACC) to study English, mathematics, natural science, social science, and humanities. LACC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges[a] The Carnegie Foundation has designated the Musicians Institute as a "Special Focus Institute in Music."[16]

Facilities and constituent institutions[edit]

Facilities When MI celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2007, its facilities included over 75,000 square feet of studios, performance venues, classrooms, and practice rooms across several blocks in central Hollywood. As of 2013, the Musician's Institute Stage was added as a venue for the Annual Mayhem Festival. December 2013, The ESP Company, LTD, unveiled plans to expand its Campus Hollywood complex of schools in Los Angeles. From 2010 to 2013, ESP invested $47 million in new property and will expand its facility to exceed 180,000 square feet of adjoining buildings on or near Highland Avenue between Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Boulevard. The expansion is part of a reorganization and upgrade of existing Campus Hollywood properties that accommodate the Musicians Institute, Theatre of Arts, International Dance Academy, and Elegance International. The new facilities will include a performance venue, student dormitory, and parking lots. The Hollywood Campus constituent institutions will become more integrated with one another.[17]

Constituent institutions of Campus Hollywood, Inc. – Hisatake Shibuya, President

  1. Musicians Institute – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  2. Theatre of Arts, 1536 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, an acting school founded in 1927 – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  3. Elegance International, 1622 N. Highland Ave., a school for professional makeup artists – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  4. Los Angeles College of Music, 300 South Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, California – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  5. International Dance Academy Hollywood, 6755 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 200 Hollywood – Hisatake Shibuya, President

International sister educational institutions

  1. MI Japan (ja)Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai and Fukuoka – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  2. UTB Video Academy (ja), Chiyoda, Tokyo, founded in 1998 under the auspices of United Television Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (ja)
  3. ESP Entertainment, Kita-ku, Osaka – Hisatake Shibuya, President

Other entities closely held by Hisatake Shibuya

  1. Hollywood Entertainment ESL, founded as a California corporation in 2012, active (as of 2015) – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  2. ESP Investment Holdings, Inc., founded as a California corporation in 2010, active (as of 2015) – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  3. ESP Gakuen, founded as a Japan corporation in 2001, registered as a foreign non-profit corporation in California, active (as of 2015) – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  4. Schecter Guitar Research, acquired by Shibuya in 1987 – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  5. ESP Company, Limited, doing business as ESP Guitars, founded by Shibuya in 1975 – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  6. United Television Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (ja), a Japanese language television station based in Los Angeles and syndicated in Japan
  7. E.S.P. Shibuya Enterprises, Inc., founded as a California corporation in 1998, active (as of 2015) – Hisatake Shibuya, President

Inactive entities that were closely held by Hisatake Shibuya

  1. Tricycle Records, Inc., founded as a California corporation in 2001, dissolved – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  2. ESP Co., LTD., doing business in California as ESP Real Estate Investment, Inc., registration surrendered – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  3. Entertainment Enterprises Hollywood, Inc., founded as a California corporation, dissolved – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  4. CHMG, Inc., founded as a California corporation, no longer active – Hisatake Shibuya, President
  5. Hollywood Pop Academy, Inc., founded in 2003 as a California corporation, no longer active – Hisatake Shibuya, President

Musicians Institute Press[edit]

The Musicians Institute Press is a division of the Musicians Institute, and is focused on instructional publications – print and video – by instructors of guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and film editing, audio engineering, composition, arranging, musicology, music theory, sight reading, sight singing, and the entertainment business. The publications are distributed by the Musicians Institute and Hal Leonard Corporation Performing Arts Publishing Group.[18] Since 1997, the publishing imprint has been the "Musicians Institute Press." Before that, from about 1982 to 1997, the imprint was "Musicians Institute Publications."

Notable faculty[edit]

Faculty – current and former

Guest instructors – current and former

Notable alumni[edit]

Language codes

hr = Croatian
de = German
el  = Greek
es = Spanish
fi   = Finnish
fr   = French
ja  = Japanese
it   = Italian
nl  = Dutch
pt  = Portuguese
sv  = Swedish
tr   = Turkish
zh = Chinese


