We had the good fortune of connecting with David Sewell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what do you want people to remember about you?
This question means a few different things to me. What will I leave behind, what impact will I have in my field of study, what is my body of work, and also what is the lasting impression I will leave on the people I have come across in my lifetime? In the classical guitar world, I have a deep fondness for baroque music, arranging, adding new music to the guitar’s catalog, and teaching. The guitar has given me so much and I wish to pay it back with new arrangements of these great works of art. Hopefully, these arrangements will become new pieces played in concert halls around the world. Also, nowadays more than ever guitarists need to be multifaceted. I often tell my students that being well rounded will open more doors for you, whether it’s career opportunities, gigs, or anything in-between. Before going to school and getting my DMA in classical guitar I was (still am) an electric guitarist. A silver lining for me with being quarantined was that I was able to pick up my electric guitar a lot more this past year and am now working towards producing projects in both classical and electric guitar. As both styles of guitar are so very special to me, I would like to include both in my body of work, not just classical guitar music. I also wish to see my legacy through the successes of my students. I have already begun to see this as I have many incredibly talented students at Grand Canyon University that are already proving to be successful. Being the teacher to these deviceful musicians who will continue to share their craft with others, I believe (hopefully) will have a domino effect continuing the love of music and the guitar. This continuation of knowledge and seeing them grow on their instrument and with music in general and is profoundly fulfilling and a great part of what I would like my legacy to be. Aside from music, I would also like to be remembered as a kind and empathetic person. I certainly try to be that to everyone I meet. Alongside my legacy of work, if the people I have known could say that about me I would be immensely happy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am currently an adjunct professor of guitar at Grand Canyon University where I teach all classical guitar majors and all styles of guitars. On top of that, I am a guitar instructor for the Lead Guitar Organization. With Lead Guitar, we put guitar programs in public schools with low access to the arts with our field-tested curriculum to teach students to play and to train teachers to teach classical guitar. I think what sets me apart in my field is that though my degrees are in classical guitar, I am well versed in other styles as well and have extensive experience teaching these different styles. Pursuing music as a career is definitely not a “safe” choice but if you have a love for it and keep grinding I believe you will find overcome the obstacles that will inevitably come your way.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hiking is a must but, the list of great hiking spots is too large to attempt! I also think that the world class Musical Instrument Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum is a must. I would have to take them to my absolute favorite taco spot, which is Taco Sahuaro, and then maybe UnderTow for a superb cocktail.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to all of the former teachers that have impacted me. David Knorr, Dr. Nicholas Ciraldo, Dr. Jeffery George, Dr. Johnathan Kulp, and Frank Koonce. I can only hope to make the same impact on my students as these people have had on me.