ESP Guitars

2021 ESP ROCK GUITAR SCHOLARSHIP at Musicians Institute Winner: Brian Lopez

Brian Lopez

Musicians Institute and The Musicians Foundation are pleased to announce that current MI student Brian Lopez  is the recipient of the Fall 2021  ESP Rock Guitar Scholarship.  Brian comes to MI’s Guitar Program from Los Angeles, with 9 years of guitar playing experience and a versatile array of playing skills in multiple genres and a strong focus in Rock.

Brian shared a bit with us about his experience prior to becoming a student at MI, “I’ve had many opportunities to perform at my middle school and at my high school. My local middle school’s music program (called LACER) was kind enough to actually book me and my rock band gigs to perform at the House Of Blues, the Grammy Museum, and other small venues. I was able to gain a lot of performing experience, developed a passion and truly fell in love with playing guitar.”

When asked why he chose to study at MI, he stated, “When I came to MI, I did not know what to expect, beyond knowing that this is the place in which I will grow the most and learn the most from other musicians and from my teachers. I came to MI hoping to learn a lot about technique, theory, rhythm reading, and songwriting. Now that I’ve attended MI’s online program for 2 quarters, it’s seriously all I’ve ever wanted as a musician and more.  I’m committed to be better at what I do, and while this school has been the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, it is (by far) the best choice of my life.”

“My parents can’t afford college or provide finances for me (and my siblings) due to having a low income. I’m entirely grateful to my parents, they saw my dreams and desires in music, and they’re the reason why I’m attending MI. This ESP scholarship means a lot to me because it will help me continue my studies at MI and encourage me to keep working as hard as possible.”

Brian sees his education as an important key to achieving his dream of one day being able to “help young musicians like myself have a chance at what they love to do in music. I’ve always wanted to give back to those who have helped me all along the way. Something that’s been tugging at me is to go back to the LACER program I mentioned and help young students gain a fountain of music education and to  provide instruments for them. Another goal I have is to join a CCM band and tour the world as a musician representing MI.”

Everyone at MI congratulates Brian on winning this prestigious scholarship award!

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

Be sure to visit ESP Electric Guitars, and their industry partner: Takamine Guitars  to learn more their full line of guitar products.


The Musicians Foundation

The Musicians Foundation Board of Directors Feature: Alex Skolnick

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we’re featuring the achievements, current exploits and upcoming adventures of our illustrious Board of Directors across the music industry.


Alex Skolnick

For the first in our ongoing series of weekly snapshots, we catch up with highly respected, world-reknown (and ever-prolific) metal/jazz/world music/improvisational guitarist, writer
 and MF board member: Alex Skolnick (Testament).


Most recently (last weekend), Alex performed (on June 21st) with his exciting new acoustic/world recording project Planetary Coalition at the Make Music New York/Mass Appeal: Guitars event reviewed by Guitar World magazine HERE.


Alex with his signature model ESP guitar

Next weekend (June 30 – July 4, 2014) you’ll find Alex teaching masterclasses, private lessons, leading jam sessions, directing ensembles, and performing at the Guitar Intensive Workshop in New York City along with guitar improviser/educator Bruce Arnold, fusion guitar heroine Jane Getter, and bassist Jerry DeVore.

When he’s not busy recording, performing live, teaching, serving as an interviewer, music industry spokesman, contest judge, guitar magazine columnist, or touring the world… he’s an author(!) His first book Geek to Guitar Hero” was released in 2013.

The stylistically versatile and virtuosic Alex has been known to venture from Thrash Metal and Jazz into the territory of Flamenco, World Music and beyond.  Upcoming plans include live performance collaborations with guitarist Prasanna R for “Raga Metal Conversations”.  Alex also recently served on the judging panel for the Rolling Stone Metal Awards in India.

Here, he’s seen having fun with the fantastic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela:

Here’s a great clip of Alex performing at NAMM 2013- Alphonse Mouzon’s (d) Mind Transplant featuring Alex Skolnick (g), Rhonda Smith (b), Steve Weingart (k) on “Nitroglycerin”:

Thus far, 2014 has been a very exciting year for Alex.  Here are just a few of the highlights:

January ’14   ESP introduces Alex Skolnick Signature Series Guitars here is the   Guitar World Review

February  ’14  Testament tours Australia Soundwave Festival (headlined by Green Day).    Alex begins writing for The Talkhouse with review of new release by Dianne Reeves.

March  ’14  Collaborates on composition for Richmond Ballet with Lamb of God Frontman Randy Blythe, performed April 5th & 6th

April ’14     Performs as part of Stu Hamm Band at The Iridium, New York City

May ’14    The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music and Make Music Monthly presents a conversation between Alex Skolnick and Aaron Friedman on innovative heavy metal guitar solos, including Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption (with live demonstrations by Alex).

 Alex Skolnick Trio performs at Festival Guitars du Monde, Rouyn-Noranda QC

For the very latest news updates and career highlights, you can find Alex on Facebook -his blog – his website.

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We’re extremely proud of our board, and their dedication in support of music education!