Tag Archive | college

You’re Invited! LAMA Halloween Costume Party


Trick or Treat! Students and staff haunt the LAMA campus…

We absolutely love Halloween! Get your ghoul on at this year’s costume party, where we’ll feature live music, a DJ and of course, tons of costumes! Students, alumni, staff and their guests are required to wear a costume in order to attend.

While you are there, take a tour of our brand new LAMA North Campus. If you have an October birthday, come celebrate your day-of-birth with fellow Libras and Scorpios including LAMA staffers Wilber and Charisse!

For more information about the evening, and to register to attend, click here.


Saturday October 26, 2013 from 9:00 PM – 1:00 AM PDT


LAMA North Campus (Use Del Mar entrance)

10 E. Del Mar Boulevard

Pasadena, CA 91105

-LAMA Staff

André Knecht Named Co-Chair at LAMA


The LAMA family is very happy to announce André Knecht will co-chair the Music Producing and Recording Department, effective immediately. Current students and grads have been very fond of the former Warner Bros. Records executive’s approach in the classroom setting. He was among the first in the industry to embrace the digital recording era. The promotion comes on the heels of our expansion of the music production degree, which now includes the Composing for Visual Media major. To accommodate additional students and classes, LAMA is adding a new building in Pasadena, just steps north of the current campus.

André will oversee all aspects of the Music Producing and Recording Department and help the college meet the tastes and demands of new students, many of who come internationally to study at LAMA.

From current LAMA Chair Sean Halley:

André is a true master of the technical aspects of audio. He is also as in touch with the sweaty and organic side of production. LAMA students respond well to his passion and approach in the classroom, because they know that his only goal is to see them succeed. His many decades of experience – both as a successful audio engineer and as a marketing executive as Warner Bros – are a welcome addition as LAMA continues to develop and broaden its music producing and recording program.

The Swiss native has an academic and professional background including electronic music studies at Padua University (Italy) and a seven-year stint as sound designer, recording engineer, music supervisor and composer with the Swiss Broadcasting Company (SSR) where he also hosted a number of radio and TV shows. He moved to California in 1983, where he continued his career at Warner Bros. Records.

Halley continues:

André has an intensely solid background in analog technologies but embraced the digital era at its dawn, adopting MIDI and digital audio workstations when they first appeared. André is active as a consultant, freelance engineer and producer, instructor, beta-tester and as technical editor for book projects in the audio field.

Be sure to congratulate André on his new role at LAMA!


Students in class at one of the computer and production labs at LAMA.

For more information, please visit www.lama.edu.

-LAMA Staff

What Kind Of Computer Should I Buy For College

During the dark ages of the early 90s, all you needed to bring to college was clothes, air freshener, your brand new portable CD player and some spending cash. My how things have changed. Since computer technology is a giant part of your daily college routine now, let’s explore your options before making any decisions:


What used to be a very viable option for students is now a relic in the college dorm room or university apartment. But desktops (especially PCs) tend to be extremely cheap and powerful enough to run Pro Tools and GarageBand. You can get a brand new top of the line PC for a few hundred dollars where as other options are usually not as powerful and cost quite a bit more money. With cloud technology, USB flash drives, and document sharing it might be a bit easier to stay connected with your desktop these days but don’t plan on taking it to class unless you have the most awesome handcart 🙂


Laptops have become the computing device for college with Apple taking 1st place. College students are transient by nature so it would make sense that ease of portability would be important. Going home to see your parents? Throw your laptop in your bag. Need to take notes in class digitally? Ditto. LAMA musicians love the MacBook‘s ease of use and can easily do their recording on it. Laptops can get so darn pricey especially if you want an Apple. Go for quality — your laptop should be able to last your entire college career so divide the price by the number of school years to help convince your parents for some extra dough.


Enter the Netbook, a smaller version of the laptop. They are cheaper and lighter as well. The goal is that you need something portable that you can type on and do light browsing with. This is perfect for class because for note taking it is extremely efficient. Students at LAMA are probably weary about this option because it won’t have the horsepower that a musician needs to run ProTools or a similar program. And what’s the point if you take notes, browse the internet and run programs like GarageBand on an iPad…which brings us to:


The Ipad, Samsung Galaxy, HP Touchpad or a similar tablet is a bit of a riskier choice for the college student but it does have some rewards if you are able to pull it off. For one – the ease of carrying around a tablet just can’t be overstated. The slim nature and light weight make this a dream for carrying to class or really carrying anywhere. Also the price tag is usually comparable to or less than a laptop. Taking notes in class is not a big deal — especially if you connect a bluetooth keyboard. You can also wireless connect to a printer or email the document to yourself. For leisure purposes, words can’t even express how great it is to watch HD television shows, play addictive games, and use innovative apps. For musicians – the Ipad is now offering a version of GarageBand but recording on these devices are still in the early stages. Remember, many websites are flash based (ya…still) so you won’t be able to see any of that content on your Apple device.


