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/Secretary

Dr. 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 own publications include The Shearer Method: Book IV, Guitar Harmony, The Shearer Method Book V, Learning the Fingerboard Supplement, and  Classroom Shearer: A Teacher’s Manual . Alan is a frequent guest conductor at guitar festivals around the country and has an extensive online catalogue of  his guitar compositions and arrangements at Guitar Ensemble Music.com.

Jennifer Shearer

Jennifer Shearer

Jennifer Shearer is the oldest of Aaron Shearer’s four grandchildren. She learned to play the piano and flute as a young person.  Jennifer is a partner at the Big 4 accounting firm, Ernst & Young.  In her more than 25 years with the firm, Jennifer has focused on providing global tax advice for large domestic and international transactions for leading private equity firms and Fortune 100 companies.  While her industry experience is varied, she specializes in consulting on transactions surrounding technology companies with global footprints. Jennifer received both her B.A. in Business Administration and her Masters in Tax from the University of Washington. She is a registered CPA in both California and Georgia.

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.