Lead Guitar Instructor Spotlight: Bo Byun

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Bo Byun is one of our Lead Guitar Instructor in Los Angeles, CA. She joined Lead Guitar in 2020.

Where did you go to college and describe your guitar education experience during that time?

I went to Juilliard for my undergraduate and master’s degrees. I am pursuing a doctoral degree right now at the University of Southern California. I had the opportunity to learn from leading figures in the guitar scene who were so attentive and caring.

Tell us a little about your family your childhood, and/or where you grew up?

I grew up in a city called Gwangju in Korea. My parents were not musicians, but they were avid music lovers and always very invested in my artistic pursuits.

List any awards/recognitions you received.

  • Rhode Island Guitar Festival Competition, Winner, South Kingstown, Rhode Island, 2019

  • Kumho Asiana Culture Foundation Artist Audition, Winner, Seoul, Korea, 2018

  • JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, Winner, Buffalo, NY, 2018

  • Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, Second Prize, Louisville, KY, 2018

  • Montreal International Classical Guitar Competition, Winner, Montreal, QC, 2016

  • Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition, Winner, Philadelphia, PA, 2016

  • University of Southern California International Artist Fellowship, 2016-2020

How did you get started with Lead Guitar?

I taught at the Aspen Music Festival and School’s teaching program providing private instruction to local music students for multiple years. The local guitar students have been taught through the Lead Guitar program, and I was so surprised by the level of playing and how solid every student’s fundamental techniques were. I was also intrigued by the method book which included such diverse pieces written by composers who have been historically underrepresented. I had such a great experience working with the Lead Guitar students in Aspen over 5 years, and I was very fortunate to be in Los Angeles when Lead Guitar was looking to hire a new instructor in the area.

Did you have music in school as a child? what got you started as a musician?

I had music classes in school. I participated in the school recorder orchestra for many years.

I started playing guitar at the age of 6. One day, while my mom and I were watching TV, we landed on a channel that taught guitar. I immediately fell in love with the sound of the instrument and told my mom I wanted to learn to play the guitar. My mom brought me to a local guitar school without realizing that it was actually a classical guitar school.

What music did/your family listen to?

Mostly pop songs from the 70s and 80s.

What inspired you to become a music teacher?

I became a music teacher for many reasons, but my old music teacher was the biggest inspiration. The teacher led the school recorder orchestra. She brought her passion, personality, and sense of humor to the classroom. She was able to foster within us a desire to challenge ourselves and express ourselves through music. Her work will continue to inspire me to help others discover wonders I had been shown.

What is your experience in teaching in a classroom setting/were there guitar classes during your primary or secondary education?

I enjoy teaching group classes. There is a sense of friendship and camaraderie in a group class that one can’t experience in a private lesson. I’ve observed that positive interdependence in a group class promotes supportive relationships with students.

Describe a memorable event(s) you had with past students/teachers?

A beginner guitar class I was teaching had its first public performance. They were extremely nervous about it, but after the performance, the feeling of pride I witnessed from their faces confirmed my belief that music education is beyond just learning the physical skills on instruments. This was one of the defining moments in my teaching career.

What are your current goals?

My primary goal currently is to complete my doctoral degree in music. Aside from that, I also strive to continuously provide quality online music education to students during these difficult times.

What’s your message to students trying to make their way through the obstacles in this new living and learning environment?

It is incredibly rewarding to witness how music has helped so many students get through this difficult time, and I feel a tremendous sense of duty to share music with them, now more than ever. I would like students to feel proud of themselves, their resilience, and their ability to adapt to extreme circumstances.

Who is someone that inspires you and why?

I am going to have to go with my mother. I grew up witnessing her work ethics and her sincerely caring about her patients as a pharmacist. Oftentimes you learn more from the people closest to you than from big figures you idolize.

Who are your favorite musicians/guitarists?

Julian Bream. He recently passed away. His musicianship and trailblazing works will forever inspire me.

How has Music/Lead Guitar helped you thus far?

The curriculum completely changed the way I approach teaching beginner students. The collaboration with the teacher of record is a unique feature of Lead Guitar. The insights from the classroom teacher help me better understand each particular class’s needs.

What’s the one thing you wish you could give every student after a lesson?

The joy of making music.

Any teaching philosophies you go by?

As a music educator, my role is to provide the enjoyment of music-making and the experience of being a musician to every student. I believe that each and every child is born with an innate ability to be a musician. I strive to bring out and build upon this innate potential and guide young students to a life-long love for music

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