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Rocker Turned Classical Guitarist Heads to Grad School

A.J. Minette did not take a traditional route through college. After his freshman year at Loyola Marymount University, Minette took a leave of absence to tour the U.S. with his rock band. Minette stayed with his band, The Human Abstract, for two years before he decided to return to LMU and earn a degree. He graduated in 2010.

Although most of Minette’s performance experience was on electric guitar, he enrolled in classical guitar lessons once he returned to LMU. And he became a music major. A great deal of practice time is required of music majors, but Minette said the extra work was enjoyable. “With music, we get to see the outcome of practice really quickly,” Minette said.

This fall, Minette is enrolled in a Masters of Guitar Performance program at USC. Minette will also teach a guitar instruction class for non-guitar majors at LMU in the fall. He already teaches private lessons.

Minette said that studying classical guitar has influenced his rock playing. “Classical guitar is a very refined art; the more I study it, the more I appreciate classical music,” he said.

Minette remains good friends with his band mates. The Human Abstract is recording their third album this summer. Minette wrote some music for the album, and he will play on the recording. “I don’t know what my career is going to be, but I would like to play classical and rock guitar,” Minette said. The band has been supportive of Minette’s decision to pursue classical guitar. Every band member attended his senior recital this past spring.

Minette described his decision to leave the band and return to LMU as difficult but rewarding. “On tour, I learned a lot about independence and taking risks,” he said. “Touring really equipped me to come back to school and take it seriously.”

Posted June 28, 2010