Check with your college and see what kind of computers they have for shared use. LAMA for example has Apple computers at your disposal for anything you need, be it writing a paper or surfing the web. They are also all equipped with Pro Tools for recording. If you are comfortable working outside of your home or apartment it is possible to rely on public computers. Like anything free, there are negative drawbacks such as you won’t be able to work from home and you have to share a public computer lol.

Our suggestion is to visualize how you see yourself working while at LAMA. Where will you be, what will you be doing, what do you need from your technology? This might help paint a picture of what you should be looking for. Have an older brother or a friend who went through college already? Ask them what worked for them!

What do you prefer – desktop, laptop, tablet? All of the above?

-LAMA Staff

Yelp and Music School Reviews

We really like Yelp, but don't think it should be used for helping you choose your college education!

Yelp.com is a fine place to discover great food or where to shop or hangout. And if you’re like us, you check your Yelp app before heading out to avoid poor establishments, roaches and bad service. But what about bypassing college counselors, books at the library, visiting college campuses and open houses, and turning to the noted academics at Yelp for help decide on a college </sarc>?

Yes, that Yelp. The one where you complain about a new pizzeria or after you get that bad haircut at Supercuts. But we’ve been noticing a growing problem, as more and more reviews pop up for some fellow music schools around the country. There’s a lot of misinformation and misguided reviewers — let’s take some examples from real life Yelpers:

1)”The financial department is disorganized. The school’s bank still owes me money for a mistake they made 2 years ago. Doesn’t look like I’ll be getting that $ any time soon.”

Frankly, if that is true, any attorney would be happy to help you out with that one. This doesn’t really speak about the quality of the music education however, just a completely separate legal issue. It can be handled by your attorney or your credit card company. Instead of commenting on Yelp get a lawyer or
“get loud” and persistent. Talk to your financial department openly and ask for a supervisor if you have problems resolving your account.

2)”Stay away from the wrong people. And if you are normal- stay away from the streets at night.”

Hmmm. If you don’t want to be with a bad crowd or study in the “city,” choose a music school away from all of that. A school like LAMA for example is located in beautiful old-town Pasadena where you can walk down the street any time and stay safe! All one would have to do is tour the school to know that a certain location may not be right for you. This particular Yelper probably didn’t read our “Why Location Matters With Music School” blog post 🙂

3) “My ex spent $30,000 going here to master his drumming techniques.  He graduated, and now he delivers pizza and lives in a garage.”

Resentful much? While slightly humorous, this review is silly. First of all, why is the person who DIDN’T go to the music school reviewing it on Yelp? We can’t help but wonder if this is a case of someone being scorned and taking it out on Yelp like some in that community are known to do. Secondly – if this is true about him delivering pizza and living in a garage he definitely didn’t go to a school where they have a whole section on their website dedicated to careers as well as a career guidance portion, not to mention staff members whose sole job is to guide you to a successful career. Research your schools before you choose to attend them, musicians!

4)”I was actually thinking about going to school here for also drumming but the $$$ thing scares me a bit and all my musician friends in the industry keep saying its not worth the money…..I think I might take their advice and just continue to get private lessons and practice practice practice!”

Let’s think about that for a moment — take private music lessons and you’ll know how quickly those costs add up. Private lessons don’t allow much networking with fellow students or exemplary, seasoned faculty. Do you get clinics and performances by superstars in music during those lessons? What about getting a degree from your private instructor? Doesn’t seem like a solid approach. We’d like to see lessons –> College –> play/teach professionally. These people are not reading this blog. Otherwise they would see our post on how much more musicians with degrees make than those without!

There you have it musicians! This is about all of the fact checking we could handle for one day. The moral of the story — do the research and be smart about it! Call every school you are thinking of going to and ask them to send materials in the mail, go visit the schools, do the hard work. Good luck!

-LAMA Staff

5 Tips: Get Motivated for Music School

When September rolls around here, that means we are preparing for a whole new school year at LAMA. You can just sense the guitarists putting fresh strings on their guitars, drummers getting new sticks, and the vocalists warming up their vocal chords. While it usually is a time of joy for music students sometimes we could all use a little kick in the butt. Was it a long summer? Maybe finances got you down? Don’t stress — even the most ready-to-go music students need a little pep talk. Hopefully you can use these tips to get motivated for a great year of music!

1) Keep Your Eye On The Prize

This often happens to people during the first semester at college: graduation can seem a very long way away. However, it is important to keep your eye on the prize. Sooner than you can imagine, you are going to graduate with that degree. With LA Music Academy, you are going to make great friends, network with wonderful musicians and artists, and you will be on the way to discovering and building your career in the music industry.

