Phoenix-based guitarist James Gram enjoys an active career as a performer and teacher in a broad array of styles and settings. A native of Montpelier, Vermont, James’s passion for the history and repertoire of the classical guitar has been nourished through years of diligent study: as a graduate of the University of Vermont’s B.A. in Music program, James studied under John Mantegna, an acolyte of renowned guitar pedagogue Aaron Shearer. During his time at UVM, James was selected multiple times to perform for the President of UVM at the annual Englesby House recital, among other academic and musical honors, and was active in community outreach through concertizing and teaching.
Prior to transferring to UVM, James attended the Hartt School in W. Hartford, CT, where he had the opportunity to study under Grammy® Award-winning artists such as Jason Vieaux and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, as well as other classical guitar luminaries including Manuel Barrueco and Angel Romero. James’s fascination with the music and culture of the Iberian peninsula also led to a three-month stint in Spain, during which he honed his fluency in Spanish, studied under a well known Gitano Flamenco guitarist in Granada, and taught guitar lessons in Spanish to travelers and friends from all over the Spanish-speaking world.
Over the course of nearly 10 years as an instructor in lesson centers and in his home studio, James has enjoyed working with students of all ages, ability levels, and interests, teaching not only classical and electric guitar, but also bass, piano, rock and jazz ensemble classes and recording techniques. James believes that a strong foundation in music theory, technique, and fundamentals can be attained through following a student’s interests. Love a tune by Black Sabbath or Taylor Swift? We’ll not only learn it together, but turn it into a technique exercise to strengthen the left hand, or learn some theory behind the chord progressions.
When he’s not busy teaching, learning new classical repertoire, or absorbing new electric guitar styles, James enjoys reading Spanish and Latin-American literature, hiking, cycling and otherwise exploring the natural beauty of his adoptive state of Arizona.