Did you have any famous classmates when you were the school? What about Berklee? Ms. Seo Mun Tak was studying at my time. She is famous. I also heard Henry who plays the violin started at the same time of my admission but I’ve never seen him though. I see. Let me list the big names from Berklee. Imagine Dragons, Charlie Puth, the key members of Dream Theater. and I heard Steve Vai also went there. And John Mayer, I heard he left after his 2nd year. – John Scofield.
– Is he? Yeah it seems so. There are many musicians who at least passed Berklee. Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Nathan East and Keith Jarrett. Every year, new names are added. Esperanza Spalding is one of the names too. From MI, we have names like Jeff Buckley, Frank Gambale, John Fruciante and Chad Smith from RHCP. And Paul Gilbert. At the entrance of MI, we have this huge photograph of Paul Gilbert. I see. He’s an iconic alumni for sure. Scott Henderson and Allen Hinds, aren’t they teaching there? Yes they are. I was taught by Allen Hinds in the private lessons. Can you please share us about this private lesson? How are you taught? There are organized professors who have their own curriculums. They are really like ‘professor’ who are really talented teachers. However Allen Hinds and Scott Henderson, they are rather performing at the field right? They are sometimes spontaneous in teaching. They customize their materials to the students’ needs. – Do they tailor the curriculums differently to each student?
– Yes, pretty much. I see. It’s not like strictly scheduled curriculum. There are those types of teacher as well though. But in AA, just few of them… AA is the Associated Degree huh? I see. I guess there are some tendencies of stereotyping the music school students in negative ways. That’s true. I understand that and partially agree that. However learning music in the US, what’s the beauty of it? First, meeting musicians from all over the world will widen your view. It really will. Also your attitude of music will change. I also liked the curriculum itself. But on top of that I improved myself largely jamming with the people in the ensemble classes. In fact, you can’t learn that from elsewhere. And when else would I be allowed to concentrate purely on music for 2 or 4 years? Back then, it was the time that I may wholeheartedly concentrate on music only. There’s nothing to compare that. Does MI tend to accept various music style of each student? – MI really let us embrace our characteristics.
– Do they? Although there are many jazzers, still rock and pop are strong. And we have this unique class called LPW – Live Performance Workshop. We perform different genre every week. For example Pop LPW this week and Blues LPW next week or so. For instance of Blues LPW, we perform this piece by BB King then next week we play John Mayer and so on. We practice the song and gather at a class. And any volunteers can perform on site. Then they are assessed. Tutors says like “You got 95”. The tutors comment like “You got 95” or “I wish your tone should be a bit more bluesy” or so. That LPW is the great parts of MI. Could you list some advantages of your school each? I’ll go. Open Counseling by the well-known teachers like Allen Hinds and Scott Henderson, you can meet them with in the session. Guitar students gather in this room to learn from the teacher. We could ask him directly about anything and the teacher answer. Since some busy teachers like Allen Hinds, Scott Henderson or Dean Brown cannot provide private lesson to every student. You might end up not having any lesson with one of them. If you’re the case, you’d better to utilize this Open Counselling sessions. Ask questions. That session is epic. You can even jam with the teacher. Ah, It’s rather an intimate session. Yes, it’s very casual session. Sometimes very spontaneous like, I could ask “what’s your rig?”. You can acquire the knowledge straightly from the virtuosos huh? Yes, I asked “what pedals do you use?”, “what guitar is it?”. Old vintage it is? Things like that. He’s got an old vintage Fender. I bought one inspired by Allen Hinds. – Open Counselling, right?
– Yes, I believe that’s a beauty of MI. At Berklee, we’re strong at several points. Firstly, the sold curriculums as I told you before. Secondly, there are too many great concerts at the school. Well known musicians frequently perform there. You can watch great gigs with good price or even free. Thirdly, we have this facility called Learning Center. If you’re struggling with some difficult learning materials and you request the help, they coordinate a tutor for you. The tutors are students who are good at the topics. It’s free. Use the service. It’s really nice system. To what sort of person would you recommend your school? Who do you wish to come? I don’t wanna devalue the Bachelor Degreee but MI’s AA let you learn really intensely. Well, Bachelor is great. It helps your job searching or so. But if you don’t need it and you wanna just concentrate on music in somewhat short period like 1 and half year, MI would be the one for you. In short time, Spartan way and focusing on music, you should go to MI. In the short period, take advantage the Open Counselings and keep attending the lessons. So you’d better to manage your time wisely since your schedule would be tight. How about Berklee? To whom would you recommend? Well, I would say anyone who loves music. I’m getting to know how much hard it is to sustain my life solely with music, However back then at Berklee, I was too busy too think about that matter. I didn’t really thought about how I could sustain my financial status safe because only thing I needed to do was music back then. I just loved this music which I encountered at that moment. It was the golden time for me to focus on music. Such a music lover should come to Berklee. And experience many things. So, Berklee helps the real music lovers to focus on music. I love that. What did you find hard when you were the schools? – That must English.
– The language barrier? If you can’t speak English well, you would be unconfident. In my case I became bubbly after the point I graduate MI. Back then my English was so bad. I hardly understood the classes. I couldn’t take the advantage of the jam sessions I ended up to study hard and just get good mark. That was it. What’s the point of getting good mark? You should be good at music instead. Similar to me. If anyone asked me, “what should I prepare for Berklee?”, my answer will be English. If you can speak the language, you have more chances to be a friend of more people. One thing I regret at my Berklee time is that I didn’t hang out with non-Korean friends so often. Korean is minority race in the US. What does it mean to you having the identity of Korean? What do you need to do? Would you advise anything? I guess you have a lot of thoughts. I have bunch of thoughts on that matter. As Josh said, I think musician is hard job. In particular as a Korean in the US? That’s not easy. – Besides that, I think we have chances at this time.
– You mean now? Yes. In my view, the door for Asian musicians is rather opened wider right now. Therefore, I wish you not to worry about anything like racial discriminations. – In music field, I think there is quite no racial discrimination.
– True. I think there’s nothing like that. It’s opened to Asians or Koreans. At least LA is. – I strongly believe there is no racial boundary in music field.
– True. So do I. One thing I emphasize is that, Apart from your musical skill, this does matter. The look – such as, such as awesome hair style and wardrobe. Being good at that, they tend to play even a single note like THIS instead of this. The look actually matters. And it’s very important. In this time, musicians should care about their look. It’s been with the two musicians in LA. I wish this interview would be helpful if you’re thinking of Berklee or MI. – Thank you two for having me.
– Cheers. Good bye.