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Meet David Sewell

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Sewell.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born and raised in South Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. Inspired by my uncle Danny, I began playing electric guitar when I was 13. I started learning songs from my favorite bands by ear. This was before YouTube was a thing so there was a lot of listening to the same song repeatedly, rewinding small sections at a time. After about a year of playing guitar, I started listening to more technical driven and classically influenced players, like Yngwie Malmsteen. It was at this point I started taking lessons. My first teacher taught me to read music using a J.S. Bach keyboard book. By learning to read with Bach, It deepened my interested in classical music. After two months he urged me to take more advanced lessons with David Knorr, a well known Gulf Coast guitarist. He was a phenomenal teacher who opened my eyes to technique, theory, other styles of music and introduced me to classical guitar. I began teaching private lessons about two years after I began playing. My first student was a math teacher at my high school who had heard me play guitar. He offered to tutor me in algebra in exchange for guitar lessons. It was truly satisfying seeing him improve each week from first picking up a guitar to being able to play music he had always wanted to play. I knew right then it was what I wanted to dedicate my life to. Shortly after I got a job at a local music store teaching lessons. When the time came to attend college, I majored in music and started to play more classical guitar. I began studying classical guitar full time at the University of Southern Mississippi under the remarkable guitarist, Dr. Nicholas Ciraldo. After earning my Bachelors in guitar performance at USM, I went on to receive my Masters in Music from the University of Louisiana. I studied with Dr. Jeffrey George who was both an extraordinary teacher and mentor. After receiving my Masters, I decided to pursue my D.M.A. I was accepted into ASU’s classical guitar program, where I studied with renowned pedagogue, Frank Koonce. I am currently finishing my dissertation and teaching at Grand Canyon University.

Please tell us about your art.
My art is in my teaching, my performances, and my arrangements. When it comes to teaching my students, my goal for them is to grow as players and to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for music. I want the music to be a vessel of expression for them as it is for myself. I encourage them to get outside their comfort zone by exploring more styles of music as well as performing. I find my student’s strengths and build upon them while trying to find ways to use the student’s musical interest to balance out other areas of improvements. I always try to challenge my students but also make learning the guitar fun and enjoyable.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Social media has been a great connection tool for me. I use Instagram and Facebook as networking platforms to keep in touch and have discussions with musicians from all over the world. When I first moved to Arizona to attend school in 2016, I knew literally no one here! Using social media, I was able to connect with other musicians in my area. I found and joined the Phoenix Guitar Society. This organization meets monthly and anyone can perform, listen, and meet with other guitarists. As a student at ASU, I know there are performances by world-class musicians almost every week. I often check the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Art’s webpage for upcoming events, concerts, and free student recitals to attend. Now that everyone has a voice online, I’m quite sure there are groups and organizations out there for everyone no matter what your interests may be.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My most recent project is my arrangement of Suite in A Minor by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, a French baroque dance suite written for harpsichord that I’ve arranged for solo guitar. Within the next year, I will be releasing my first classical guitar album which will include my arrangement as well as other harpsichord pieces. I also plan on publishing my the Suite along with other harpsichord arrangements. All of this will be available on my website sometime next year. I am available for private lessons both online and in person. I also teach at Grand Canyon University for anyone who’s looking to improve their skills as a guitarist or is thinking about majoring in worship arts or music.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Neil Schwartz Photography.

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