Joseph Spoelstra

Suzuki and Classical Guitar Faculty
Classical Guitar
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
Suzuki Education
Group Lessons
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music: Master of Music in Classical Guitar Performance


University of Minnesota: Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance

Significant teachers and mentors: 

My primary teachers have been William Kanengiser, Pepe Romero, Brian Head, Scott Tennant, and Jeffrey Van. I have performed in masterclasses for David Russell, Paul O'Dette, Sharon Isbin, and Roland Dyens. I have been trained and mentored in the Suzuki method by Joseph Pecoraro, David Madsen, Andrea Cannon, MaryLou Roberts, and Alan Johnston.

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: 

Success is the greatest motivator. Create a positive and nurturing learning environment that facilitates and celebrates success and you set up a lifelong love of learning.

Awards and achievements: 

A founding member of the voice and guitar duo, The Dream Songs Project, Joseph has commissioned and premiered numerous works. The duo has performed at new music concert series throughout the United States.

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Joseph has taught on the faculty at Suzuki workshops and institutes, presented at the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) Conference, and organized Suzuki guitar events in California and Wisconsin. He has previously served on the board for the Suzuki Music Association of California and as president of the Suzuki Music Association of California, Los Angeles.

Interests outside of music: 

Being outside: running, hiking, and cycling. And traveling.

Favorite quote: 

"Try your best to make goodness attractive" - Fred Rogers


"Where love is deep, much can be accomplished" - Shinichi Suzuki

Favorite practice tip: 

There's no substitution for thousands of repetitions, but keep your repetitions thoughtful, varied, and purposeful.

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

I love playing new music by contemporary composers who represent a huge variety of new, interesting, and exciting sounds. I also always find happiness playing the solo guitar music of Heitor Villa Lobos.

Favorite musical moment: 

Performing new music for thousands of enthusiastic elementary school students through a statewide educational tour presented by Minnesota Public Radio. Teachers had prepared students by playing recordings in the weeks before the live performance, so when I played the first recognizable notes of a piece, a 2nd grade class erupted in cheers of excitement.