Aaron Berg: recalls his GIT days back in 89-90 part 1

Let me set the scene:
Mike Varney say "Virtuoso music is not a trend" but the best period it was 89/90 ... Brett Garsed responds: I agree with Mike in that virtuoso music is not a trend . I think this is proven by the fact that a lot of musicians are still stiving for excellence on their chosen instruments and are forgoing commercial success so as to get their artistic vision out to the public . From teaching so much at Musicians Institute (G.I.T.) I get to see where the young musicians are heading stylistically and fusion is having a huge impact on them . They still want to shred but the emphasis is now on note choice and phrasing . I belive Scott Henderson is one of the main reasons for this . He should be much more well known than he is . I personally owe him a lot of thanks for influencing my playing in the best possible way . The Grunge movement provided us with a well needed break from all the mindless shredding of the late 80's and now everyone is back with a fresh perspective , not to mention more open minds and ears .
from mattcafisi

Aaron Berg attended GIT at that period... a hot house for guys looking to make it big in the guitar world!

Aaron Berg:
When I attended GIT it was '89-90, and many great successes today were there on a daily basis. It was NOT a high paying gig for these individuals, for I'd come close to signing on to teach myself until I found out the hourly wage. Hehe, yeah Paul Gilbert, Nick Nolan, Keith Wyatt, Scott Henderson, Leslie West, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Paul Hanson, Norman Brown, Danny Gill, and Dan Gilbert were there for the experience I guess.

There is a certain, prestige to be an instructor there, and many players had adjusted their own agreements as they became more successful, or more of an asset to Howard Roberts. ( ex-owner/jazz legend) The Japanese own it now, and it's less family like, and more of a conglomerate. I went there in '88 to visit with a bass player ( ala Sheehan/Nikki Sixx) friend from Iowa ( High School/Band mate ), and my father. My dad wanted me to go to actual college, Hehe, but even though I'd been accepted to a handful of Universities, he agreed to taking us out there just to see what MI was all about in person.

We got to the school on a weekday morning, and as we were approaching the school there were 30 or so chicks, and dudes milling around, and filing in with their gig bags, and what have you. I had so much adrenaline, and so many chills at the first sight of this. I thought, Oh my God, all of these people are like me??? It really BLEW my entire mind bro'. I cannot put that first encounter to words. I was highly touted, and hugely supported in Iowa by the Cedar Rapids musicians even at 15, but when I showed up at MIT? I was no longer that special. LOL, I did like the fearful, curious, and always surprising element of the school from day number one. There were SOOOO MANY ( students ) amazing players that one would just bump into, or stumble upon when trying to find an open room to noodle inside the school.

There were also times that I'd be walking the hall, and I'd see you name the guitarist, or just bump into Billy Sheehan, George Lynch, or whomever. It was fucking exciting ALL OF THE TIME inside. It was a feeling that is so difficult to explain, but it was like a blend of terror, humility, and privilege. I did not have a demo like most at the beginning, so Howard Roberts honoured his appointment with my father, and I. We met him as we entered the school, as he was called by security to meet us there. We went upstairs to his office, he'd asked of a demo so he could ascertain what level ( 4 Levels ) I'd be placed in, and he just had me plug in right there. In his office he had some little amps, and a couple guitars. I was petrified. He told me to just relax, and began to ask me to play certain diatonic, or somewhat basic things. So I started playing the chords, modes, keys, or whatever he was grillin' me on. At one point he paused, and told me to play a couple of my own pieces, ideas, so he could see how I composed.

He was impressed??? I was so very relieved, for not 30 minutes before this, I'd walked ( IN HOLLYWOOD ) right into a hornets nest of guitar players. He placed me in the Advanced group, warned me of the rigours, and phenoms from Europe involved with JAZZ Guitar. That became fusion more so now, but back then it was JAZZ. He told me not to be alarmed at the idea, for he felt I had a lot of promise within that group, even though I was really a rock player. In retrospect I do wonder why I didn't really pursue that JAZZ angle much. I was immediately befriended by about 15 other Rock guys in a similar disposition. Sure it was cool to be Level 4, but I, and my gang hid out together very often, listened to Shawn Lane bootlegs in P-100 in the dark, and thought the JAZZ guys were nerds, and uncool.

I was even rebellious at MI eventually, and I just showed up when I felt like it!!! LOL, I had managed to fall short of the hours needed to get the diploma, but hell I was there, I did it, and it was on my terms...