Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Morgan Kibler

Learn more about Morgan Kibler, Alumnus (Class of 2014)

Class of (or years attended): Class of 2014 (attended from 2003-2014)

Where are you living now?
Los Angeles, CA

What did you do after you left ISL?
After I left ISL, my family and I moved to California. I was in San Diego for a few months then I moved up to Los Angeles to attend the college I was accepted into.

What did you study at University?
Over the span of two and a half years, I took two different associate programs at Musician’s Institute of Hollywood. First year I took the Independent Artist Program which gave me an insight into how to thrive as an independent artist in the music industry (how to record, visual arts to promote yourself, general music business classes, etc.). After that, I re-enrolled and got my degree in Audio Engineering (recording) and Post-Production Sound.

What are you doing now?
Since the fall of 2016 I’ve been doing anything and everything I can to make my way up in the music industry. In the past few years, I can definitely say a lot of work has paid off! In the late year of 2017, I began an internship with the industrial metal band Ministry. They brought me on my first EVER tour in the spring of 2018 and since then, I’ve been a prodigy turned guitar technician for the band. I’ve been across the world with this band now and have worked for them ever since 2017. Regarding my music, that hasn’t stopped either! Through my time in college, I experimented with different genres of my own music but also worked with countless other musicians in projects. I’ve been in a pop punk band, worked as a hired gun in a country band, I’m currently playing in a hardcore band, and now, my band True North and I signed our very first record deal! As you can see once you’ve started a career path in the music industry, it starts to take over your life and time. But that’s what you sign up for, and I’m beyond excited for what the future holds for me!

Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue this? If yes, how?
Definitely! I really have an insane amount of gratitude for my time at ISL. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I personally never thought I was a stellar student so to say…but the teachers were always so supportive of me there. They KNEW what I wanted to do with my life and even though I did what I could in their classes, they always supported me in my pursuit of being in the music industry. It was a flexible environment to work in, and everyone there supported you no matter what the environment was like outside. ISL helped me become the man I am today, and I have always been forever grateful of that.

What advantages has studying at ISL given you?
I feel like this goes for everyone who has already left or is in the process of graduating, ISL’s education prepares you for high demand work environments. That goes for college, a workplace, wherever you are, I think this school prepares you for that. Regarding music, I always loved going to music classes since I first started attending the school. I got a fantastic basic education into music theory (which can be a very complicated topic to study if you don’t know what you’re doing), and on top of that, I even got introduced to some of my favorite bands through music history classes there. Who would’ve known that the names KISS, Goo Goo Dolls, or Staind would come up in my middle school music classes? That’s so cool! Even in my Business and Management class (which I loved), I even prepared my Business IA based on streaming platform royalties in the music industry. I got to write songs and lyrics for my Language & Literature class (yes, I definitely tried to sing some of them for class too). learnt so much about what I wanted to do early on at ISL and it prepared me more than people would think for my inevitable jump into this creative industry.

What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
Don’t pigeon-hole yourself! Listen, school is part of your youth and early years of your life and the last thing you want to do to yourself is constantly remind yourself that you cannot do what you really want to do because of your education. Your education is helping YOU more than you think! When you need help, ask your teachers, it’s part of their job and they’re really good at it. They will support you in any way they can, and they will give their honest opinion to you when you need it the most. Stay on top of your curricular studies to feel that sense of satisfaction! I promise, it will be worth it when you throw those graduation caps up in the air with your fellow class men and women.

