It all began on Sunday night Feb 9, 1964 at 8pm when Jack McNally was deeply moved by the boys from Liverpool. He picked up an old Harmony guitar and began learning to play. Later, a nicer guitar, a few lessons, and the sounds of Rubber Soul on the radio drove the passion even deeper. As a music major, his time at the University of Minnesota in the early 1970’s was both eye opening and frustrating – they did not respect the music he loved.
Eventually he found himself teaching guitar in local music stores, as did another young guitarist, Doug Smith. It wasn’t until Jack went searching for a lutenist to play at his wedding that they actually met. Doug asked Jack if he knew any good folk/pop guitar teachers, to which Jack replied, “I’m your man.” And so began a working relationship that would one day become the McNally Smith College of Music.
McNally Smith College of Music prepares students for a fulfilling future in music by providing a culture of learning that inspires intellectual, creative, and personal development and that enriches our world through their artistry and leadership.
Located in the warehouse district, the school started with 130 private lesson students. Over the next decade majors were added, accreditation was granted, and the school grew by leaps and bounds. By 1998 the school was called Music Tech and was bursting at the seams. After two years of searching for more space, the college chose the current campus in St. Paul and became the McNally Smith College of Music.
According to cofounder, Doug Smith, “We were very sure we wanted to take the education of popular musicians seriously and we set about doing everything possible within our means to create the type of school we ourselves would have liked to attend.”
“Today we remain committed to contemporary music education with a real-world emphasis. We both challenge and support our students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders in professional music,” adds Jack McNally.
Now an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music, McNally Smith College of Music offers music degrees and programs in Music Performance, Recording Technology, Music Business, Hip-Hop Studies, and Composition & Songwriting.
With over 600 students and a nearly 100-member faculty, McNally Smith College of Music students get a personalized music education, with wide access to current music technology, music research tools, and music performance facilities. McNally Smith alumni are working all over the world.
McNally Smith College of Music is committed to being a premier institution of higher learning for the musical arts and internationally recognized as such by students, educators, and music professionals.
McNally Smith College of Music recognizes that music is a dynamic art form that reflects the intense cultural currents of globalization and technological advancements. We create new approaches to music teaching and learning and integrate them with traditional practices in a contemporary context to inspire, to broaden, and to connect the musical passions of our students to a rapidly evolving world.
McNally Smith College of Music provides a comprehensive curriculum of liberal arts integrated with musical arts to provide a powerful foundation of knowledge, critical thinking, and professionalism that inspires students to realize and sustain a life in music. Our faculty are experienced educators and multifaceted practicing artists who provide highly personalized instruction in technologically advanced facilities.
McNally Smith College of Music nurtures creative expression and experiential learning to cultivate entrepreneurial thinkers and innovators. A McNally Smith College of Music education prepares students to engage, adapt, and thrive as leaders of change in music and society.