Teacher Profile: Jody Fisher, Bret Boyer and James Hogan

This is an article I recently wrote for the National Guitar Workshop (NGW). It was just published in their March, 2010 Newsletter. To read the NGW newsletter, click here. Enjoy 😉


With summer just a few months away, NGW teachers tell us how they’re getting geared up for this year’s workshop.

Jody Fisher, jazz guitar teacher for NGW, said that the Workshop experience is very intense for both faculty and students. “First, I try to get a lot of sleep–I’m only half kidding,” he said about preparing for the workshop.  Curriculum-wise, Jody has a vast collection of material that he’s been teaching for many years, and much of it is not found in any of the several books he’s written. He is always expanding his teaching material by continually writing new lessons and books. Click here to see the complete list of books he’s written.

Jody has been with the workshop for 24 years, and said that his favorite thing about it is the non-competitive feeling of the program. “The students are free to explore their instrument and music without having to worry about their place in the pecking order –because there isn’t one,” he said. He added that, likewise, the feeling exists among teachers, and that people make lifetime friendships there.
The courses he’ll be teaching are “Real Book–Learn the Tunes,” “The Art of Solo Guitar,” and “The Total Jazz Guitarist.” He’ll also be teaching at the NGW Jazz Summit.

NGW teacher, Bret Boyer, prepares by bringing new material every year. “It keeps me excited about what I’m teaching, and if students want to repeat a class they will be getting new songs, concepts and exercises to work on,” he said.

This is Bret’s eighth summer with the workshop, and said that his most memorable experience as a teacher with NGW is the great memories from every summer. “The students and the teachers attend the workshop for basically the same reasons – we all love music and are inspired by each other,” he said.
Bret will be teaching “Blue Note Blues” and The Songwriting Summit this summer.

James Hogan, blues and rock teacher at NGW, said “I typically practice feats of strength on my front lawn for two or three weeks prior to NGW to ensure that I’m physically prepared to make it through an entire summer.” He also prepares all of the coursework and handouts for his classes.  

When James is not teaching during the summer, he is a devoted husband and father at home. He teaches guitar at Florida State College, and performs as a sideman and session guitarist to many artists. He is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast and intends to race his vintage bikes competitively this year.

James, who has been with NGW for 12 years, will be teaching Rock Fusion, 21st Century Rock Guitar, Blues Fusion, and Southern Rock Guitar at the McLean and New Milford campuses. “My classes always have a laid back atmosphere where they we have a good time while learning a lot of great stuff,” he said.

Although Jody, Bret and James will be teaching one to two different classes, they are all suited to teach virtually any style. Along with the rest of our outstanding faculty, they are the foundation of the National Guitar Workshop.