For San Diego native John January MacDonald, music has always been a big part of his life. “My family made music important in our home,” recalled John. “Show tunes, jazz and classical music were played on the stereo by my dad all at high volume on the weekends.” As a hobby, John’s father sang barbershop quartet and his mother played the accordion and guitar. But it was John’s brother, Joe, an avid collector of rock, jazz, and soul music, who really served as his inspiration. “(My brother) fed my mind with the greater universe of musical expression,” shared John. “It only was matter of time before Clapton, Hendrix, and Chicago with Terry Kath became favorites of mine.”

As a result, John took an interest in the guitar and soon started playing under the guidance of his teacher, Dave Hargrove. “Dave set my path to learning and teaching in motion when he asked me ‘What do you want to learn?’” remembered John, who now is a guitar teacher himself. “This philosophy of nurturing the student’s musical ambitions became my own teaching mantra, and has greatly contributed to keeping my students engaged in the guitar from a young age all the way to college.”