2) Remember Why You Chose Music

During a particularly hard study week or a day full of challenging classes, it may be hard to remember that something more powerful than anything else drew you to a music college – passion! Whether it was the first time you heard Led Zeppelin or the first time you picked up the bass, some sort of inspiration sparked a fire inside of you that led you to wanting a music degree. Take ten minutes from studying or in between classes and remember what it was that led you to music. This might help you focus your thoughts and get you inspired for the upcoming challenges.

3) Find Inspiration From Others

If you are a LAMA student, inspiration is all around you — on campus. From the department heads to the teachers, you would do yourself a favor to take a minute and talk with them about their careers. Perhaps ask Ralph Humphrey about his time drumming with Frank Zappa or chat with Tariqh Akoni about his time with Josh Groban. Sometimes even talking with your fellow students about projects that they are working on can be a great idea and very inspirational. Check out the clinics and master classes on campus (they are free too!)  — these are specifically for LAMA students but many schools will have workshops and clinics of their own as well.

4) Positive Visualization

Positive visualization might sound like a hokey way to help you get through a difficult situation, but what if I told you that professional sports teams have used it to win championships? Positive Visualization is the process of imagining what it will feel like in the future and channeling that feeling into your work on the path to that goal. “Think How Good It Will Feel” when you graduate from LAMA or your music school. Take a moment and imagine walking away with your diploma and reflect on that when you are struggling through a class or rehearsal.

5) Remember How Lucky You Are

It might do you good to take a moment and remember that you are ahead of the game— you followed your passion! How many of your friends went a certain route for college just because their parents told them to? While music college can be very challenging and demanding, you were true to your heart and knew that you would be happy in your life only if you were playing music. Congratulations!

There you go friends, students, future students et al. If you find your motivation waning during this upcoming semester, try one or all of these tips and get your head back in the game. It’s important to remember that college is a stepping-stone to the rest of your life. If you are a LAMA student you must remember to take advantage of the faculty and administrators. If a class is too hard, just ask for extra help!

Get to the Music!!

-LAMA Staff

Top 10: Mistakes Music Students Make

You’ve made it! You finally got accepted to the music school of your dreams. You’ve worked so hard for this moment. You have your instrument, a binder, your books, and a new backpack. But wait…the hardest part of your journey is just beginning. There are many perils and risks that await you in your education that could lead to bad grades, dropping out, or expulsion. Don’t be one of those students! Assembled here are the Top 10 Mistakes Music Students Make; so get off to a great start and avoid these like a bad note!


An unfortunate stereotype has been created: that music school is “fun” college where as people who study business and English are in “hard” college. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Music school will test you academically and musically in a way that you have never been tested before. Don’t underestimate music school, treat it the same way a lawyer treats law school!


A lot of students have the perception that studying music will involve jamming all-day and listening to your favorite CDs. Wrong again! While music school involves a lot of musical performance, you should brace yourself because, academically, it’s going to be something you need to bring your “A game” for.


Often times music students will come into music school and think, “I was in choir, band, drumline, and I had a band of my own back home. How much better, skill-wise, could I get?” Answer? To be successful in music school, you MUST get better! Don’t rely on the music skills you think you have; change your mindset and come into music school asking what new skill can I pick up today? Mastering more tools increases your chances of working regularly while establishing your career.


The greatest thing about music school is you will meet many great musicians and teachers from every conceivable background and nationality. Equally, at your music school you will be exposed to literally hundreds of different musical styles and genres that you will be asked to learn. Just because all you listen to at home is “metal,” doesn’t mean you should close your mind off to the other types of music you will learn about. We’re not saying you need to throw out your black t-shirts and dedicate your life to Calypso, but you’ll never know if you aren’t open to new music styles!


Simply put, you are not going to graduate from music school if you don’t set aside a decent amount of time to practicing (and no, playing Guitar Hero doesn’t count!). Brilliant technical musicians have failed in music school because they thought their skills could allow them to coast through school. Not if Mike Packer is teaching your private drum lessons – he can will recommend a 3½ hour daily practice regimen for you!


The worst thing you can find yourself doing when you aren’t getting the material in class or just can’t nail that drum pattern or guitar exercise is keep it to yourself. You are paying tuition so that you have access to a great faculty! Go up to your professor after class and explain what’s wrong. You will be surprised about how happy they are to help you! If you are lucky enough to be a student at LAMA, the student to teacher ratio is purposely kept low so that receiving this extra help is even easier! Also, the school is always happy to discuss your coursework to make sure you are getting the education you need.


If you are just going from the parking lot to the classroom and back you are doing it wrong. Many students go their whole music school career without exploring the many great resources that are available to them on campus to help them on their journey to graduation. LAMA, for instance, has fully equipped practice labs for drummers, guitarists, bassists and vocalists. During your first week of school get acquainted with instructors and administration to make sure you are taking advantage of all the resources the school has to offer.


