Music Performance with an Emphasis in Drums


The Drum program at LACM Online is dedicated to providing a comprehensive education that will accomplish the following learning outcomes for its graduates:

  1. Have a thorough knowledge of the proper technical skills needed to be a successful performer on the drum set.  These would include using proper limb motions in order to get the best sound and tone, maintaining good balance and posture and having solid hand and foot coordination and 4-way independence.  
  2. Use the skills that accompany being a good drummer, including knowing how to read and interpret the written page, play with a click, be able to play typical hand percussion instruments and program and play electronic instruments.
  3. Use these skills and apply them in large and small ensembles in a variety of musical styles, including jazz, rock, funk, Latin and other contemporary and hybrid styles.  Also, have an understanding of the history of these styles and their effect on the music of our time.
  4. Know how to interact with other musicians in a group setting, take direction, follow a conductor and be a leader in the ensemble.
  5. Have a thorough understanding of rhythm, which includes knowing all the rudiments, developing sticking vocabulary, having the ability to create and play odd phrases and meters and have the know-how to use rhythm appropriately and effectively in a musical setting.   
  6. Have the ability to improvise, including soloing in a variety of musical styles and settings.    
  7. Have basic keyboard and theory knowledge, be knowledgeable of the business of music, understand music tech and be completely literate in the field of music.
  8. Acquire the confidence that is required of the drummer in each and every musical setting and fully understand the importance of the drummer’s role in the musical process.  



Associate of Arts Degree (10 Quarters) Diploma Program (8 Quarters)



Ralph Humphrey

Drum Department Head

Ralph Humphrey is one of Los Angeles’ most demanded studio drummers, recording for TV, motion pictures, albums and jingles. His most recent projects include American Idol, Charmed, Piglet’s Big Movie, Star Trek Enterprise, The Simpsons, ABC 50th Anniversary Special, Far From Heaven, Coca Cola, and Ping Golf Clubs. He is on the recent release by Babaghanoush, featuring Jimmy Mahlis, Andy Suzuki, and Jerry Watts. His past touring and recording experience includes the Don Ellis Big Band, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Akiyoshi-Tabackin Big Band, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer, Seals and Crofts, and Free Flight. He can also be heard on album projects by Wayne Shorter, Tom Rainier, Mike Miller, Jeff Richman, and The Outside- men, among many others. Ralph is the author of the drum book Even in the Odds and contributes occasional articles to Modern Drummer magazine.


Joe Porcaro
Drum Department Co-Head

Joe Porcaro’s musical spectrum ranges from jazz and rock to opera and symphonic. He has recorded with jazz artists including Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Freddie Hubbard, Don Ellis, Mike Manieri and rock/ pop artists such as Toto and Madonna. His credits include numerous television shows and movies. One of the most highly regarded percussion and drum instructors in the world, Joe is the author of two drum books: Joe Porcaro’s Drum Set Methods and Odd Times, and the instructional video Joe Porcaro on Drums.

Drum Program Pacing

Music Performance with an Emphasis in Guitar


The Guitar program at LACM Online is dedicated to providing a comprehensive education that will accomplish the following learning outcomes for its graduates:

  • Master a wide range of stylistic vocabulary on the guitar.
  • Acquire a deep understanding of the fretboard including chords (dyads, triads, seventh chords, inversions and extended chords up and down the fretboard), intervals up and down the fretboard and note recognition up and down the fretboard.
  • Become a proficient improviser in a variety of styles.
  • Build repertoire, communication skills, and performance abilities by playing in an array of ensembles, varying in style and instrumentation.
  • Music Literacy: become competent at reading music in various time signatures, feels, and ranges.
  • Advanced technical proficiency.
  • Be prepared for the current music industry: competencies varying in music technology, music business, and overall literacy help ensure your success.
  • Master guitar performance both on the stage and in the studio, while developing your own unique voice.



Associate of Arts Degree (10 Quarters) Diploma Program (8 Quarters)



Molly Miller
Guitar Department Head

A Los Angeles native, Molly Miller has performed, toured, and recorded with the likes of Jason Mraz, Wynton Marsalis, Ashley Clark, Bushwalla, Kenton Chen (The Sing Off), and Morgan Karr (Spring Awakening). She grew up playing guitar on stage in a band with her four siblings, performing on national television, and winning music awards all around the country. In May she graduated with her Doctorate in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern California’s prestigious Thornton School of Music, where she also received both her Bachelors and Masters in Music.

