My issues will be listed in bullet form, as there are many. They are as follows:
When you're taken on a tour of the "school" you're told things like "you'll be learning from rockstars" and "we can't guarantee you a job coming out of school, but with our references and accreditation, you'll be working in no time". you're told that the school is a professional environment where you can learn and will be respected by teachers and administrators... this couldn't be farther from the truth.
The majority of your teachers don't work in the entertainment industry, and haven't for a number of years (in such a rapidly changing business, knowledge becomes obsolete in days, nevermind years). You are taught the old model of business, something that hasn't been practiced since the 80s and early 90s - and this is by the few teachers that aren't telling you that the industry is dead and that we shouldn't bother looking for work. A number of the teachers berate and belittle students because they don't know things that they shouldn't be expected to know, going as far as calling them names like "Retard" and other, cruder words. On a number of occasions, I had seen students cry because of things teachers had called them - and yet the school did nothing to punish said teachers, when they knew full well (and even acknowledged to us) that they knew from personal experience how vulgar and hurtful the teachers could be to students.
In terms of finding work after school? Don't even bother trying. The school makes no effort to help you find work, other than offering you "employment" working in their studio and production house segments for minimum wage (around $10.00/hr). Now, to me, after having been told that I'd be coming out of MWI (MetalWorks Institute) as a skilled industry professional, being offered a job at a facility that I've just paid 17k to attend, working for $10/hr (they know you wont find work anywhere else and take advantage of your desperation) is rather insulting, to say the least. If you try to find employment anywhere else, the school does not reference you, or help you in any way. Individual teachers may help you find employment, on occasion, but even then it's not what was promised by the school (and isn't the responsibility of the instructors to do so).
The majority of the instructors, because there is no set curriculum, other than having preassigned and predetermined courses, do not communicate with each other. "Why is this a problem?" one might ask. The problem is that the majority of the courses having materially that can potentially overlap - which it does... abundantly. If the school took the time to discuss with teachers what they should be teaching, 70% of the courses could be cut out, giving students a more succinct, less time consuming ( in my 3rd term at MWI I was given 16 courses... These, like university or college courses, required my constant attention and presence at MWI. One course might be a 3 hr class, or 2 1 1/2 hr classes weekly. You can imagine how much time I wasted there...) "education".
As I had mentioned earlier, many of the instructors were once, many years ago, industry professionals, so their view of the music industry is rather dated. We were taught, for example, how to create and manage a record label and roster - meanwhile it's common knowledge that Record labels around the world are rapidly declining in power and are essentially dying. These instructors, however, insisted that this was current knowledge and that it would be useful to us, as we would all be starting independent record labels, etc. etc. (none of my classmates had any inclination to, and were actually rather against, starting up indie labels). Other problems with instructors include being given quizzes, tests, and exams that have NOTHING to do with the course material (and when 95% of the class fails the course, the school makes no effort to remedy the situation, other than to say "well... you can retake the course... but you have to pay us $500.00" - a number that seems like they drew a random sum from a hat). There was one instructor, in particular, that taught my classmates and myself 2 courses, completely mindlessly (no one understood what was going on, and 95% of the class, completely seriously, failed the course) and was let go by the school, yet they still wanted us (even though they had, by firing said instructor, admitted their guilt) to pay the $500.00 retake fee.
Other problems with instructors include them showing us movies every class and not actually teaching, some of which were hollywood depictions of events that, really, had nothing to do with our course material, other than to have some far drawn connection that instructors insisted were pertinent, meanwhile they would go outside and talk on their cell phones to their friends while the movies were playing. There are many more issues, but from these I think you can see that there is something seriously wrong with the faculty body at MWI.
*I had a few great teachers however... though it really doesn't, to me, balance out the bad ones. It doesn't even come close. I had maybe 5 good teachers out of the 30 some-odd teachers I "learned" from while at MWI.
Where to begin... I'll start with the bigger issues and go from there.
Our class once had a group project in which we would create a record label, each class member taking on a specific role (marketing, promotion, A&R, financial, etc.). We would find a real band to promote and record (in the neighbouring MetalWorks Studios). One of the students in our class, a rather unpopular individual, took it upon herself to recommend a band that she was working with (personally managing) and only told the rest of the class that she knew them in passing. When we happened to pick this band as our project models, she proceeded to tell us that she was working with them, and that we would be doing all this work for her and that she wouldnt have to pay us for it, as it was part of our class project. When the administration was involved (as this didn't seem wholely pleasing, or legal, to the rest of the class) they briefly questioned her and said that they couldn't prove she was working with the band and did nothing about it. We were forced to complete the project, giving her all of our material (including a professionally recorded track, marketing materials, promotional materials, etc. Things that we had worked on for weeks - all for free). This particular student is now employed at MetalWorks Productions, a segment of the MetalWorks family of companies.
The only time administration would take your request seriously was when it involved them getting money, in some way (ie a test retake form) If you had a genuine problem, it wouldn't be addressed, or even acknowledged, by the admin. I, after having not been at MWI for some time now, recently received an email, informing me that I owed the school money for some past unpaid balance - and when I replied saying that I did not owe them any money and had paid off all my balances, they told me "oh, our mistake... but are you sure you don't owe us anything?" as if they were trying to get whatever they could from me, trying to trick me into giving them money for some made up, completely random fee.
There are many other problems I had while at MWI, but I hope this will at least prompt some sort of investigation, or at least create more awareness about the true nature of the business - as it's just that, a business, not a place of learning, not a school, not an institution of any sort.
A number of other students, fellow classmates, and other prior graduates or drop-outs (and by drop-outs I mean those that passed all their courses save 1 or 2, and out of principle refused to pay the $500.00 retake fee, because it was not their fault that they failed, as mentioned earlier, it was the instructor's for teaching us very little and giving us an exam full of untaught materials - exams that were worth 60-70% of our mark - and when 60% is a passing grade, it's rather difficult to pass if you fail your exam) have had problems with MWI as well - any one that's gone there will attest to my statements being completely true, in fact, even those that have had "good experiences" at MWI.
Thinking of going to MetalWorks Institute? Think about this before you go - $17,000.00 (per year!) isn't easy to come by nowadays, and it's money that I, or you, will never get back. I am currently unemployed and am having trouble finding work in this rather poor economy. My accreditation and Metalworks references are useless. Thank you for taking the time to read my testimonial, I hope, with this information, you'll save yourself some money, time, and dignity.