Guitar and string bass studies at OBU are two distinct performance tracks. Both offer a variety of opportunities for the developing performer. Music is intertwined with many activities on campus, and live performance provides an invaluable means to connect with other students while honing your skills. In addition, the guitar studio class, performing arts class, jazz ensembles, wind ensemble, and chapel provide frequent opportunities for performance, both solo and with groups of various sizes. Graduates from either of these OBU programs will be armed with all the necessary tools to be active professional performers and teachers. Scholarships are available for BM majors.
All students wishing to study guitar or string bass at OBU must audition.
The guitar curriculum has been designed to deliver exposure to all styles of contemporary and classical music. Guitar history, guitar pedagogy, guitar literature and guitar fingerboard skills will all be involved in the student’s individual instruction. Over four years, they will become versed in classical guitar technique while studying contemporary styles including jazz, blues, rock, country, folk, and worship music. An extensive study of the guitar fret board will allow the guitar to become a tool for worship, composition, songwriting, arranging, as well as teaching. The student will have a foundation in classical guitar repertoire with the guidance and methodology to find his or her own musical voice.
The bass curriculum has similarly been designed to deliver exposure to all styles of contemporary and classical music. The student will be guided to develop a mastery of both arco and pizzicato styles of string bass. Over four years, there will be continuous exposure to a variety of classical bass etudes, sonatas, and concertos with focus on mastering Simandl right and left hand technique. Contemporary styles including jazz, blues, rock, country, folk, and worship music as well as an in-depth study of the electric bass will also make up a large portion of study as a bass principle.
Dr. Bruce Hurley Johnston is the instructor of string bass and classical guitar at OBU; he also teaches songwriting and arranging through the Worship Arts program. Johnston is an avid performer, an award-winning composer, and a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Berklee College of Music, holding a masters from the University of Tennessee and doctorate from the University of Miami in music composition.