John Paul Shields has been actively teaching and participating in music education since 2001, and is currently faculty at the Holy Names Music Center and Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, WA. In addition to private guitar lessons, John Paul has taught group classes in both schools and afterschool organizations. He has also lectured about the guitar and its repertoire to audiences of all ages, created and developed guitar programs for adolescents and adults, and given master classes to aspiring professional musicians in conservatories.
Philosophically, John Paul seeks to inspire students about the beauty and importance of both guitar and music, embracing music’s role as a means of personal expression. A lifelong learner himself, he searches for new ways to assist his students at an individual level. Always open to new interpretations, repertoire, and approach, John Paul employs a philosophy of actively listening to the student’s artistic desires in conjunction with the student’s playing to find solutions that compliment each student’s musical interests and physical abilities.
John Paul approaches guitar technique holistically, focusing on body coordination while also incorporating traditional themes such as scales and tone. After having guitar-related injuries, John Paul began investigating the ergonomics of guitar playing, inspired by his studies of kinesiology, physical therapy, and the Alexander technique. Lessons focus on students building habit awareness of their playing and practice in order to achieve ease, freedom and control. This additionally gives the students a greater chance to continue their enjoyment of the guitar, enabling them to strengthen their technique and to self-diagnose technical problems in their playing and interpretations.
Ultimately, John Paul’s main goal as an instructor is to help his students recognize their unique artistic aspirations while developing the tools and understanding to progress independently.