Background & Methodology

Jonathan Richter, Classical guitarist Atlanta, GA

Background

I grew up in Decatur, GA and Asheville, NC, and began playing guitar when I was 13 years old. Like many young beginner guitarists, my earliest influences were folk and classic rock. With the help of my dad and a couple family friends I learned how to transition between chords pretty fluidly, but didn’t know the first thing about ‘fingerstyle’ guitar playing, how to play a solo melody, or why certain chords sounded good together while others did not.

Fortunately, I also grew up listening to the classical guitar recordings of my uncle David Richter, a teacher and prominent classical guitar performer. Oftentimes I would find myself listening to his recordings of great composers like Bach or Tárrega and think “how is it possible that one just guitar can produce such full, beautiful, and intricate music?“.

I came to the conclusion that if I could learn the skills necessary to play classical guitar, then I could probably learn any other guitar style with relative ease. Furthermore, I was bored with just playing the same basic chords and strumming patterns, and wanted to learn how to play with more emotion, confidence, and finesse.

With years of hard work and excellent guidance from my mentors, this goal became reality! Today, I pass on what I’ve learned to students nationwide to help them reach their full guitar potential.

Every new piece of music you encounter has unique challenges and nuances, which is why learning the right skills is a necessity. Ultimately, having a strong classical guitar foundation means you can play more complex music, learn pieces faster, and gain a deeper understanding of how and why the music is doing what it’s doing. If you’re ready to take your playing to the next level, please contact me today!

Jonathan Richter plays Bach’s Cello Suite No.1: Prelude, BWV 1007

Guilford College

I graduated from Guilford College in 2010 with B.A. in Music and East Asian Studies, where I studied the Shearer Guitar method under Kami Rowan. While attending Guilford I learned the fundamentals of music theory and history, and was a member of the Guilford College Guitar Ensemble.

Guilford College Guitar Ensemble (2010)
Guilford College Guitar Ensemble (2010)

I specialize in classical, Spanish, and flamenco styles, but also enjoy playing the works of various composers and styles from around the world.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

After graduating from Guilford, I completed my MA in Music from the The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2013. During that time I specialized in the music of China and East Asia in the Ethnomusicology department.

Jonathan Richter guitar in Honolulu
Performing at the Honolulu Museum of Art, 2012

During my stay in Honolulu I continued my classical guitar study, learned many world instruments, played in the Chinese Ensemble, crafted musical arrangements for guitar, and served as a founding member and Activities officer of the Ethnomusicology Association (EMA). I also had the joy of meeting musicians from around the world who have helped shaped my musicality and approach to musical learning.

Fulbright Scholarship & Music in China

I later went on to conduct extensive fieldwork in China on a Fulbright Scholarship from 2012-2013. I researched the mouth harp of the Yi minority group in southwest China, and teamed up with a local professor to create our documentary film, Masters of the Yi Mouth Harp.

Masters of the Yi Mouth Harp

Contact me to set up a lesson schedule, or if you would like to know more.

Jonathan Richter, Atlanta Classical guitar lessons

Methodology

My approach to teaching guitar adapts depending on the student’s individual needs and goals. I believe that instilling strong fundamentals, such as proper posture and hand technique, is crucial to developing one’s tonality and overall musicality. Establishing the proper techniques early on can save you time and energy when learning more advanced pieces, and will keep your hand muscles healthy long-term.

I also believe that learning a bit about a composer’s life and listening to various interpretations of a piece are essential to understanding the music and conveying it effectively through performance. Moreover, I believe guitar is an excellent form of self-expression, and a great way to connect with people from diverse cultures and soundscapes.

Beginner

Beginners can expect to acquire the basic fundamentals of playing guitar mentioned above, along with techniques for tuning, changing guitar strings, learning chords, rhythm, and superb warm up and hand strengthening exercises. I guarantee that you will be able to play your first guitar chord cleanly within 30 minutes! You can also expect to learn some simple but beautiful right hand finger picking patterns.

Intermediate

Wondering where to get started? Check out my album 20 Classical Guitar Etudes for Beginner and Intermediate Students here!

Advanced

Advanced lessons are available for those with years of guitar experience who have mastered the basic techniques and are ready to learn performance-level pieces. Advanced level students will achieve the skills necessary to read sheet music and learn the bulk of their repertoire independently.

Contact me to set up a lesson schedule, or if you would like to know more.

Guitar Learning Resources:

Learn Guitar Today

Ready to learn guitar or take your playing to the next level? I’d love to be the one to help you reach your musical goals–just like the dozens of other students I’ve helped since 2016.

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