Former Shearer Students

If you were a former Shearer student, we’d love to hear from you.  Please contact us, filling out the form and we’ll post your information.

Will Adams

Will Adams

Will Adams toured extensively as a concert guitarist from 1977 to 1988. He studied with Aaron Shearer from 1982-87.  He was the Head of the Guitar Department at Meredith College from 1982-1987. In the fall of 1987 he entered the DMA Program at Florida State University under Bruce Holtzman. His other instructors included John Marlow, Oscar Ghiglia, and Michael Lorimer. Retiring from Classical Guitar performance in 1990, he went on to play jazz. He has appeared with Gene Bertoncini and Jack Wilkins. He also played on and arranged Percy Metcalf’s hit album, “Rainbow”.   Convinced to return to classical guitar by his old roommate, Ricardo Cobo, he is now a popular judge at numerous international guitar competitions and an in-demand coach for players on the competition circuit. He currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky and is the President of Radio Joe’s Amazing Sounds, a commercial production company specializing in the production of sound for broadcast. He is a member of the Recording Arts Academy and a voting member of the Grammy Committee.

11 + 14 =

Roque Arias

I studied privately with Aaron shearer for 3 years in Winston Salem NC.  I am a physician and an avid classical guitarist.  I practice general Family Medicine in East Bend, NC and was Aaron’s  physician.  I have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.  I am also a bibliophile and an exercise enthusiast.

Jeff Carter

I studied with Aaron at UNC School of the Arts for three years, from 1981-83.  I’m married for 32 years, with 3 children (2 boys and 1 girl). My oldest son lives in Taipei, my younger son is a US Navy diver in San Diego, and my daughter is a Senior at UNC-Wilmington. I own two restaurants in Charlotte, NC and my wife is a Nurse Educator.

Richard Esseltine

I studied under Thomas Kikta and Aaron at Duquesne University (MM program) 1994-96).  After school, I taught briefly in AZ at a start-up music academy, but decided business was for me. I work for a company called Zoom Video.

However, that experience was invaluable in my business career. The way to look at problems, the creativity, the patience to understand core issues vs just the results of the problem, etc…  I came to Thomas and Aaron after a hand injury. I was worried that I wouldn’t even make it into grad school. Thomas and Aaron broke it all down and I started from scratch. My only regret is the 2 years at Duquesne were so focused on building back my strength, solidifying my technique, and honestly… learning how to study/memorize/learn complex guitar compositions that it wasn’t until years after I left Duquesne that I felt secure and could really start playing up to my potential. However, as stated… that experience was invaluable in many areas of my life.

I don’t play or teach professionally, but I continue to play every day and it is like meditation for me. Currently, I have been learning more Barrios as kids have grown a bit where I can invest daily time into my hobby.  I just wanted to say thanks for keeping Aaron’s legacy going and to Tom Kitka for giving me a chance so many years ago.

George Gecik

Guitar Instructor at Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University

I studied with Aaron 1994 and 1995 in Pittsburgh and in Winston-Salem.  I have been teaching guitar since 1964 and am now teaching part time.  I play many styles.  Aaron made a huge impression on me and my guitar playing  I truly loved the man..georgegecik@me.com
Alan Hirsh

Alan Hirsh

Vice President of Eductaion, Aaron Shearer Foundation

Alan Hirsh began his collaboration with Aaron Shearer back in the 1980’s, writing music for the  ground-breaking 1988 three-volume method series: Learning the Classic Guitar published with Mel Bay.  He continued his collaboration 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 resides in North Carolina where he works as Music Director and Fine Arts Department Chair at Bishop McGuinness High School and teaches guitar at Wake Forest University. Alan’s many guitar publications include Twenty Etudes in fixed Positions, New Music for Classic Guitar, Trio Concertino, Holiday, Folk, Sacred, and Renaissance Collections for guitar ensemble, as well as an extensive online catalogue of guitar ensemble music (guitarensemblemusic.com).
John Johns

John Johns

Retired

I studied with Mr. Shearer at Peabody 1966-1970 and received a BM Guitar ‘70.  Moved to Nashville,TN in 1972 and was a faculty member at the Blair Academy of Music which later became the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University. Retired as Professor of Guitar, Emeritus in 2017. I still enjoy performing as much as possible.   It was an honor to have known and studied with Mr. Shearer, and I cherish the memories of our friendship. 

Thomas Kikta

Thomas Kikta

Vice President of the Aaron Shearer Foundation

Thomas Kikta is a versatile artist who has been the director of the Classical Guitar and Recording Arts and Sciences at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. for thirty years.  A native of Pittsburgh, he studied Classic Guitar performance with Aaron Shearer at both 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). Thomas Kikta is an artist endorsee for Alfred Publishing, Alhambra Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Line 6 and Fishman Electronics.

Kent Murdick

Kent Murdick

I studied with Shearer in the 70s for about six years. I made a living playing classical guitar in restaurants for a few years. I had three hours of memorized material and I thank Shearer for teaching me how to memorize using visualization; I had a terrible musical memory. I wrote several books for Mel Bay during that time. Then I taught mathematics for 25 years. Now I’m retired and playing four string banjo and singing in a Dixieland band.

Alan Pongetti

Alan Pongetti

Private Studio Teacher

I attended the University of Southern California as a music performance major in Classical Guitar. After receiving my Bachelor of Music Degree in Guitar Performance from DePaul University in Chicago, I went on to Peabody Conservatory of Music, as a special student in graduate guitar studies with Aaron Shearer 1978-79. I currently teach private lessons out of my home studio and for the last 10 years taught guitar and general music as a certified music teacher in both public and private schools in the state of Arizona. alansclassicalguitar.com

Kami Rowan

Kami Rowan

Outreach for Aaron Shearer Foundation

Dr. Rowan has taught at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC since 1993.   Her duties include directing the guitar program, teaching majors and ensemble, and teaching academic courses such as: Music Appreciation, Music & Contemporary Culture, The Byrne Experience, and Guitar Pedagogy & Literature. The Guilford College Guitar Ensemble received 1st and 3rd prizes at the Brownsville Texas Guitar Ensemble Festival and Competition in 2011.  Kami guides students in the process of finding themselves through the guitar. She sees art as a tool for expression, self-awareness, and change. Kami also teaches a strong foundation of technique, which allows greater access to musicality and interpretation.   Kami completed her DMA and MM degrees in performance at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University under the tutelage of Dr. Glenn Caluda. Dr. Rowan also studied with the renowned Aaron Shearer, at North Carolina School of the Arts, in Winston-Salem, NC, where she received her BM in performance.

Larry (Lawrence) Schultz

I studied with Aaron for three years. The first year at Peabody Conservatory, the 2nd and 3rd years at The North Carolina School of the Arts  After graduating I spent 8 years teaching at various universities and community colleges in Houston, Texas, including Houston Baptist University, where I ran a degree program in Classical Guitar. Then I got certified to teach regular elementary school. For 15 years I taught Kindergarten and Grade 1 in international schools in Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines. I am now studying Tantric and Hatha yoga at Agama Yoga in Koh Phangan, Thailand.