Teaching Young People

Matthew Hinsley

Dr. Hinsley’s teaching approach for young people has come to focus on several priorities: expressive musicianship from the very first notes, careful technical sequencing, and the highest standards for technical mastery at all levels.

This approach is embodied in Dr. Hinsley’s 2008 teaching method book entitled Classical Guitar for Young People. The book consists of 37 pieces (16 original compositions) that not only follow a careful technical sequence, but are designed to promote expressive music-making from the very first lesson.  Notes and techniques are introduced in the context of gratifying musical experiences with expressive dynamics indicated from the first piece.  The second half of the book explains the teaching methodology, the sequencing, and gives direction on a piece-by-piece basis for teaching the beginning-level pieces.  The book includes a CD with a performance of all 37 selections.

About Classical Guitar for Young People, William Kanengiser of the LA Guitar Quartet and the University of Southern California wrote: “In this revolutionary method for introducing young people to the classical guitar, Matt Hinsley has struck on a brilliant formula: to have students become MUSICIANS from their very first notes…I hope many young players have this method as their first experience with the guitar!”  Dr. Andrew Zohn, of Columbus State University, wrote: “Classical Guitar for Young People is one of the most sound and cleverly devised books of its kind…the composition selections, between proven standards and creatively-conceived originals, are both strong in pedagogical value and musically engaging…This book should be essential to the collection of any serious teacher of the classical guitar.”  (see complete quotes here)

Classical Guitar for Young People LogoDr. Hinsley’s private studio has produced some of America’s leading young talent on the classical guitar including students who win national and international competitions and perform in major venues.  One of Hinsley’s young students was selected to perform on the From The Top radio show for which he played in front of an audience of 1300 in Bethesda, Maryland.  Hinsley has had students  advance three-times to the final round of the youth division of the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, including the winner of the competition in 2006.  In recent years Hinsley’s private students have advanced to the semifinal and final rounds or take top prize in the American String Teachers Association National Solo String Competition, the Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, the Christopher Parkening International Competition, Texas A&M International Competition, UT Dallas International Competition, Brownsville/UTRGV International Guitar Ensemble Competition and other regional, national and international competitions for young people.

With his colleague, Travis Marcum, Dr. Hinsley is also a lead author in the development of GuitarCurriculum.com, the school-based classroom curriculum project of Austin Classical Guitar.  Adam Holzman of the University of Texas at Austin wrote: “Dr. Matthew Hinsley, Executive Director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society, is a leading young pedagogue and advocate of the Classical Guitar. His work in developing a working curriculum for the public schools of Austin is seminal to bringing a higher level of guitar playing to guitarists throughout central Texas.”  GuitarCurriculum.com includes a complete sequence for successfully teaching classroom classical guitar, a complete library of carefully graded ensemble music, graded ensemble sight reading, and ample teacher aids.  GuitarCurriculum.com is designed to accommodate classrooms containing students at varying skill levels and the online library tool even allows teachers to instantly locate specialized arrangements of music, making it possible to engage students at differing skill levels all at the same time with level-appropriate parts.