Were you involved in any clubs/activities at ISL? What did you enjoy about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
Oh yeah! LOADS! I wasn’t the best athlete to say the least, especially when it came to basketball and football but nonetheless I was a part of those clubs for a very brief time. Granted, it was short-lived but it was a great way to spend time with classmates and people from different grades by being physical like that. I definitely had a long-standing ritual of being a part of the ISL swim team, I loved it! It was the most refreshing way to end a day while you’re actually getting a physical workout in. On top of that, the coaches were able to really get you prepped for a swim meet, those were my favorite. I always did the musicals, every year, whether it was the fall or summer musicals, I couldn’t wait to find out what the production was because I knew it was going to benefit me in improving my musical skills. Very honorable mentions for myself were ‘Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘Grease’…those were hands down some of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had at ISL. Everything about those productions just felt great: the cast, the directors of both acting and music, and the preparations…everyone got along which made it the most entertaining events for when the show dates came up. Last but not least, I loved being a part of Jazz band in my last few years at ISL for obvious reasons. How cool is it to start your day off by playing your guitar with a bunch of other musicians? I was most definitely not up to par with a lot of the songs we played when I first started, but I loved it because it really expanded my personal view of what music can be and what I can become as a musician. That goes the same for choir! I was in choir (on and off) starting in the fourth grade. All of my choir directors were so adamant on encouraging us to really hone our singing skills, and it’s definitely safe to say that their teachings were beneficial to me in my later years in the music industry.

Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning:
I think the strongest link that ISL’s curricular environment has with the real world is that it really does prepare you for it. At least it prepares you heavily for strenuous times in higher education. Granted, I know that it can be stressful at times and it can really make your morale shake, but the fact of the matter is that it’s just giving you tougher skin. You’ll realize that when you graduate, you’ll end up in a different environment but you won’t be broken down so easily compared to others. The teaching and learning at ISL has a habit of molding you into a person you never thought you’d be…in a beneficial way!

How did your time at ISL help shape you as a person?
It made me aware at a very young age of what I wanted to do. Through my upbringing with my parents (who too were ISL teachers) and what I went through academically as a student at ISL, I knew for a fact at such a young age I wanted to be a musician and I wanted to be a creative because of my environment.

What do you think is unique about ISL?
I can summarize that in one word: diversity. One of the greatest things about this school is that you can toss a pencil in the air and it would hit somebody from a different country than the one next to you. There are so many cultures and nationalities represented in this school that it’s euphoric. I’ve always been grateful for growing up with peers from different countries because everywhere is so different from one another, I think that just makes you a humbler person in general because it makes you see how big of a place this world is…and you can find it all in ISL.

If you could thank a teacher or staff member, who would it be?
Oh man, this had to be a question on here? I’m not mad whatsoever, I just have a long list. Where do I begin…thank you Mr. Demo, Mr. Libbey, and Mrs. Bryson for really pushing my overall potential in a world where all I wanted to do was sing, write, and play guitar, you guys educated me and brought me to where I am now. Thank you, Mrs. Adams, for dealing with my borderline obnoxious attitude in your class, you let me write as much lyrics as I wanted and you even gave me some amazing advice on how to make those songs more literally meaningful. Thank you to Mr. Agraz and Mr. Hall for not just being great mentors and teachers to me, but also great friends, I’ve known these two gentlemen since I moved to Luxembourg and they were so supportive in my endless endeavors of being a musician and they even introduced me to many musical genres that I’ve grown to appreciate over the years. Thank you to Mr. Ertel who probably knew that I wasn’t the greatest student in his class but nonetheless, he really wanted me to succeed as a musician so he even asked me to write a song for his Chemistry class to help me study for the final exam…that’s unreal. Thank you to Ms. S for honestly just being a warm and refreshing face to just see walking down the halls, much like every other teacher that I had grown to know, they can just put a smile on your face by saying hi. Honestly, I guess I can say thank you so much to my parents (who were teachers at ISL for the entire time we lived in Luxembourg) for dealing with my hectic school life and EVEN my obnoxious tendencies as a student because one of them had me for an entire year…Mom, I’m sorry you had to experience that first hand. The list honestly goes on and on with teachers that I would like to thank, I promise you, I will give you so much gratitude the next time I’m in town, hopefully really soon on tour!

Describe ISL in 5 words:

  • Alumni