Fine Arts Academy

Instrumental Music: Classical Guitar

The McCallum High School and Fine Arts Academy is home to one of the leading classical guitar programs Texas. McCallum’s Guitar Ensembles have won several consecutive first prizes in the UT Brownsville and Hill Country National Classical Guitar Ensemble Competitions, and performed showcases at major conventions such as TMEA, and the Guitar Foundation of America. They have performed alongside the Miro Quartet under the baton of Peter Bay for the world premiere of Joe Williams’ ‘Austin Pictures’ at ACL Live Theater, and shared the stage with Yale Professor Ben Verdery during a performance of his work ‘Ellis Island’ at Concordia University. Ensembles have also given pre-show performances for iconic guitarists such as Pepe Romero, LAGQ, and Solo Duo for Austin Classical Guitar’s International Concert Series.

Students in the McCallum Classical Guitar Program have opportunities to perform in masterclasses for leading classical guitarists such as Adam Holzman (UT), Stephen Aron (Oberlin), as well as the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Students have also won prestigious awards such as the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Competition’s ‘Outstanding Musician’ award, as well as the Texas Young Master’s grant.

The Classical Guitar Program at McCallum features three annual program concerts, as well as opportunities to perform in the All City Guitar Event, Full ensemble/sight reading competition, as well as UIL solo/ensemble competition and AISD solo/ensemble competitions.


brownsville2The Chamber Ensemble is five time consecutive national champions at the University of Texas, Brownsville Classical Guitar Ensemble Competition, the only known national classical guitar ensemble competition in the country.

We perform at the Austin Classical Guitar Society’s Season concerts every year, as well as various community events throughout Austin.

The Chamber Ensemble has been featured at Austin Classical Guitar Society concert events, including in October 2009 for a guest artist from Japan.

The Chamber Ensemble has also been featured at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival/Competition showcase.

Students in the classical guitar program have won Texas Outstanding Musician Awards, numerous UIL “1 ratings”, national solo competition awards, and scholarships to post-secondary art programs.

Classical Guitar Curriculum

(Click here for Classical Guitar Major curriculum reqs.)

The curriculum follows The Austin Classical Guitar Society’s online guitar curriculum, a sequentially developed, nine-level curriculum designed both for a classroom of students who are all at the same level (i.e. most beginning classes) as well as varying levels represented.

Classes consist of rehearsing repertoire in three/four parts while developing technical, music reading, and expressive skills. Selected repertoire consists of a historical survey of music arranged and composed for the classical guitar ranging from the Renaissance era to contemporary works by Austin composers. Every student is required to participate in winter and spring performances.

Classical Guitar Course Descriptions

Ensemble placement is based on skill level, regardless of major/non-major status.


Beginner Guitar: For students with no previous formal classical guitar instruction. Emphasis on foundations of music literacy, posture/ set-up, musical expression, and performance etiquette. Students learn techniques such as slurs, planting arpeggios, open chord shapes, and right hand alternation towards the end of the school year.
     Audition requirements: none
Intermediate Guitar: A continuation of beginner guitar. The course begins with the aforementioned techniques applied through ensemble repertoire performed throughout the year. Students begin to play and read outside of first position.
     Audition requirements: Two four- measure excerpts of a single line melody in first position, with appropriate technique. One excerpt is on the treble strings and the other is on the bass strings. Comprehension of note flashcards in first position.
Advanced Guitar: An emphasis on performing ensemble repertoire in various fretboard positions. Repertoire increases in difficulty through length, quick tempos, position shifting, thicker simultaneous voice textures, key signatures, etc.
     Audition Requirements: ‘Light and Dark’ by Matthew Hinsley from ‘Classical Guitar for Young People’, performed with the appropriate technique. Comprehension of note flashcards in first and fifth position.
Chamber Guitar: The top performing ensemble of the program, students perform rich, contrasting repertoire of high complexity. Students must double block chamber guitar (schedule permitting), and study quartet/trio/duo repertoire in one of the classes
     Audition Requirements: A UIL Class II solo, a sight reading excerpt in first position.

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Clark, Andrew
Teacher-Fine Arts, Classical Guitar

Guitar Portable

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