Aaron Shearer was one of the most widely recognized and respected teachers of the classical guitar in America. He had been director of the guitar program at Peabody Conservatory and the North Carolina School of the Arts and towards the end of his life was adjunct professor of Classic Guitar at Duquesne University. Dr. Shearer had lectured throughout the United States and Canada, and had received numerous citations for his contributions to guitar pedagogy. Dr. Shearer also became the first classical guitar teacher to be cited for exceptional leadership and merit by the American String Teachers Association, and he received an Honorary Doctorate from Duquesne University. He was cited as the most prominent pedagogue of the twentieth century by the Guitar Foundation of America.
In his lifetime, Aaron Shearer published numerous books and articles including a six-book series entitled Classic Guitar Technique, which included two volumes with three supplements and a guitar note speller. This benchmark series was originally published in 1959 by Franco Columbo, which ultimately became part of Warner Brothers and is now printed by Alfred Music. In 1992, Dr. Shearer published under Mel Bay Publications a three part book entitled Learning the Classic Guitar. Around the turn of the century, Shearer began to experiment with alternative ways of supporting the guitar while still maintaining muscular alignment and full access to the instrument. His creation of the Shearer Strap has given guitarists freedom from the constraints of the footstool. In the early part of 2008, prior to his passing, Aaron Shearer finished his magnum opus “The Shearer Method” a comprehensive treatise that covers his entire approach to teaching and learning the classical guitar. This work is detailed not only with illustrations and examples but with insightful DVD presentations on hand movement and preparation. This work was slated to be published in late 2010, and it is currently available.
His body of work was revolutionary and his unwavering commitment to excellence earned him the moniker “The Wall” by some of his students. More accurately he has been called “The Father of the American Classic Guitar” and is credited with being “the most prominent pedagogue of the twentieth century”. His former students include Manuel Barrueco, Ricardo Cobo, David Tanenbaum, Thomas Kikta and David Starobin. His wisdom and insight are sorely missed, but his work and legacy will live on through the Aaron Shearer Foundation and all the lives he has touched.
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