Garrison Fewell

Professor

"I try to show students how the things that they’re studying can be used. At this time of year we’re starting to work on proficiencies, or the final exams, and sometimes the students look at it like it’s so dry, it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their playing. I was talking with one student about the harmonic major scale. We started working on the chords from level 4 and talking about how the scales connect to the chord forms and then how you could use it in a solo. This could apply to harmony class or ear training. Sometimes students are shocked when I see that they’re having a hard time playing something on the guitar and I say, 'Just sing it. Now play what you sang.' They probably already finished their ear training but haven’t yet discovered how it applies to the instrument. It’s using all the resources we have. So here in the lesson I try to be open to all these things. The students have so much to study here, sometimes it’s hard for them to make connections. I make connections, whether it’s through the ear or the intellect or the emotions."

"With the guitar, we’re struggling to stay on top of whatever’s new while at the same time not giving up on everything that’s happened before. There are so many different styles, and it’s an instrument that lends itself really well to any style that you want to imagine. There are always new artists coming up, and now some of the people who studied with me are famous and making their own music. I try to look at a student and see what may be useful to them at this particular moment, but also think about their future. As creative artists, it’s going to be their challenge to figure out how to make music out of what they’re learning. Right now they may wonder why they’re studying this, but that’s what they need to find out. I remember times as a student when I didn’t know either, and I thought some of those things I really didn’t need. For example, my counterpoint class was really hard to relate to, but now that’s so much a part of my music. I don’t remember that there was a day when that happened, but all the things we’re exposed to, whether it’s listening or studying, are going to come out somewhere in our music. I just have to feel confident that with all the ideas I can offer to the students, they’re going to create something new out of that."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Accurate Records recording artist
  • Performances with George Cables, Larry Coryell, Tal Farlow, Tim Hagans, Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Norma Winstone, and others
  • A Blue Deeper Than the Blue, featuring Cecil McBee and Fred Hersch, voted Top Ten Jazz Album by Coda magazine and Best Jazz CD of the Year at the Boston Music Awards; Are You Afraid of the Dark? received Guitar Player magazine's Editors Choice: Best Recordings 1996
  • Featured at international jazz festivals including Budapest, Jazz Mecca, Krakow, Montreux, North Sea, Umbria, and Warsaw
  • Contributing writer to Guitar Player and Axe (Italian) magazines
  • Jazz clinician for over 40 conservatories in Europe