Guitar New Mexico’s Artist-in-Residence Program brings a renowned classical guitarist to selected local schools to work with student guitar ensembles and teach master classes at no cost to the school or students. The 2018 Artist in Residence is John Truitt, a local guitarist/educator, who will surely inspire both students and teachers alike. The program offers teachers an opportunity to encounter new teaching ideas through music teacher workshops.

Letter from John Truitt 

Guitar New Mexico Board of Directors,

My deepest thanks to you and all the board for the support given to me in the AIR(Artist in Residence) program.  I am so grateful to have had the chance to visit and speak with the kids and teachers, to hear what they have been working on, and to get a sense of where the thrust of guitar study seems to be headed, based on what I have seen in my visits.

I think the program is a wonderful asset to the guitar community, in informational, inspirational and community building ways.  The chance to support the teachers is especially important, in that there is no effort currently in place to mentor newer teachers or to offer assistance to existing programs in any of the districts surrounding the central Rio Grande Valley.  Guitar New Mexico is the only organization that is providing a program such as this.

The benefits are clear, as programs are showing growth in numbers and quality, and previously formative programs have shown new depth in the last several years.  Middle school programs have begun to have significant effect on the high school programs they feed, and the use of sensible and accepted pedagogy is clearly on the rise.

Here are a few of the things that I would observe:

*   Program material has become more rigorous across the board.  teachers are choosing to challenge students and insist on fundamentals that were only lightly applied some years ago.
*   The Austin Curriculum has been adopted by a number of teachers, especially at the middle school level.  The results are positive, mostly, I think, because the Austin materials are so carefully sequenced and the teachers themselves (those who are not guitarists,) are able to demonstrate the material effectively.
*   A classroom teacher’s newsletter/blog  would be a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of the programs that are hard to keep in the loop.  In 2010, there were 32 programs that I had on my list for communication about the Guitar Initiative. My suspicion is that there are probably as many as 50 now.  I know that you have an extensive outreach program…do you have a blog or newsletter?

I can’t thank you enough for the confidence you have shown in me to do this project this year.  I am so honored, and I absolutely loved the chance to visit all these wonderful programs.  Please keep up the great work and advocacy for the guitar, and let me know how I can help you in the future!

Deepest thanks,

John Truitt

John TruittTRUITT_JOHN_cropped is a native New Mexican, bi-lingual Spanish/English, who is steeped in the culture and traditions of our state. Throughout his career as a music educator he has come to know the educational system of the state and many of the people involved that system. He is a highly effective teacher, leader, and advocate for the arts in the lives of young people. He is a good communicator, adept at visioning programs and initiatives, and works well with colleagues and superiors. He is proudest of the many young teachers that he has mentored as a part of his years in teaching. He is vigorous, enthusiastic, humorous and goal oriented. He is now in his early sixties, married with two children.

John has taught at all levels of the educational system, public and private, Kindergarten through college.  He initiated and overseen instrumental programs at Albuquerque Academy, including the Band Program, The Jazz Program, and the nationally renowned Classical Guitar Program.  He founded the Renaissance/Medieval performance group, Musica Antigua de Alburquerque, (1977).  He has participated in successful faculty and administration searches for the UNM Music Department, and Albuquerque Academy.  He has served as an evaluator for purposes of accreditation of schools for the Independent School Association of the Southwest.  He initiated and administered the New Mexico All-State Guitar Initiative, resulting in the implementation of the first All-State Guitar Ensemble in the history of music education in the United States. (2010)  He is the composer of more than thirty pieces for school instrumental music groups, mainly guitar ensembles.  He has presented clinics and workshops for many national groups, including the Guitar Foundation of America, American String Teachers Association, and Music Educator’s National Conference.  He has helped in the design and programming phase of the construction of two music facilities, working closely with administrators, trustees and architects.  He has mentored and supported many young music teachers.

Past Guitar New Mexico Artists-in-Residence Matt Denman and Michael Nigro