David Newsam

Associate Professor
Class of 
1981
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David Newsam has been teaching at Berklee College of Music since 1989 as a member of the Guitar and Professional Music departments. He is the director of the Classical Guitar Chamber program at Berklee and teaches private lessons on classical and jazz guitar. David has performed in concerts and clinics with many noted musicians, among them guitarists Jim Hall, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Peter Bernstein, and Howard Alden; pianists Dave McKenna and James Williams; drummers Ed Shaugnessy, Louis Bellson, Bob Moses, and Alan Dawson; and jazz legends Clark Terry, Phil Wilson, Joe Williams, and Milt Jackson.

Newsam is the former artistic director of the Boston Classical Guitar Society, and is a member of the Back Bay Guitar Trio. He grew up in Connecticut, where he was a student of Robert Shaw, and is a graduate of Berklee, where he studied with Jim Kelly, Larry Baione, and William Leavitt.

  • Career Highlights
    • Performances with Jack Jones, Mitzi Gaynor, the 5th Dimension, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Alan Dawson, Joe Williams, Buddy DeFranco, Dave McKenna, and John Raitt
    • Coauthor of Making Money Teaching Music
    • Extensive show, theater, concert, and club performances
  • Education
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"In my course called the Private Studio Teacher, I try to give my students the sense that they can avoid having to make a choice between music and a full-time job; this is a viable alternative. I try to bring in former students who are now doing just that—some even have their own business and have made teaching a full-time career."

"A lot of my private lessons and labs focus on nylon string classical guitar. Since I'm able to balance electric and classical guitar, I can help my students understand the technical issues with classical guitar and how they differ from electric guitar. There's always a performance at the end of each semester, even if it's just a small informal recital. It doesn't matter if it's for four or five classmates, or 400 or 500 people in the Performance Center; it's the same process, and I think it's really valuable to students to experience it."

"To walk out of school and have professional opportunities—that's what I want for my students. If I can recommend any of my students for performances I can't accept, then I've succeeded. The students who go above and beyond what is asked of them are the students I end up performing with or who have successful teaching businesses. They're the ones who possess that inspiration to go well beyond what I gave them. In a concert I just did, two of the four other performers were former students of mine, and both of them are successful performers and teachers."

"I also want my students to have a joy for what they're doing. One of the things I always tell them as they head into spring break or summer vacation is to get back to why they are doing this in the first place. I think it's easy for students to lose that passion for music as they're struggling to get this project done or practice that scale. I really hope they maintain that passion for what brought them to Berklee in the first place."

"To be able to spend my whole life just doing music is really rewarding. I am fortunate in being one of those people that never really had to do anything else in my life except music. It may not be the most financially rewarding career that I could have chosen, but it really is a great thing to be able to go off to work every day looking forward to what I'm about to do."