Guitar Program Pacing

Music Production with an emphasis in Music Producing & Recording


The role of the producer varies from project to project, ranging from “lending a trusted pair of additional ears,” to that of a “hands-on factotum,” involved in every single aspect of a musical work. The range of skills to be acquired is therefore necessarily wide.

The Music Producing and Recording program at LACM Online is designed to provide students a comprehensive education that will accomplish the following learning outcomes for its graduates (divided into four main categories):

Audio Engineering

Students will have acquired and developed thorough knowledge and hands-on experience of the proper practical and technical skills needed to be a successful recording engineer and producer. These include:

  • Understand and operate analog and digital equipment found in studios;
  • Achieve proficiency in employing Pro Tools™ (the industry standard Digital Audio Workstation). Students are prepared (and can elect) to earn official Avid Pro Tools™ certifications at no extra cost;
  • Understand recording session makeup, personnel roles, and studio etiquette;
  • Record voices and instruments (from single performers to ensembles) with proper microphone choices and techniques;
  • Evaluate and edit recorded performances;
  • Use audio processors to solve problems and achieve desired results;
  • Understand Mixing techniques and finished work delivery considerations;
  • Understand analog subtractive synthesis, and sampling technologies; 


Music is the raw material to be molded into successful productions. It follows that a deep understanding of music is paramount to a producer. Students will:

  • Understand music theory;
  • Develop hearing and listening skills to analyze the harmonic makeup of a composition, and ensure proper musical outcomes;
  • Analyze scores with ensembles, guide rehearsals, and conduct performances;
  • Acquire basic musicianship skills (Drums, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals) to share ground with musicians and enhance their communication abilities;
  • Understand musical genres and their history, equipping them with the necessary frames of reference to successful choice-making;


Technical and musical abilities must be complemented by the ability to adapt one’s role and be of service to the music and its performers. Ultimately, a producer’s abilities must instill confidence in all participants, a key to success in the studio. Students are exposed to situations which lead them to acquire the following skills:

  • Lead projects from conception to completion;
  • Make appropriate technical and artistic choices to each new circumstance;
  • Direct recording sessions in ways that ensure positive results (i.e. guide and support musicians, choose specific technical interventions by studio staff, etc.), and develop the necessary “people skills.”


As its name makes perfectly clear, the music business is, first and foremost, a business. A successful career requires knowledge of these aspects. Students will:

  • Understand business practices, terminologies and contracts;
  • Understand and develop business plans;
  • Understand the marketing of projects and/or oneself.

The skill-set described above equips students with the knowledge to seek employment in a variety of audio-related environments, and the confidence of knowing that he or she can be a valuable asset to any potential employer.



Associate of Arts Degree (12 Quarters) Diploma Program (8 Quarters)



André Knecht
Music Producing & Recording Department Head

André Knecht’s academic and professional background includes Electronic Music studies at Padua  University, Italy, and a 7-year stint as a Sound Designer, Recording Engineer, Music Supervisor and composer with the Swiss Broadcasting Company (SSR). In the US, he began a twin-track career in audio engineering and marketing at Warner Bros. Records. Today, he is active as a freelance engineer and producer, as well as a consultant, instructor, beta-tester, and technical editor for book projects in the audio field.

Music Producing and Recording Program Pacing

All of LACM Online’s programs are delivered through a secure, password-protected online learning management system called Canvas. The LACM Online Diploma and Associates programs consist of interactive courses that include pre-recorded video lectures, written materials and exercises, supplemental videos and listening examples, as well as weekly assignments and tests. The weekly assignments vary by course, but often consist of quizzes and projects, whereas performance courses include a weekly video exchange in which the student records their performance of the assigned material, and the instructor sends a detailed video reply and grade. Private lessons consist of a video exchange as well, but the student submits questions and playing examples, and the instructor replies with a screen capture video that provides a detailed analysis of the student’s submission. All programs require two 2-week visits to LACM’s Pasadena campus for experiential learning. While students may take a break between sessions if needed, LACM Online recommends all courses and campus visits occur sequentially as detailed in their program. All assignments, tests, and other coursework must be completed by the assigned due dates noted in Canvas.