5 Famous Musicians Who Studied Music

Some famous musicians have gone through significant music schools. Check out the story of 5 world-renowned artists who studied their way to the top!

Unlike what fans imagine, many famous musicians had to study in order to stand out in the artistic world. Some even had to walk a long way to reach stardom. With investments in musical education, dedication, and discipline, they managed to reach successful positions and today are considered music idols.

We went after curious stories about 5 artists from the music world and how they made it to the top. Enjoy your reading!

1. John Mayer

One of the big names on our list of famous musicians, John Mayer is an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, and music producer responsible for hits like "Daughters," "Your Body is a Wonderland," and "Gravity."

The artist, often misunderstood for his musical versatility, became interested in music at an early age. He had his childhood marked by MTV music videos, mainly of the pop genre.

At 13, Mayer was amazed by Marty McFly's performance of the song "Johnny B. Goode" in the movie Back to the Future. The artistic vein then began to pulse more strongly, leaning towards the guitar side.

After that, the artist decided to be inspired by famous rock and blues musicians to practice his favorite instrument. His father, noticing his interest, decided to enroll him in a music school.

With only 16, Mayer formed his first band and started playing in bars and clubs. He built up an important musical background and, at the age of 19, went to study music at Berklee College of Music.

However, the artist left the institution because he believed that the place had nothing more to offer him. In 1997, Mayer moved to Atlanta with his friend Clay Cook, an American songwriter, producer, and musician.

2. Mike Portnoy

One of the most important famous musicians in metal, Mike Portnoy is a distinguished American drummer and composer with 29 awards from the acclaimed Modern Drummer magazine.

His admission to Berklee College of Music in Boston at age 18 was a defining moment in his career, influencing his compositions to this day. Portnoy recognizes the vital role of universities and music schools and says he was surrounded by artists, whether they were professors, staff, or students.

Check out an excerpt from his exclusive interview for ICMP (Institute of Contemporary Music Music Performance):

You’re just constantly surrounded by amazing musicians at music schools. Not only the staff and faculty but all the students. They sit in the hallways practicing, trading riffs, jamming together. I learned just as much from the environment and the students as the classes themselves.

The artist is one of the founders of the progressive metal band Dream Theater and has collaborated with big names in the music scene, such as Avenged Sevenfold, The Winery Dogs, Flying Colors, and, believe it or not, even Kiss.

  • See also: 9 Must-watch Series and Movies about Music!

3. Lady Gaga

The "Mother Monster" couldn't be left out of our list of famous musicians. With more than 46 million followers on Instagram, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, has become a worldwide pop music phenomenon.

The singer, songwriter, and music producer has accumulated hundreds of awards in her career and reveals to have been inspired by artists such as David Bowie, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Queen.

Gaga already had an affinity for music from an early age and decided to study more about it at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Two years later, she dropped out of the course to manage her own career.

The artist then started on her way, composing songs for big names such as Britney Spears, Fergie, and The Pussycat Dolls.

Despite the controversy over the title "Queen of Pop", the singer has ventured into different genres, including partnerships with famous musicians from pop, jazz, rock, country, and k-pop.

With her powerful performances, extravagant costumes, and profound concepts, Gaga keeps enchanting the world with her talent.

4. Paul McCartney

One of the top names on our list of famous musicians, Paul McCartney started on the road to success in the early 1960s when he formed The Beatles band.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and music producer, the artist has had many influences throughout his career.

As a young boy, Paul was given a trumpet by his father but soon lost interest in the instrument. Years later, skiffle, a style of folk music with jazz and blues nuances, dominated London's streets, and the artist fell in love with a new companion: the guitar.

To increase his musical knowledge, Paul studied classical piano and guitar during his childhood. Over the years, the artist has played more than 40 instruments in his career and has partnered with big names in the music scene, such as Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, and Michael Jackson.

5. Miles Davis

Miles Davis's story is proof that it takes encouragement and dedication to become a famous musician.

At the age of 18, Davis finally accepted his father's request and went to study music at the Institute of Musical Arts, later called the Juilliard School, in New York City. The American trumpeter and composer attended classes in music theory, piano, and language skills.

His admirable career and work make Davis one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, and he has left a legacy to his name.

Yes, success stories repeat themselves, and the formula is basically the same: dedication, investment in musical education, hours of rehearsal, and the constant search for knowledge.

Remember, the more in tune you are with your voice or instrument, the more "noise" you will make in the music world.

Do you want to study music or have you already studied it? Share it with us in the comments!

Imagens: Flickr (Jimmy Baikovicius)

Amanda Medeiros

Content & SEO Manager at Moises

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