Avid musician and music educator, Joshua Fenner says music has always been an important part of his life. His interest began in kindergarten and in fifth grade he got his first violin. Then around sixth grade he began to compose music and sing. “I had ensemble training in church, then in high school I took AP music classes and performed in different ensembles and rock bands.” Throughout college (he holds a B.A. focused in music theory, violin and composition from Metropolitan State University of Denver) Joshua studied with Eastman and Juilliard violinists. “I feel lucky to have such a varied musical experience.”
Joshua’s teaching career began right out of college - he even continues to teach one of his first students. His experience includes a stint at a music school (as head of their guitar dept) in Highlands Ranch – “we did some epic recitals” – and then two years ago he transitioned to his current position at Swallow Hill Music. “I run group classes there and still teach at my private studio.”
He plays a wide range of instruments including violin, guitar, mandolin and ukulele, as well as a little piano and synthesizer. “Anything with a fret on it I can pick up.” He teaches the same instruments but admits to having a few favorites - “I wish there were more mandolin people around. And I’m going to teach more synthesizer. I think people are opening up to the idea.”
One of Joshua’s side projects includes being the violinist and guitarist with the band Double Sun for the last five years. They are a modern rock group that showcases soundpainting, overtone singing and 20th century classical music. Check out their music HERE.
As far as what he listens to, Joshua’s music tastes are eclectic. He “loves listening to violin concertos, Hilary Hahn and Daniel Hope – amazing players. Guitarists Joe Pass and Tommy Emmanuel.Classical musicians like Sarah Chang and Sol Gabetta. A lot of progressive rock - Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rush, King Crimson - southern rock like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet - punk, metal bands - like Israeli band Orphaned Land. And then recently I’ve been listening to more bluegrass and modern folk music - Bill Monroe, Chris Thile and Steven Wilson, Devin Townsend have always been my mainstays”.
Teaching is one of Joshua’s passions. He enjoys helping his students be successful at what they’re doing. “I want to see them progress, even if it’s a small amount of success. I want them to see that progress and say ‘Hey, I just played that!’ and every student is different and has their own personality. It’s fun to watch them learn and play.” And he teaches students of all ages. “I have a 76-year-old student who’s a huge Bob Dylan guy and is learning piano for fun.”
Joshua believes taking music lessons benefits other areas of life. “When you have the consistency of taking lessons every week you start to develop aspirations to be a better person when you’re playing your instrument. When you take it seriously, you’re doing the work and being prepared and practicing every week, you will find value in that and apply it to everything else in your life.”
Now that the world is opening up, Joshua looks forward to the fall and seeing more people again. “When we get back to doing stuff it would be nice to see everyone getting along and having fun. We have this opportunity to have ensembles again and a lot of the adult students are looking forward to it.” He’s thinking of running a rock ensemble in the new session at Swallow Hill and would love to have more composition students. If this sounds like a good time, feel free to email Joshua at email@example.com. Currently he teaches mostly online, though he intends to transition in person throughout the summer. And visit his website for more information on lessons and his music HERE.