Scotty Johnson

Scotty Johnson has been an associate professor in the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music since 1999, and is a regular performer in the Boston theater scene. He has toured the world many times, and recorded CDs with Paul Gilbert (Bee Hive Live, Alligator Farm), the Ford Blues Band (Fords and Friends with Robben Ford), the Blindside Blues Band, Dick Dale (Calling Up Spirits), Ansley Dunbar, and many others.

In addition to winning the grand prize in the International D'Addario Rock Contest, Johnson is a former Blues Bureau International recording artist and was the musical director of the long-running production show Madhattan in Las Vegas. Recent theater credits include Spamalot, The Lion King, High Fidelity, Sweet Charity, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Footloose, The Full Monty, Annie, Memphis, and Fame.

Johnson is also featured on the instructional DVD Accelerate Your Rock Guitar Playing.

  • Career Highlights
    • Recordings and tours with Paul Gilbert, Robben Ford, the Ford Blues Band, and the Blindside Blues Band
    • Specializes in rock and blues with a jazzy twist
  • Awards
    • Grand prize winner, International D'Addario Rock Contest
  • Education
    • B.M., University of Miami

In Their Own Words

"My calling card musically is blues/rock with some jazzy influence. I bring a unique diversity of experience, having played and recorded with Paul Gilbert and Robben Ford—two very different types of players. Right now I do a lot of theater work: playing in the pit. Because music is so broad, trying to ultra-define a style is a challenge."

"My main message is that there's work out there for musicians—gigs and paychecks. I've brought students into the pit with me and they are glad to see that there are many attainable avenues for music other than being a rock star. There are other ways to do things creatively and work as a professional musician with a guitar in your lap. I tell students, 'Here's what you have to know, here's what you'll get paid, here's the person who will hire you, etc.' It's not always about music theory; it's experience. In my theater lab, they're seeing the actual chart that I read in the pit from shows like The Lion King or Spamalot, for example. That resonates with the students."

"I like seeing progression and inspiration in students. If I create a spark, and they come back with a question the next week, that opens up a whole new door. Learning the material will be its own reward. It's not just about the test at the end of the semester. Here at Berklee, students are around thousands of like-minded individuals; the experiences and energy that come with that, you cannot get in a book."

"When you study guitar here, I think you need to be as prepared and open-minded as possible and not get so hung up on where you are on the imaginary 'totem pole' of ability with other students. It's all mental. So if you can push that aside and play with students who are 'better' than you, that's when the walls come down, the doors open up, and the learning goes through the roof."