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Famous Musicians Who Went To Music School

Updated: Oct 27, 2023



The journey of a musician is often filled with passion, dedication, and a deep love for creating and performing music. While some musicians are self-taught, many others have had the privilege of receiving formal music education. At WeGotGuru, we firmly believe in the power of music schools to nurture and develop talent. In this blog, we'll explore some famous musicians who started their remarkable journeys with music schools, demonstrating how formal education can be the foundation for a lifelong love of music and successful careers.


1. John Legend


The multi-talented John Legend, a singer, songwriter, and pianist, honed his musical skills at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was part of the a cappella group Counterparts. His formal education laid the foundation for a highly successful career, including winning multiple Grammy Awards.


2. Norah Jones


Norah Jones, known for her soulful and jazz-influenced music, studied at the University of North Texas, renowned for its exceptional jazz program. Her education helped her develop a unique style and master her singing and piano skills, leading to widespread acclaim.



3. Jimi Hendrix

One of the greatest guitarists in rock history, Jimi Hendrix, began his musical journey at Seattle's Garfield High School. There, he learned to play the guitar, laying the groundwork for his groundbreaking and iconic career.




4. Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys, with her powerful voice and exceptional piano skills, attended the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. Her early musical education was instrumental in shaping her as a versatile and accomplished artist.





5. Stevie Wonder


Stevie Wonder, a musical prodigy known for his incredible singing, songwriting, and proficiency with multiple instruments, was enrolled in the Michigan School for the Blind. His education played a significant role in fostering his exceptional musical abilities.



6. B.B. King

The legendary blues guitarist B.B. King began his music education at a church in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi. He later expanded his knowledge by studying music theory and performing with local bands, paving the way for his enduring career.




7. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

One of the most prodigious and influential composers in the history of classical music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, began his musical education at an early age. His father, Leopold Mozart, was a renowned composer and teacher, and young Wolfgang received formal training in music theory, keyboard, and composition.



8. Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven, another towering figure in classical music, received his early education in Bonn, Germany, where he studied with local composers and musicians. His formal education played a significant role in his development as a composer and pianist.





9. Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach, the Baroque composer known for his intricate and masterful compositions, came from a long line of musicians. He attended St. Michael's School in Lüneburg, Germany, where he received training in music and Latin.




10. Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington, the iconic bandleader, composer, and jazz musician, attended Armstrong Manual Training School in Washington, D.C., where he learned to play the piano. His formal education and early exposure to music set the stage for his groundbreaking contributions to jazz.




11. Aretha Franklin


The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, began her formal music education at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father was the minister and her mother the choir director. Her early exposure to gospel music & singing in the church influenced her singing career.



12. Eric Clapton


The legendary blues and rock guitarist Eric Clapton attended the Kingston College of Art in London, where he studied stained-glass design. However, his passion for music eventually led him to enroll at the Kingston School of Music, setting the stage for his iconic career as a guitarist and singer.




13. Joni Mitchell


Iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell started her musical journey at the Alberta College of Art and Design, where she studied painting. However, her love for music led her to explore the folk scene in Toronto, eventually becoming one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.



14. Elton John

Sir Elton John, the legendary pop-rock icon, received formal piano training at the Royal Academy of Music in London. This education laid the groundwork for his extraordinary career as a singer, songwriter, and pianist.



15. John Mayer

John Mayer, known for his virtuosic guitar playing and smooth vocals, briefly attended the Berklee College of Music. Although he left to pursue his career as a solo artist, his education undoubtedly played a role in his musical prowess.





These iconic musicians serve as living proof of the profound impact of music schools and formal education on an artist's journey. Whether their genre is rock, pop, jazz, or classical, music education has been a common thread that has enriched their talents. At WeGotGuru, we are committed to nurturing the musical talents of aspiring artists, providing a supportive environment for students to learn, grow, and embark on their own extraordinary journeys. If these renowned musicians' stories inspire you or your child, consider enrolling in a music school and discover the endless possibilities that lie ahead.






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