It’s our Dream Big spring fund drive here at ACG! We dream of a world where music is here for everyone, connecting us, inspiring us, and bringing joy and meaning wherever it goes. Click here to support ACG or call us any time at 512-300-2247. We are able to share beautiful stories like this, thanks to the support of friends like you.

This week we got to speak with McCallum High School’s guitar director, Andrew Clark. Andrew’s connection with the guitar began in Northern British Columbia in his early youth. He shared, 

“Though I initially wanted to play the electric guitar, the only teachers where I grew up taught classical. I soon grew to enjoy the lessons as time went on, and hearing albums by Julian Bream sparked an obsession with the instrument. I went on to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for my undergraduate degree, Escuela Nacional de la Musica in Havana on full scholarship for a year, followed by graduate studies at Columbus State University in Georgia.”

Andrew began teaching private students during his early 20’s and was offered a graduate assistantship during his time at Columbus State. The assistantship offered pedagogical specialization in guitar and teacher certification. Upon graduating from Columbus, Andrew was offered a teaching position at McCallum high school in 2009!

During his time in Columbus, GA, Andrew developed a friendship with ACG’s former Assistant Education Director, Jeremy Osborne and was then connected with ACG Executive Director Matt Hinsley. After speaking with Matt about his interest in pre-college guitar education, Andrew grew a deep connection with the organization. 

Andrew shared a little bit about his choice to become a music educator, 

“I knew that I loved the classical guitar and wanted it to be central to my career. But to be honest, I had no idea how I was going to eventually make a living, but just kept swinging from one branch to another and moving to different cities to study with a scholarship. I feel incredibly fortunate that the specialized degree with Dr. Zohn turned more of my focus to education.”

Andrew has now been at McCallum for thirteen years! How amazing is that? He shared a little about his favorite parts of the job and a couple highlights throughout the years,

“I enjoy being on my feet and moving around the classroom all day conducting, singing, playing along, and interacting with my students. It’s rewarding to start a piece from scratch, refine a piece of music, and have my students proudly share it with an audience. 

It’s always so amazing to see students pursue music in college and then come back to perform or send us music to play if they are composing. I have great memories of performing one of my favorite pieces, Ben Verdery’s ‘Scenes from Ellis Island’ with Alex Lew who is now finishing graduate studies at Yale, and Justice Phillips, who played a mesmerizing electric guitar solo and now currently works with ACG.”

Andrews students will have their final program concert on May 11th at McCallum Theater! 

We’re so excited to hear more stories from music educators we have the pleasure of working with! 

Read another story in our Celebrating Music Educators series about teaching artist, Francisco De La Rosa, here.