BIOGRAPHY

"I always had family members who were musicians in some sense, but I never thought I had any aptitude for it. One day I decided to give it a try though, and discovered how wrong I was..."

Joel Thomson began playing the guitar as a teenager. In those early times, he played electric guitar in bands with friends, and while he had an instructor at the time, his studies quickly became self directed, as the amount of music he consumed during those times was far greater than an instructor could keep up with. After reaching what was something of a plateau, he discovered a new challenge in classical guitar. After surpassing what his teacher could teach him, as a teenager still in high school, he was sent to the now chair of the faculty of music at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Don Hlus. After high school, he attended Kwantlen polytechnic for two years, before transferring to UVIC to complete his undergraduate degree with internationally renowned guitarist, Dr. Alexander Dunn, protegé of Pepé Romero, one of the worlds foremost classical guitarists.

After finishing his BMus, Joel took some time away from the classical guitar to rekindle his love for popular music. With the knowledge he had gained studying music theory, and exposure to the world of modern classical music firmly in mind, he set out to create rock with a twist(s). After finding like minded individuals, he assisted in forming an experimental rock outfit, and was a major force in all the instrumental parts of the song writing therein. In this time, the group made many recordings of their music as a sort of DIY project in a home recording studio, where Joel learned the basics of audio engineering.

After some time, however, the group dissolved, and Joel had the opportunity to go back to the challenge of his life: the classical guitar. Back in Vancouver at this point, he sought the instruction of the newly arrived Daniel Bolshoy, who had taken over at UBC when Michael Strutt retired. After studying privately with Daniel for close to a year, Joel was convinced to take a Masters at UBC, where he received a generous scholarship based on his musical merit, as well as his academic history.

Around this time, Joel became very active in the Vancouver classical guitar scene, as well as the scene in a more national/international sense. He has been a competitor at the Northwest Guitar festival in Seattle, as well as the Hamilton Guitar festival. He has since formed many associations with local musicians, as well as those from outside the city, province, and country, performing many concerts as a soloist, and chamber musician. Notably, Joel has played for the Vancouver Guitar society, Kwantlen’s Music at Midweek series, as well as being a presenter at a guitar festival in Kaslo B.C. where he has also performed a concert, and given master classes for their local guitar organization. Joel is also a volunteer with the Vancouver Classic Guitar Society, where he heads up their open mic events.

Joel has been teaching guitar for several years, teaching both privately and in groups. He has many longstanding students who enjoy his personable manner, as well as his keen eye for detail, and broad knowledge base. In lessons, Joel places a strong emphasis on proper technique, creating an ease of use for the guitar, and a logical way in which to approach the instrument. In addition, the musical elements that Joel brings out in his students are a product of years of discussions, reading, and listening regarding many styles of music.