My recent relocation to Portland, OR has brought with it some changes, and some new opportunities.
While it has been fun exploring our new town over the last month, there is a new teaching opportunity I am particularly excited about.
I am happy to say that I will be joining the faculty of Mt Hood Community College this fall as a guitar instructor. I will be giving private guitar lessons to some of the MHCC guitar students on campus in Gresham, OR.
I am really looking forward to working with community college students again.
My first professional teaching job was at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, WA - where I was hired after earning my masters degree in jazz pedagogy.
Building A Guitar Program
Part of that job was building a guitar program that could feed into various university music programs, with a focus on classical guitar. I started with just 4 students and built up the program for the next two years until we moved to Oregon.
I helped the guitar students there develop a good foundation in classical guitar, and introductory skills into jazz and popular music skills as well. Many of my students went on to study with my own classical guitar teacher at Eastern Washington University, Michael Millham.
I like working with community college students.
Helping them develop good practice habits, work ethic, and problem solving skills through guitar lessons is a rewarding part of the job. It’s also a great feeling to see them succeed and move on to bigger and better things.
When I moved to Oregon in 2012, I stopped teaching in higher education for about 7 years. It wasn’t necessarily a plan I had, but there were no teaching positions available within a reasonable distance from where we were living at the time.
I spent those 7 years teaching private guitar lessons on my own, outside of the education system.
Those years of teaching gave me a chance to really look at what had worked for me in my own education - and more importantly, what didn’t work for me.
Working with a wide range of guitar students over the year has given me some insight about how to reach students who have different learning styles, and different reasons for wanting to learn guitar.
I’ve worked with everyone from 5 year olds trying to get started, to retired college professors, to jazz guitar students going for their masters degree.
There are a wide range of needs that different people have, from the pacing of the instruction to the actual material covered in lessons.
A New Approach To Guitar Lessons
Because of those years of figuring out better ways to reach different kinds of students, I’ve developed an extensive curriculum that can be helpful for guitar students of all different ability levels and learning styles.
I came up with a practical system for learning to play guitar that puts an emphasis on hands-on playing, and learning the essential music theory in a way that actually connects it to your guitar skills.
I am looking forward to working with the Mt Hood Community College guitar students in lessons, helping them improve their guitar playing, and preparing them for the next steps in their music education.
Back To Higher Education
I am very thankful for the opportunity to get back into teaching in higher education after some years of working on my own.
I’m looking forward to taking what i’ve learned through teaching a wide variety of guitar lessons, and using it to help the students at MHCC.
While I love teaching private lessons on my own, I also really get excited about adjudicating at jazz festivals, giving clinics on jazz guitar, or working with high school or college level guitar students to help them reach a higher level.
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