Just because you have all your scales memorized in your head doesn’t mean staying organized isn’t important! Get yourself a good binder or notebook dedicated to your semester. Divide it up into your different classes; you will be getting a lot of paperwork. Figure out a calendar system, whether it’s online or physical, so you don’t ever forget a class or performance. Don’t underestimate taking some time before the school week starts on Sunday night, to look over your itinerary for the week, to make sure you keep on track.


If you are at a music school (like LAMA), that’s at the heart of the coolest music city ever (Los Angeles), it can be easy to overextend yourself musically. Whether it’s hitting too many concerts or joining in on too many late night jam sessions, it could distract you from your studies at your music school. There will be plenty of time for all the fun that comes with being a music school grad but make sure your musical adventures don’t distract from getting good grades.


Last but certainly not least, network with other students, instructors, administration, local retailers and businesses etc. Get involved around town at music events/mixers or with your performing rights organization for example. Perhaps up your trips to local clubs and festivals. Know your key audience? Join social media sites where they hang out and have a presence there—engage them, network and make new connections.

Well fellow musicians, you did the hard part and got into the school, now it’s up to you to not make any of these mistakes! If you do, don’t get discouraged, pick yourself back up and talk to your teachers to see how you can correct the path you’re on. Never forget how lucky you are in finding something you are passionate about and turning it into a career.

-LAMA Staff

5 Tips: Turn Your School Visit into a Vacation

via timeeco.com

As we have mentioned in previous posts here on Get to the Music, the best way to see if a school is the right choice for you is to actually visit the campus. No matter how much you read about it or look at the slideshows of pictures, there is nothing quite like seeing the campus with your own eyes. Students come from all over the world to attend LA Music Academy…we understand how difficult it can be to visit the school beforehand, so why not turn that into an excuse to vacation? Especially since summer is right around the corner… This can be a great way to “kill two birds with one stone”, save money, and get to check out a new city and potentially, your future music school campus – and at your leisure. Here’s how:

The first thing you need to check out is when the school you want to visit is having open houses or visiting times for prospective students. LAMA, for instance, lists these on its website and Facebook page regularly. You should be aware of weather conditions– if you are visiting Berklee School of Music, the winter months will have very bad snowstorms. The nice thing about LAMA is that weather is nice year-round.

HINT: Los Angeles is one of the only cities with multiple music colleges like LAMA within 10 miles of each other. Not to mention, it’s a top tourist destination and THE entertainment capital of the world.

Before you schedule your trip, make sure to get in contact with the school. Make sure the open house event is confirmed. It is also good to find out if you need to RSVP for it or not. Calling also allows you to “press the flesh” with the school admissions officials who will be deciding whether you get accepted to the school or not. Also, if there is no open house when you want to visit, arrange a personal tour with the admissions. Many schools allow walk-in visits as well.

Now you know when you’re going, the schools you are visiting etc. so when you decide to book your hotel, make sure you do so close to the prospective school(s) and public transportation! The purpose of your trip is two-fold: 1) to get a feel for student life and survey the environment in which you will be studying; 2) and to enjoy your vacation – so you’ll want access to action — the sights and sounds of the city. If you are visiting a school like LAMA, located in Pasadena (a suburb of Los Angeles), you will avoid a lot of the traffic for which LA is known, as well as the higher crime rates and high hotel prices of the urban city. Public transportation is in walking distance of nearly everything in Pasadena and it’s only a 15-20 minute rail ride to downtown Los Angeles – where you can find Staples Center, L.A. Live, Nokia Theatre and the Grammy Museum. From there, a quick transfer to another rail line will have you in the heart of the Hollywood entertainment scene in minutes.

Visiting the school won’t take up too much of your time so don’t forget to have some fun in the city where you are “school-cationing.” Get yourself a calendar (Google Calendars on-line is a great free service you can take anywhere) or start filling in the days on your smartphone. Perhaps you can do your school stuff the first half of the day, and vacation stuff the second half of the day. But make sure you don’t overbook your day of the open house/meeting at the school.

Since you are going to a city on vacation, make sure you do all the fun stuff. Schools in Southern California are certainly going to win the prize since they are in the heart of a tourist destination like Los Angeles. Books and websites like “Lonely Planet” and “Virtual Tourist” are a great resource to find all the must-see attractions. Alternative weeklies like the LA Weekly and the Pasadena Weekly offer a great resource for concerts and other events in the area.

HINT: Los Angeles visitors: make sure to visit Amoeba Records on Sunset, but don’t blow your budget on the amazing finds!

Safe travels future music students! Make sure to keep your eye on the prize. You can always take a vacation but making a good impression at your possible music school can lead to a lifelong career. If you are able to successfully turn your school visit into a vacation, we would love to see your pictures from the trip! Feel free to post them on the Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/LAmusicacademy.

-LAMA Staff

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