We recently had a new guest artist recording in our showroom. Ashley Lucero is an American guitarist-composer and pedagogue from Cleveland, Ohio with an interesting story of hope and perseverance. 

One of Ashley Lucero’s early performances

Ashley’s journey as a guitarist began at the age of 17 when she nonchalantly signed up for a high school guitar class after moving away from her hometown to El Paso, Texas. She still remembers how upset she was from leaving her friends and school behind, and how the advising appointment could have gone much differently. She had no idea that her life had just taken a turn for the better, and that her future held incredible experiences and hard work in store. The weekend after her first class she found herself finding any moment to practice just so she could hold, hear, and feel the guitar. It was calming, but interesting and complex. Soon, it was not just the sound and the feel of the instrument, but also the music and the people.

“Guitarists are some of the funniest and smartest people I’ve ever met, not to toot my own horn.”  – Ashley Lucero

After taking a year off after graduation to prepare for auditions, and successfully being accepted to multiple universities on scholarship, Ashley moved across the state to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio. A successful decade-long career in Texas was preempted by hardship, unfortunately, as Ashley developed bilateral arm pain immediately after arriving and could not play for two years into her undergraduate studies. It was devastating emotionally and, sadly, wouldn’t be the last time she’d deal with injuries both musical and non-musical related. Her teacher and mentor, the award-winning composer, Matthew Dunne, encouraged her to focus on writing music for the guitar and to stay patient and curious throughout her healing process. She attributes her success in getting through such challenging times both to his encouragement and to her “iron will.”

A second time in 2017 she developed nerve irritation in her left arm which left her unable to use her fourth finger. Again, she looked elsewhere to develop her musicianship and began studying conducting and leading the UTSA guitar ensembles. She associates her past injuries with subsequent benefits of being forced to put the guitar away for an extended period of time. Development with technique, emotional connection, perspective, interest, etc. can be renewed through the painful time away from one of the most important parts of ourselves.

Ashley is currently pursuing her doctorate degree at the University of Southern California as the 2020 GSI Foundation Scholar. Ashley received this award due to her extensive work as a music educator in the community. Before moving to California, she was the lead instructor for the UTSA String Project guitar classes for three years, providing affordable and high-quality group instruction to grades 1st-8th in a university setting. Her experience as an educator encompasses students of all ages and backgrounds and she hopes to be an encouraging example to those who are generally discouraged or rejected. Ashley says:

“Everybody has a voice that deserves to be expressed. It’s a lot harder when you feel disconnected from the typical ideas of what an artist or musician looks or acts like, or what success looks and lives like. And when the world starts to add on its prejudices and lies it can feel pointless or painful to engage.”

She goes on to describe:

“When I first picked up the guitar, I immediately knew I needed to write for this instrument; but nobody was playing music written by women or even talking about it. You can only imagine the things that went through my head as a teenager to try and answer this puzzle for myself. I don’t think anyone should have to go through that alone; it can be extremely damaging. I still deal with the negative effects that time in my life had on me and so I make sure my students know they can ask me anything and that I am here to help them.”

As an educator, Ashley focuses on providing her students with the means to work well and maintain a healthy balance of standards and curiosity.

Ashley is not just a professional guitarist, but also a painter. She has also tried her hand at acting, playing the lead role in the independent short-film “States of Contention” which will be screened virtually by the Orlando and Denver film festivals later this year.

Ashley is currently pursing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California where she studies classical and flamenco guitar performance and composition.

During her visit to GSI, Ashley has recorded five pieces on five different guitars. Her videos turned out to be very popular among our YouTube audience! She recorded: Baden Powell’s “O Astronauta” on a 1971 Ignacio Fleta e hijos CD/CY, Lennon/McCartney’s “Yesterday” (arr. Takemitsu) on a 2020 Jose Ramirez 1a, Astor Piazzolla’s “Verano Porteño” on a 2020 German Vazquez Rubio “Divina”, Matthew Dunne’s “Miniature 10” on a 2020 Fructuoso Zalapa “Romanillos”and Miniature 12″ on a 2020 Jose Ramirez “Mangore”.

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7 Responses to “The New GSI Foundation Scholar, Ashley Lucero, Records at GSI. Learn more about her story!”

  1. Bob Leibrand says:

    She plays beautifully, injuries certainly have not hindered her from developing an expressive and articulate style. Her performance of Dunne’s “Miniature 12” is especially good. The Ramirez “Mangore” and Fleta sound wonderful.

  2. Wonderful player. Seems all the players on GSI are top notch. I hear all these performances, some of the compositions they perform I would like to learn. Where do I get the sheet music? Really like the Miniatures.
    Thank you Guitar Salon and Ashley.

  3. James Vereker says:

    Credit for her hard work and dedication to overcome setbacks. Baden Powell played with lyrical sensitivity and well voiced. “Yesterday” lacks fluidity with truncated phrasing of the melody. Ambitious effort on “Verano Porteno” with rhythms and voicing needing distinction to emulate the crisp summer footbeats on the streets of BA and lyrical section voicing requiring stronger ligados. In contrast, Matthew Dunne’s pieces are well within her grasp and point to a promising career for Ashley.

  4. Bravo Ashley ,!!!!!!!! Bien , muy bien , que hermoso es escucharte

  5. Jose Vadi says:

    I have “trigger finger’ in both hands and have had surgery in each. I am still recovering after nearly one year without playing guitar. You inspire me to continue. You play beautifully. How did you overcome your injuries and do you recommend any particular regimen to recovery strength and dexterity of the fingers and reduce pain in the palm of the hands? Thank you for your inspiration.

    • Hi there, thank you for reaching out. Firstly, I wish you the best in mental and emotional strength as you rebuild your physical strength. In my journey I had to learn to pay more attention to my body as a whole and I worked to understand the mechanics and how to avoid common mistakes in posture or movement that can be injurious. I also learned a lot about tension and stress, and the negative effects it can have on our bodies. I also studied trigger point therapy which I have used to help myself and others in recovering from injuries music and non music related. When you start playing again, It is most important to remain patient and self aware when starting to play again to be sure you do not reinjure. Take the break as a rewiring of your brain in a way and rebuild using basic exercises for both hands. Use a practice journal to log your progress so that the next day you do not overdo it without realizing it (it happens more than you think.) look into the Aaron shearer method of visualization, I used it to improve my knowledge of the fretboard which allowed me to play with less tension and practice mentally more often. I hope this somehow help.

      – Ashley L.

  6. Jose Vadi says:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I will heed your advice to the letter. Patience, patience, patience!


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