  1. ^ "Ron Eschete Interview,", by Doug Perkins, Jazz Guitar Society blog (, 12 September 2014 (retrieved 2 January 20145)
  2. ^ a b "Henderson, Scott," Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press (retrieved 5 January 2015); OCLC 5576124099
  3. ^ "'Voice' Coach Debra Byrd Named Vocal Chair at Musicians Institute," by Michele Amabile Angermiller, Billboard, 4 October 2013
  4. ^ Sharon Agular Archived 31 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Howard Alden (DVD), Hamilton College Jazz Archive (2003); OCLC 55628013, 895054200
  6. ^ "FAQ – Musicians Institute".
  7. ^ "David Becker".
  8. ^ "Jean Marc Belkadi has written 11 instructional book/CD sets published by Hal Leonard /Musicians Institute Private Lessons/Press]".
  9. ^ "Norman Brown bio". Norman Brown. Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  10. ^ The International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002, Andy Gregory (ed.), Europa Publications (2002); pg. 65; OCLC 50172992 ISSN 1740-0163
  11. ^ "Extract from Dream Brother: The Lives And Music Of Jeff And Tim Buckley," The Guardian, 16 December 2000 (Retrieved 13 September 2011)
  12. ^ "Michael Campese: Artist-Composer-Arranger". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Douglas R. Docker Official Biography". Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  14. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 13 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  15. ^ "Frank Gambale".
  16. ^ "Gambale, Frank," Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press (retrieved 5 January 2015); OCLC 5576125358
  17. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold - Synyster Gates Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment".
  18. ^ "Gewelt, Terje," Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press (retrieved 5 January 2015); OCLC 5576124406
  19. ^ Herring, Jimmy (2008). "Biography 1980". Official Jimmy Herring Website. Blueback Music. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  20. ^ "Matt Mcjunkins (About)".
  21. ^ "Christopher Maloney".
  22. ^ "Rafael Moreira (GIT '98) | Jan 01, 2005 | Success Story at Musicians Institute". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  23. ^ "Warwick Basses Amps & Rock'n Roll". Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  24. ^ "Eric Vandenberg website". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  25. ^ The Ultimate Breathing Workout (rev. ed.), by Jaime J. Vendera (born 1969), Jaime Vendera Publications (2009), pg. 73; OCLC 252975393

Primary sources


  1. ^ a b c d "Guitar School Opens March 7," Billboard, 22 January 1977, pg. 97
  2. ^ "Trading Licks At The School of Rock: Musicians Institute Is Noisy And Counts Prof. Van Halen Among Its Visiting Lecturers. School's Mission is to Help Students Make Careers in Music," by Josh Meyer, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 1990
  3. ^ Secrets from the Masters: Conversations With Forty Great Guitar Players From the Pages of Guitar Player Magazine Don Menn (ed.), Backbeat Books (1992), pg. 208; OCLC 47008282
  4. ^ "Higher Ground: A Look at Guitar in Higher Education," by Jason Shadrick, Premier Guitar 1 August 2012
  5. ^ Book review: "Trading Fours: The Golden Years of Musicians Institute," Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine Bass Musician Magazine (, 8 June 2011 (accessed 13 September 2011)
  6. ^ "Musicians Institute Founder Highlights Famed Facility's Beginnings" (Press release). Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
  7. ^ Trading Fours: The Golden Years of Musicians Institute, by Pat Hicks (né Patrick Carroll Hicks; born 1934), Sedona, Arizona: Crystal Sky Books (2011); OCLC 875427203
  8. ^ "Meet the Founders: Hisatake Shibuya, ESP Board Chairman," Tokyo: Japan Music Trades (, 5 April 2011
  9. ^ "Musicians Institute Day in the City of Los Angeles," 07-2693, Los Angeles City Council, 17 August 2007
  10. ^ "Top 40 Specialized Institutions, 2009/10," from its publication, International Students: Leading Institutions by Institutional Type
  11. ^ "Musicians Institute - 2018 Annual Report Summary". Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  12. ^ "College Navigator - Musicians Institute". National Center for Education Statistics. 9 January 1980. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  13. ^ "GIT Accredited," Music Educators Journal: Bulletin Board, No. 67, No. 7, March 1981, pg. 100; ISSN 0027-4321
  14. ^ "Music Education 101: Intro to Higher Learning," Performer, Vol. 22, No. 10, October 2012, pg. 46
  15. ^ "Musicians Institute," Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (retrieved 6 January 2015)
  16. ^ "ESP Set to Expand Campus Hollywood," Vintage Guitar, 10 December 2013
  17. ^ Musicians Institute Press through Hal Leonard
  18. ^ "Bishop Briggs Reaches for You on "The Way I Do"".
  19. ^ a b "Musicians Institute," by Niyaz Pirani, 1 March 2005, Campus Circle ( Los Angeles: Campus Circle, Incorporated, 1 March 2005
  20. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°06′03″N 118°20′14″W / 34.100796°N 118.337297°W / 34.100796; -118.337297