photo by Emily Kikta

2018 Shearer Summer Institute (July 30-August 5)

Join the ASF in Zion National Park, for a week of inspiring natural beauty and classical guitar study with world class artists and teachers!  All lodging and guitar activities are in the beautiful Cable Mt. Lodge which is conveniently located to the Zion park entrance.

Each day offers morning hiking opportunities in Zion canyon.  All main trails are easily accessed by the free Zion shuttle which is within easy walking distance from our hotel.  After lunch (on your own), the institute offers a variety of guitar workshops/classes, masterclasses, private lessons, and guitar ensemble/orchestra rehearsals.  In the evening, group dinners are provided and afterward there’s plenty of time to explore the village of Sprindale, or just relax in your room, or at the pool!

NEW THIS YEAR, all of our meals will be prepared by Matt Regan, the executive chef at Bistreaux from the Maison Dupuy in New Orleans!  A former student of Thomas Kikta, Matt is also a fine guitarist and will be joining us in daily activities.

The week culminates with concerts by faculty and students, including soloists, small ensembles, and the Shearer Guitar Orchestra. In addition, an informal play-in, scheduled in the middle of the week, offers students a chance to play/share with others in a casual setting.


Gohar Vardanyan

Widely admired for her technique and artistry, Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the United States and abroad.  She has been featured on the cover of Classical Guitar Magazine. Guitar International Magazine has described her as the complete package, “with a musicality and emotional quality . . . Not only is she able to draw you into her performances with engaging musical interpretations, but she has the technical facility that is required of any concert level guitarist.” Her playing has been described as “passionate,” “evocative,” and “virtuosic.”

 In addition to her performing career, Ms. Vardanyan is an avid teacher,  author of four books from Mel Bay Publications (a fifth on its way) and an instructor on Strings by Mail’s Lessonettes and Unexplored Repertoire Series on YouTube.

Thomas Kikta

Thomas Kikta studied Classic Guitar performance with Aaron Shearer both at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has performed around the country, including collaborations with the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.  With Mr. Shearer, he co-authored  the 3rd edition of Classic Guitar Technique Vol 1, published by Alfred.  His most recent works are The Shearer Method: Classic Guitar Foundations, Classic Guitar Developments, and Learning the Fingerboard.  Mr. Kikta has also written for Alfred’s Masterwork Editions, Carcassi: Melodic and Progressive Etudes Op.60 (2016).

Kami Rowan

Dr. Rowan is Associate Professor of Music and chair of the music department at Guilford College in NC. Kami’s students have attended some of the best graduate programs in the country and been finalists in major competitions. The Guilford College Guitar Ensemble has received top prizes and toured the east coast extensively.  Dr. Rowan completed her DMA and MM degrees at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University studying with Dr. Glenn Caluda. Kami also studied with Aaron Shearer, at North Carolina School of the Arts, where she received her BM in performance. Dr. Rowan currently sits on three non-profit boards, and is president of the Piedmont Classic Guitar Society.

Alan Hirsh

Alan Hirsh collaborated with Aaron Shearer in the 1980’s, writing music for the 3-volume method series: Learning the Classic Guitar published with Mel Bay.  He continued collaborating with Aaron (along with Thomas Kikta) to develop The Shearer Method: Classical Guitar Foundations, Classical Guitar Developments, and Learning the Fingerboard by Alfred Music.   Alan currently works in NC as Music Director and Fine Arts Dept. Chair at Bishop McGuinness High School and teaches guitar at Wake Forest University. Alan is a frequent guest conductor at guitar festivals around the country and has an extensive online catalogue of  music, Guitar Ensemble

Full package: $950 (early registration: $800)
  • Hotel accommodations (shared room) at Cable Mt. Lodge.
  • All activities: workshops, ensemble and orchestra rehearsals, private lessons, performances, etc.
  • 6 catered dinners.
  • daily access to Zion National Park.
  • transportation within Springdale.
  • 20% off at the Canyon Market and Brew Pub.
Partial Package: $750 (Early Registration: $600)

Same as above, but lodging on your own.

Free for Teachers!
If you’re a teacher and you bring a minimum of 5 students, you may qualify for free tuition which includes meals and your own private room. There are a limited number of teacher packages available–first come, first serve.  To inquire on availability of the teacher package, please contact.

How to get there

By Plane and Shuttle

Fly to Las Vegas McCarran Airport then take the St. George Shuttle (435) 628-8320 to Springdale, UT (reservations must be made on your own and cost approx.$50 one way– approximately a 2½ hour trip). 

Arrive by car from Las Vegas

163 miles), Mesquite, Nevada (80 miles), and Saint George, Utah (40 miles):

  • Interstate 15 North
  • Exit 16 – Right on State Route 9 East (33 miles)
  • Right to stay on State Route 9 East in La Verkin, Utah (20 miles)
  • Stay on State Route 9 East –147 Zion – Mount Carmel Hwy, Springdale, UT 84767
Drive from Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Interstate 15 South
  • Exit 27 – Left on State Route 17 South (26 miles)
  • Left on State Route 9 East in La Verkin, Utah (20 miles)
  • Stay on State Route 9 East–147 Zion – Mount Carmel Hwy, Springdale, UT 84767
Drive from Page, AZ

US Route 89 North