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Dr. Matthew Anderson is tuned in to student development

By Erika Neldner

Dr. Matthew Anderson brings his passion for music every time he teaches in his classroom.

Anderson came to Reinhardt in 2007 after receiving a call from the then-dean of the School of Performing Arts. “I jumped right in on Fridays, teaching a full day and driving the five-hour round-trip to/from Athens where I was a graduate student.”

The assistant professor of music loves to teach applied guitar; it forces him to stay sharp on his own playing due to the fact that all of his students bring a different set of skills and interests.

“I’m constantly introduced to new music, new styles and new techniques while preparing and teaching,” he said. “Plus, getting to play and talk guitar all day is an amazing job. I’ve discovered things in my own playing and new ways of thinking about common problems on the guitar, all the while trying to help students overcome obstacles.”

He has found through his teaching at Reinhardt and other schools throughout Georgia that Reinhardt truly stands apart in what he calls “noticeable ways.”

“The campus is gorgeous, and the faculty and staff have a relationship that you don’t always find at the college level,” Anderson said. “Faculty truly care about the well-being and success of the students, and this extends beyond the classroom. Students are not just a number here; faculty know faces and names, and they know the students’ stories.”

His path to a professional guitar teacher started with a mentor who converted him from a chemistry major to a guitar major at Georgia State University. “I was on scholarship to study chemistry at GSU, but all I wanted to do was play guitar,” he said. “The late John Sutherland, former guitar instructor at the University of Georgia, took a big chance with someone so musically uneducated, but through his demands, high expectations and constant encouragement, I ended up going all the way through and getting a doctorate in guitar performance.”

Dr. Anderson also is the music program coordinator, guitar studies coordinator and co-director of the Reinhardt Contemporary Arts Festival. He received his Bachelor of Music from Georgia State University and his Master of Music and Doctor of Music from the University of Georgia. Dr. Anderson is an active soloist, chamber musician and guitar clinician on both classical and electric. He is a founding member of the Athens Guitar Duo, and over the past decade his concertizing and teaching have taken him all over the world.

He has performed for such distinguished individuals as former President Jimmy Carter and world-renowned guitarist Christopher Parkening; he was the featured guitarist on the 2005 documentary film, “Alvar Sunol: His Vision and His Art.” As a member of the Athens Guitar Duo, he is both a Claudio Records Artist and a Hill Guitar Company Artist.

Dr. Matthew Anderson

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