Month: October 2020

2020 George Duke Keyboard Scholarship WINNER: Ben Xu

Hongbin Xu (Ben)

Ben (Hongbin) Xu

Keyboardist Ben Xu is the winner of the prestigious George Duke Keyboard Scholarship at Musicians Institute.

The multi-talented Bachelor of Music Performance student comes to MI by way of China having performed and studied a wide array of musical genres including: Classical, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Neo-Soul and Pop music on the piano and keyboard.

Ben explains that he chose to study at Musicians Institute because “two years ago I decided to study music professionally and I found MI’s official website.  I learned that the MI keyboard program not only had performance courses but also DAW courses such as Logic and Protools, that helped me to decide to come to MI.”

During his studies, he plans a continued focus on “understanding harmony as many ways as possible and to improve the phrasing in my improvisations. Barry Harris once said “You don’t think about the chords. You just play a melody.”

After MI, Ben’s career aspirations are to “become a professional musician eventually, be a gigging keyboard player and producer.”

Everyone at MI congratulates Ben on this achievement.   We look forward to seeing him reach his full potential while at MI.

Special thanks to Rich Buchanan and James Chesser on behalf of the Stanley Clarke Scholarship Foundation; who generously funded this scholarship to honor the exceptional talents and artistic career of the legendary George Duke. The scholarship provides talented students like Ben with the support, tools and recognition they need to launch successful and creative careers in the music industry.

Stanley Clarke announces the creation of the George Duke Keyboard Scholarship in 2019

The Musicians     Foundation:2019-20 GuideStar Platinum Seal

Greg Priest Memorial Drum Scholarship at Musicians Institute Winner: Lina Anderberg

Lina Anderberg

The Drum Program at Musicians Institute and The Musicians Foundation are pleased to announce that Lina Anderberg has been named the winner of the prestigious Greg Priest Memorial Drum Scholarship, which was created to honor the life and career of MI alumnus Greg Priest.

When the talented, multi-stylistic drummer (pop, funk/soul, hybrid) was asked to share her thoughts about receiving this scholarship award, Lina stated: “This means so much to me, I can’t describe it in words. I’ve been trying to do my best in school, and this scholarship gives me an acknowledgment of what I’ve accomplished so far.  I’m very honored and grateful for this.” 

As a continuing student at MI, Lina described her educational experience as follows, “The teachers in the Drum program are the best, I’ve grown so much during my time at MI. I’m looking back at my first quarter when I could barely read a single note, and I cried every day for weeks, wanting to quit. I really want to thank my Reading, Technique, and Performance instructors for not giving up on me!  I want to give very special thanks to Fred Dinkins, who has great patience, sees all my weaknesses and gives me endless with tools to develop as a drummer and musician.”

Lina Anderberg

She acknowledged that her future professional goals and career aspirations have evolved during her studies at MI.  Lina shared that “I’ve developed a big interest in modern pop-country music, and the artists I’d like to play with live in Nashville, so I’m thinking about moving there after I graduate. I also have a strong interest in songwriting and playing multiple instruments.  That’s something I want to continue working on and hopefully write songs for other people.”

Everyone at MI congratulates Lina on this achievement. We look forward to seeing her reach her full potential while at MI.

Greg Priest

Greg Priest

We thank the family and friends of MI alum Greg Priest for their generous support of this scholarship and the education of a deserving MI Drum student.

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Akshay Dakhane

Musicians Institute and The Musicians Foundation are pleased to announce that current MI student Akshay Dakhane is the recipient of the 2020 Takamine Acoustic Guitar Scholarship.  Akshay comes to MI’s Guitar Program from Mumbai, India with several years of guitar playing and performing experience in multiple genres including Blues, Jazz, R&B, Country, Rock, and Indie music.

Akshay shared that his primary areas of focus during his MI Guitar Program studies include: “expediting my songwriting process, guitar playing, theory, ear training, keyboard playing, songwriting, music business, marketing, Photoshop and production (Ableton).  He also added that “I am currently enrolled in the Guitar AA Degree Program with an emphasis on Independent Artist Program. MI has been a plethora of information so far! There is so much to learn.”

He sees his MI education as an important key to achieving his dream of one day being able to “entertain people and make them smile. I want to write controversial songs, bringing attention to charities I believe are doing something noble like feeding the underprivileged and educating them to change their circumstances. I aspire to write music that is thought provoking, something I feel is lacking in music produced today.”

When asked what does winning this scholarship award  mean to you?  Akshay shared “I’m going to be honest, I really really wanted this scholarship! I don’t have an acoustic guitar and I really wanted a Takamine guitar. Every time I used to practice in school, I used to borrow the Takamine acoustic guitar from the MI library. I can’t wait to play the new guitar!”

He added, “on a serious note, due to COVID-19, every industry has suffered economically, including my father’s. My parents are supporting me financially to go to MI and I’m deeply grateful to them. Just to have a little burden taken off their shoulders helps immensely. Thank you Takamine!”

Everyone at MI congratulates Akshay on winning this prestigious scholarship award, as he continues his studies at MI!

Special thanks to our longtime industry partner, ESP and Takamine Guitars for generously sponsoring this scholarship, which helps to provide talented students like Akshay with the support, tools and recognition they need to launch successful careers in the music industry.

Be sure to visit Takamine Guitars  to learn more their full line of guitar products, and their exciting partnership with ESP Electric Guitars.


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