Guitar Lessons IN BURR RIDGE


stringed instrument

The guitar is a plucked stringed musical instrument that probably originated in Spain early in the 16th century, deriving from the guitarra latina, a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and four strings. The early guitar was narrower and deeper than the modern guitar, with a less pronounced waist. It was closely related to the vihuela, the guitar-shaped instrument played in Spain in place of the lute.

The guitar originally had four courses of strings - three double, the top course single, that ran from a violin-like pegbox to a tension bridge glued to the soundboard, or belly; the bridge thus sustained the direct pull of the strings. In the belly was a circular sound hole, often ornamented with a carved wooden rose. The 16th-century guitar was tuned C–F–A–D′, the tuning of the centre four courses of the lute and of the vihuela.


From the 16th to the 19th century several changes occurred in the instrument. A fifth course of strings was added before 1600; by the late 18th century a sixth course was added. Before 1800 the double courses were replaced by single strings tuned E–A–D–G–B–E′, still the standard tuning.

By the early 19th century, guitars looked very close to the six-stringed instruments of today but were smaller in size. In the mid-1800’s, Antonio de Torres Jurado, a Spanish musician and luthier, began creating the style of guitar that would give rise to all modern guitars. Though in modern times he doesn’t get quite as much credit as he deserves, he is in many ways the grandfather figure in the history of the guitar.

With a broadened body, increased waist curve, thinned belly, and machined head which replaced wooden tuning pegs, his creations became particularly notable thanks to an innovative form of fan bracing and body design, which give classical guitars their distinct voicing and thick, heavy sound. Andres Segovia, another influential Spanish guitarist, took the classic guitar that Torres had created and established it as a concert instrument. He also transcribed early polyphonic music and created complex musical compositions that we now think of as ‘classical’ guitar music.

Meanwhile, European immigrants carried a steel-stringed version of the reshaped Spanish instrument with them to America, where the history of the guitar really started to take shape—and where the flat top, the archtop, and eventually, the modern electric guitar would be created.

Guitar in the United States is generally associated with folk, jazz, and rock music. Influential rock and blues guitarists include Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, and Jimmy Page.

Guitar Faculty


Alec Feldges

Guitar Teacher
Alec is a passionate and dedicated guitarist, composer, and teacher, who’s “depth of musical sensitivity is allied with technical clarity, coupled with warmth and generosity” (Ken Sugita, Violinist French National Orchestra-Lille). A winner of the 2016 MU Emerging Artist Competition, Alec has performed solo concerts all over the world including the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He gave his international debut in 2015 when he was invited to perform and give master-classes as a guest artist at the Zobel Gitarrenschule in Bad Nauheim Germany and his performance at The Benton Club in St. Joseph Missouri was critically acclaimed to be “a highlight of the concert season, [and] a resounding success” (President, Missouri Music Hall of Fame). Alec received his Bachelor in Music from the University of Missouri where he attended as an Evans Scholar and studied under Anthony Glise. He completed his Masters in Guitar Performance from McGill University in Montreal, QC, where he studied with world-renowned guitarist Jerome Ducharme. Additionally, throughout his formal years, Alec has attended and performed in countless master-classes where he took lessons from some of the world’s leading guitarists including David Russell, Jason Vieaux, David Leisner, Jorge Morel, and Martha Masters. A dedicated teacher, Alec has accumulated over 10 years of experience both as a school teacher, and a private guitar instructor. Teaching students of all ages and skill levels, Alec is devoted to bringing inspiration to all his students through sharing his knowledge and love of music.
Timothy W. Burns

Dr. Timothy W. Burns

Guitar Teacher
Dr. Burns has studied, played, taught music theory and history, ensembles and guitar of all styles for 30 years in both private studio and college level. He developed and initiated the guitar curriculum at Moraine Valley Community College and Visible Music College-Lansing, IL. He is currently on the faculty at Triton College, teaching music classes and directing the Jazz Ensemble Big Band. He has been an adjunct at four different colleges over 25 years. Each one presenting a unique and rewarding challenge. Teaching music performance, composition, theory, aural skills, ear training and history has been a passion for Dr. Burns. Since the mid 1980ʼs he has studied music theory and music history extensively. He has a deep interest in European classical music, American music ie; Jazz, Blues, Country and Rock as well as many types of world music. Dr. Burns recently developed a History of African American Music class at Triton College. His undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees have revolved around Jazz history, theory, arranging, composition and performance. Dr. Burns has taught at the k-8, high school and college level. He has played in and directed Choral and Jazz Ensembles both large and small at; The American Conservatory of Music, Moraine Valley College, Triton College, DePaul University and University of IL Champaign. He also performed and recorded regularly as guitarist with the Brass Tracks Jazz Orchestra for 8 years. He approaches the teaching of music theory, aural skills and Jazz composition as a chance to both inform students and hopefully light a spark of curiosity in them to explore all musics and the artists who created them. He studied big band composition with Chip McNeil and Jim Pugh at the University of Illinois. Dr. Burns has also had a vibrant performance career. He has performed in, composed for and led professional musical ensembles of many genres including; Jazz, Classical, Broadway, Blues, Latin, Country, Rock, and R&B. He currently leads three ensembles; Acoustic Flight, The Blues Express and S’Bout Time Jazz Quartet. He has performed in pit orchestras for multiple Broadway musicals. He has been a full time guitarist and music teacher for 30 years and has toured the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany and Austria.

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