Did you ever get to see the Mars Volta play live? It was always an epic show creating and destroying musical boundaries. There was one man at the center of it all holding down the rhythm and bringing us that amazing low end. That man is Juan Alderete and as we announced on the LAMA site last week, he has joined the LAMA Bass Department as an Artist-in-Residence.
Juan has been on our radar here at the blog even before his turn with TMV. He played bass with LA noise legends Distortion Felix on their Steve Albini produced debut “I’m an Athlete” and his work with Racer X is equally cool. Juan has invested in his own musical projects of late including Big Sir and Vato Negro and recently launched the extremely popular website, www.pedalsandeffects.com. He is endorsed by Fender Basses and Behringer.
We asked LAMA alumni and current LAMA private instructor Peter Boskovich to answer a few questions about his role at LAMA and what it was like studying at the school in Los Angeles. He also offers some great advice and tips for any music student or individual thinking of pursuing their music degree.
1. What is your current role at LAMA?
I’m a private instructor in the bass and producer department (producer students also take a quarter of bass and guitar lessons) and am an accompanist in Tierney Sutton’s ‘instrumentalist point of view’ classes, Ralph Humphrey’s ‘style and analysis’ and ‘contemporary’ classes among many others.
2. You attended LAMA, and graduated from the bass department. When was that and can you tell us more about your experience?
Graduated 2004. My experience in the bass department and as a student in general was a very special one. I was fortunate to be surrounded by other very eager and determined students who pushed and inspired me to give it my all to tackle the curriculum and absorb the information as quickly as I could. I remember the atmosphere of ‘friendly competition’ that drove us to play our best in every class. By the end of my enrollment I can honestly say I was ready to get out and start gigging, although I have had a few bruises and bumps along the way, but overall I felt prepared. I’ve played with many players all over the city coming from all over the world and I couldn’t have done it without the preparation I received at LAMA.
3. What advice do you have for young musicians looking to get their music degree at LAMA?
Don’t hesitate for one, and when you decide to commit to this institution as your place of learning, give it more than 110% like I did and you won’t regret a thing. I still work with many of the dear friends I met as a student while at LAMA and continue to grow as a musician in the many professional settings afforded me by them. The musical circles I work in all have many ties to the school even though the musicians might not have studied here. LAMA is a great stepping-stone to get out into the city and start making musical relationships. Also, it is important that you learn how you absorb information while in school, as we all learn in different ways. I feel the curriculum along with the ensemble workshops are structured in a way that allows each student both the time and varied situations to absorb the material in ways that accommodate their levels of understanding.
4. What is the best part about studying music in Los Angeles?
It’s LA man! Come one. I love this city with all of its diversity and varied cultural offerings. There is no excuse for boredom in a town like this. World-class players left and right, and myriad of venues in which to do so. You can find inspiration any night of the week with all that is going on musically in this town.
5. Why did you start playing music?
I started playing music because I hated football so much. It was exhausting and it hurt a lot when I’d get leveled on the field. Music was much nicer, and I was much better at it. You also don’t have to wear those funny uniforms and instead get to look cool in front of a lot of people.
6. Tell us about your current musical projects etc.:
I’m actively gigging as a sideman in several jazz trio’s and quartets at the moment. I have a project called Splice The Mainbrace with fellow teacher/instructor Jackson Allen that has started to play out. We are both very excited about it and feel it an honest representation of our musical tastes and ambitions at the moment.
I am also (and this might sound strange) working on an album of my own original tunes with me singing while playing chordal accompaniment on the bass. I’ve explored chordal approaches to bass playing, and have also developed a deep appreciation for the songwriting idiom. Between these two projects, and an endless list of things to practice and prepare for, I’m very excited about life and where it might take me.
It’s that time of year! Students doing their finals and showcases all around LAMA. The March 21 vocal showcase (at LAMA, 8pm) for Artist Development Director Dorian Holley means three guest judges will be joining us this evening, and what credits they have! Meet the judges below — and best of luck to our students!
Scott Wojahn is a composer, producer, arranger and singer-songwriter. He is one half of Wojahn Bros Music in Santa Monica, California, a boutique music production company specializing in commercials and television. Since 1990, WBM has created award winning original and branded music for some of the most recognizable national and global companies, from Ford to AT&T and American Idol, working with artists including Vince Gill, Buddy Guy and Shawn Colvin.
Scott lives, writes and performs around Los Angeles.
Windy was sung on more than 350 songs on the hit FOX television show GLEE. Windy is also an on set lip sync coordinator that works directly with the actors on the show.
“Pitch Perfect”, “Rock of Ages” (vocal contractor), “Selena Gomez”, “The Lorax”, “The Muppet Movie”, “Barbra Streisand”, “Phineas and Ferb”, “Polly Pocket” (various spots), “Monster High” Barbie, “Tom and Jerry”, “Pixie Hollow” Disney, “Shake it Up” Disney Channel, “Mad TV”, “Folgers, Marshalls, Macys, Twist, K-Mart”, “The Hulk”, “Zu Zu Pets”, “Sponge Bob Square Pants”, “Dance Revolution”, “Teen Spirit”, Texas Lottery”, “Tinkerbell”, Sketchers and various Fox promos.
THEME SONGS: “Good Luck Charlie”, “Hannah Montana and “Sunny with a Chance” All still running, the Disney Channel
BRITNEY SPEARS, SELENA GOMEZ, KELLY CLARKSON, TONY BENNETT, MICHAEL BUBLE, NEIL YOUNG, BARBRA STRESAND, BETTE MIDLER, KD LANG, JENNIFER LOPEZ, GLEE, MILEY CYRUS, AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD to name a few.
Windy also toured as a backup singer for k.d. lang.
Nick Cooper guides the careers of several A-List recording artists. He has worked on American Idol, Opening Act, and Mary Mary.playing an integral role in artist development of the cast. He has coached J-Lo and help prepare Nikki Minaj for her world tour. Beyonce called on Nicholas to arrange songs for what was considered one of her best performances. Nicholas Cooper is the first African-American to creative-direct a television show for Hunan Television and Suhu.com. Last but not least, Nicholas just launched his (15,000 square foot) corporate headquarters to house his new online television network (HeliumTV), and artist development center (The Vocal Corner Store). With a world class recording studio, two live stages, 6 private rehearsal rooms/ sets, a 1,200 square foot dance studio, online radio station, and 5,000 square feet of open space.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all at LAMA!
LAMA alumni Ryan Lacey (pictured; second from left) and his band Gaelic Storm (they have a Billboard #1 World Album) take the stage today for a 100% LIVE, jig-inducing St. Patrick’s Day performance on Mark Cuban’s AXS TV channel at 5pm (PT)/8pm (ET). Check your local listings!