Posts Tagged ‘Austin’


Here’s another blog post from Matt Hinsley of the Austin Classical Guitar Society that I just had to share – they do such great work in Austin promoting the guitar and proving what a positive influence music can be in the lives of young people. They constantly impress and inspire me:

Eight high school boys in matching maroon T-shirts are focused intensely on Travis Marcum, our Director of Education. They are sitting with their left feet on footstools, holding classical guitars, playing a piece of music beautifully together. Their playing is not only synchronized, but it’s full of careful nuance with gorgeous and expressive moments that persist even in spite of the sporadic radio chatter from the guards just outside the open door in the hallway.

At the soft and slowing finish, Travis congratulates the group on their progress. This is the second performance of the piece this evening, and already they’ve refined tone, togetherness and several expressive moments. He asks if anyone has a comment and the boy to my right, Randy, raises his hand. “Sir, I didn’t think we were right together at the end of measure eight, sir.” One of the other boys nods at this observation, and Travis replies, “Excellent, let’s work on measure eight.”

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In the first and second parts of this series I described two ways that we at the Austin Classical Guitar Society, have experimented with expanding our normal programming. Our “normal” programming is pretty broad: from several major series, to hundreds of annual outreach events, and a vast education program including middle schools, high schools, and opportunities for adult learners as well.



Here’s Part 2 of Matt Hinsley’s series on bringing new audiences to the guitar and the guitar to new audiences. I think it’s awesome that on the one hand Matt is presenting players at huge beautiful venues in Austin and then at the same time he’s getting involved with the coffee house scene (but of course he’s doing it on a Hinsley-esque scale).



I’m very happy to welcome Matt Hinsley of the Austin Classical Guitar Society (among other things – he’s sort of a one-man juggernaut for the cause of music education and promoting the classical guitar, and his energy and enthusiasm are contagious and humbling) as the newest contributor the GSI Blog. Matt’s going to be filling us in on his activities, as well as conducting interviews with educators and guitarists and whatever else he feels like writing about. On of my favorite things about Matt is that he’s constantly finding new ways to bring the guitar to new audiences, and to bring new audiences to the guitar. This first post of his is a great example of that:


Apparently David Russell is a golfer, and a good sport, because the Austin Guitar Society is auctioning off tickets to see Russell play in Austin, as well as lunch and 18 holes of golf with him at Austin’s Barton Creek Resort on Sunday, April 3, 2011. It’s all for the very good cause of supporting the Austin CGS’s educational outreach program, so if you’re into golf and guitar this seems pretty cool. You can bid here.

09 is an amazing program developed by Matt Hinsley and all of the folks over at the Austin CG Society. Not only is it a really fantastic way to get players of different skill levels playing together (which is a feat in itself), but the proceeds from go directly to supporting Austin CGS’s outreach program. They’ve done an amazing job with their curriculum and I really think anyone who teaches kids (or any groups, really) needs to check this out.

Here’s a bit from their website: is a project of the Austin Classical Guitar Society, a non-profit arts organization based in Austin, Texas. All proceeds derived from subscriptions to this site go directly to support the Educational Outreach Program of the Austin Classical Guitar Society which provides free lessons and instruments for low-income students in the Austin area as well as classroom direction, teacher training, and ongoing classroom classical guitar curriculum research and development in the form of  Major funding for this project has been provided by the Webber Family Foundation.

With an annual subscription, educators subscribe and gain access to which provides ensemble-based repertoire and sight reading materials suitable for medium to large classes (5 or more students). The approach divides classrooms into 3 sections of students (Guitar 1, Guitar 2 and Guitar 3).

The curriculum designates 9 levels of student advancement. If all students in the class are the same level (e.g. beginning guitar class), will provide scores and parts for three-part guitar ensembles for which all students are required to have the same skill set. Ample scores are available for all levels in the case that all students in the class share a skill level, though typically this is only the case for beginning guitar classes (levels 1-4).

If the classroom contains students at different levels of advancement, students will need to be arranged into three sections that best represent their skills (read more on this here). For example, there may be a class of mostly level 5 and 6 students with some beginners who have been added (level 1). In that case, an educator will simply enter “1, 5 & 6” in the search interface and it will immediately return scores and parts customized for that individual classroom.

Go to for more info…



Our friend Matthew Hinsley, who is director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society and has been so successful at introducing classical guitar programs throughout Texas and now the country, has written a new book about developing successful non-profits. I haven’t read it yet, but as Matt has been such a force in this area I’m sure that it’s a worthwhile read and I look forward to getting a copy. You can check it out and buy it here.



Matt Hinsley, the director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society, is kind of a whirlwind of advocacy for supporting guitar education in our public schools. He and the ACGS started in Austin and have now gone statewide and are beginning to go national. After meeting him at GFA in Austin this year I knew I wanted to hear more, so we arranged to talk on the phone about the future of guitar education and how to raise money and awareness in less than perfect economic times. Here’s the beginning of our conversation (the rest will be available as an article on the GSI site later this week):.