Instructor Profile

Summer Guitar Camp & Ukulele Instructor

John Russell


The Summer Guitar Camp Director and Chief Guitar Instructor is Toronto born John Russell who has 35+ years of teaching, recording, engineering, and gigging experience.


John’s aim at the Summer Guitar & Ukulele Camps is to teach students the instruments by using basic, simple, and/or complex illustrations, examples, technique, and theory to play either the guitar or ukulele. A key objective is to make the learning experience practical, interesting and especially fun. Fun being the staple ingredient.  “When students have fun they tend to retain more, enjoy what they are doing, and are encouraged.  Beyond that, I want to help instill the love of an instrument and motivate the student to convey emotion via the means and impressionisms of music through the diverse expressive elements of playing on electric or acoustic guitar and the ukulele. More importantly is that self-esteem and confidence climbs even higher as the guitar or ukulele camper begins to realize that playing an instrument is something they can do, and do well.”


John has been playing guitar for 44+ years and started teaching guitar professionally in 1983.  That’s 35+ years of experience teaching guitar to 1,000’s of students.  John has taught guitar to groups, entire classrooms, and privately to students of all ages.  Teaching situations have been in various Music Schools and Music Store locations in Toronto and Mississauga, High School Guitar Clinic situations, Public Schools, Catholic Schools, adults in Continuing Education classes, Limestone School Board “Leap” and “Challenge” programs, the Suzuki Music Festival at Queens University, Guitar & Music Week on a First Nation Reserve, in student’s homes, and from his recording and Guitar studios once in Mississauga, Kingston, and as of October 2018 – Fermoy, Ontario.

John teaches various music styles such as Folk, Classical, Acoustic Blues, Bluegrass, Jazz, Finger Style, Country, Rock, Blues Rock, Rock Soloing Techniques and more.  John’s strengths are Rock guitar, Rock guitar soloing, Acoustic Blues, Blues Rock, Free-Style, and Fingerstyle Acoustic.  Quote, “I enjoy playing and continuing to learn all styles.  My background and interests have shaped, and developed the strengths that I have become well acquainted with over the years.”

“I love to see students succeed in learning the guitar.  My vast experience has proved beneficial to myself, and to many others I have taught. Spontaneity is necessary to develop ideas and a good rapport, a sense of humour is a must, defined structure sometimes get thrown out the window, and having a good knowledge base are important. I have the ability to untap a student’s creative and learning potential within a private lesson, classroom environment, group, clinic, workshop or Summer Guitar or Ukulele Camp.”


John is involved in various aspects of the Music Industry.  Being a guitarist, a live performer, guitar teacher, producer, studio & live sound engineer, songwriter and a member of SOCAN.  For the last 20 years, a member of the performing Classic Rock Band “Outrider”, which was one of the last few bands to play the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto before it closed its doors at the end of May 2017. John has played regularly with various Worship Bands at the churches he has attended.  Located in Mississauga, John managed and engineered for 7 years, and still owns “POST 407”, a 24-track analog Recording Studio which is now fully a digital studio. Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, and Harrison Mixbus-V5 are the DAW’s of choice.

John has worked with some pretty decent musicians over the years. Michael Fonfara who has played with Foreigner, Lou Reed, and Rough Trade to name a few. Bass player Randy Coven who passed away way too soon last year.  Randy was a solo artist as well playing with great artists such as Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Leslie West, Al Pitrelli, Steve Morse, Zakk Wylde, and Phil X the new guitarist for Bon Jovi. John has also worked with  Jerome Godboo of The Phantoms; Jack Tasse from The Viletones; Mike Janzen from the Mike Janzen Trio who is a masterful Jazz pianist and Juno award winner;  Jacob Moon a Hamilton based solo artist; Michael and Shawn Cavallo of Manic Drive 2019 Juno award winners; Michael Kieth, solo recording artist, gun for hire; Peter Sabourin, “The Original Rock’n Roll Outlaw” plus 100’s of other indie bands and artists.

John Gig Pic 2


John has conducted guitar clinics in High Schools and Elementary Schools which consists of a 3 piece band where basic and advanced guitar techniques are performed and discussed.  Included are demonstrations with guitar gear, pedals and studio effects.  The 3 piece band for these clinics had an incredibly, amazing 11 year old drummer.  John has also conducted a Recording Studio Seminar explaining the process from song inception to full album production and “How to do a DEMO” to High School students.


Years of teaching experience have afforded John the opportunity to develop his own methods and direction using a lot of his own computer generated material using software like Guitar Pro 7, and Mac’s Graphic.  He often uses his own materials in conjunction with the great selection of guitar teaching books and methods by various gifted authors.

As a teacher, I can adapt quickly to the changing needs of the class or a group lesson, exploring other techniques or styles of music.  I can accommodate beginner needs as well as challenge those who are advancing more quickly in a large class, group or camp setting.