ASF Board

Walter Shearer

Walter Shearer

President

Although I did study with my dad, Aaron Shearer, my interest in science led me elsewhere. However, he did leave me with a deep interest in music and a great respect for musicians.  I received a doctorate in atomic physics from the University of Paris in 1973 and from 1978 -2005  worked at the United Nations as the Deputy Chief of the Energy and Transport Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. I’ve written on dozens of scientific and technical topics, including vernacular architecture, sustainable development and renewable energy.  Most recently, I completed  “An Encyclopedia of the 140 Languages of China”, scheduled to appear in three volumes in October 2017.

Thomas Kikta

Thomas Kikta

Vice President/TreasurerCo-excutive Director

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).

Alan Hirsh

Alan Hirsh

Vice President of Education/Co-executive Director

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.   His newwest publications include The Shearer Method: Book IV, Guitar Harmony and Classroom Shearer: A Teacher’s Manual.  Alan currently works in NC as Music Director and Fine Arts Dept. Chair at Bishop McGuinness High School . Alan is a frequent guest conductor at guitar festivals around the country and has an extensive online catalogue of  music, Guitar Ensemble Music.com.

Kami Rowan

Kami Rowan

Vice President of Outreach

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.

Ben Meyer

Ben Meyer

Archivist and Secretary

Ben Meyer received a Bachelor of Music Business from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. From 2012 -15, he served as the leading guitar instructor for Richland Community College in Decatur and taught guitar in a thriving private studio, nurturing one¬on-one lessons, online lessons, and class guitar for all ages and levels.  In 2017 he received a Master of Performance from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, studying the Shearer method with Thomas Kikta.   As a recepient of a full-timeTeaching Assistantship, his duties included providing guidance and mentoring to music students with their required guitar courses.  Currently, he is an active guitar teacher and solo and ensemble performer in the Pittsburgh area.

Ethan Lodics

Ethan Lodics

Database and Social Media

Ethan studied guitar with Dr. Alan Hirsh in high school, earned a  B.A. in Guitar from Guilford College studying with Dr. Kami Rowan, and a MM in Guitar with a focus in Pedagogy from the Univ. of Louisville, with Dr. Stephen Mattingly.  Ethan has performed with the prize-winning Cardinal Guitar Quartet at the Univ. of Louisville’s New Music Festival, the Louisville Chamber Music Society, the GFA regional symposium in Louisville, the Macauley Chamber Music Competition, and on radio. He has also performed as a theorbist with the University of Louisville Early Music Ensemble.  In addition he is a composer– notably, his Memories in Miniature was premiered at the Inaugural Ghana National Music Festival and at the U. S. Embassy in Ghana.

Walter Shearer

Walter Shearer

ASF President

Welcome to The Aaron Shearer Foundation, an organization of his former students and family established to perpetuate and enhance his legacy of classical guitar pedagogy.  As one of the most successful guitar pedagogues in history, Aaron Shearer was instrumental in the development of many of the celebrated classical guitar performers of the past three or four decades in the United States.  Their level of musical and virtuosic performance has contributed to raising the image of the guitar in the classical music world.  It is our desire that the keys that led to this success be shared as widely as possible with those musically inclined devotees who are attracted by the charms and subtleties of the classical guitar.

The hallmark of Aaron Shearer’s teaching emphasizes the importance of thinking when approaching the classical guitar.  While many of the elements involved in playing this instrument were worked out by Aaron Shearer, he always reminded his students that nothing is set in stone.  Rather than blindly follow what he was instructing in his teaching and books, he wanted his students to analyze and think through the positions and motions involved in playing in order to improve performance.  He wanted them to better understand what needs to be done and how this can be done effectively, efficiently and also comfortably, in consideration of what has preceded and what should follow.  It was this approach that led him to identify the importance of such practices as visualization and such principles as sympathetic motion in playing the guitar.  Indeed, it is not hard to see that application of these practices and principles can produce beneficial results in most areas of human activity.  As his eldest son, I sincerely hope that you will find your experience with the classical guitar to be richly rewarding, but also that what you learn from this experience will serve you well in other areas of your life.