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Born in Hamilton, Scotland, Joe McGowan is a music teacher, composer, classical guitarist and author of educational books and fiction.

Although specialising in guitar, he also teaches music theory, song writing and composition and over the years has guided hundreds of students towards obtaining Associated Board, RGT and Rock School  certificates up to grade 8 and diploma level. Many of his former students now also have careers in music.

As well as giving private instruction since 1989, Joe has taught in colleges and schools in Scotland and more recently at the Sotogrande International School in Spain.

Currently teaching and performing on the Spanish southern coast, Joe is also director of www.yourmusicmentor.com online music tuition and mentoring service.









Music & Art 

(For details see Music)

Joe's musical life began in 1982 with guitar lessons given first by a local music teacher, followed a few years later by classical guitarist Anne Chaurand, under whose guidance he quickly progressed. Joe studied with Anne for 5 years, ultimately obtaining his first music diploma (the LRSM) and several theory qualifications, before entering the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservetoire of Scotland) in 1992 to study guitar and composition. He graduated with a BA degree in musical studies in 1995, and a year later with a BA Hons. degree from the Open University where he had also been studying music, literature, philosophy and art history since 1988.

Joe's other qualifications include the LTCL guitar teaching diplomaDip. Mus in music theory and a diploma in Art & Design (from two years' study between 1987 & 1989 at Glasgow College of Building and Printing).



(For details see Writing and Publications)

Author of four books for the Scottish schools music curriculum and published by Hodder Gibson, his first book, How to Pass Standard Grade Music, won the Times Education Supplement (TES) Scotland and Saltire Society Academic Book of the Year Award in 2005, and each of the first three books achieved best seller status in their particular genre.

In addition to these educational titles, Joe writes fiction in the thriller and humour genres as well short stories and children's literature. His earlier work was published in short story collections, poetry anthologies, The Readers' Digest and various newspapers and magazines, and from 1991-1999 he wrote for the international magazine, Classical Guitar, reviewing new books, CDs and live concerts.











In 1999 when Joe was living in Lanzarote and performing professionally in duo Cross Culture, he recorded a CD of guitar duet music with Cameron Angus. This album includes previously unrecorded material and an original composition, Spanish  Portrait, inspired by themes and evocations of Spanish culture.







For the full track list and to purchase the CD, Crossing the Boundaries, follow this link. Excerpts from the album (with photo images) can also be heard on YouTube by clicking here.



Click image to enlarge




Among the beneficiaries of Joe's charitable activities over the years, children's organisations have been at the forefront.

Due in part to an unhappy period in his own childhood which ultimately forged an empathy with all children in need - and led to his becoming a volunteer counsellor for parents of troubled children between 1990 & 1992 - Joe has always drawn upon the experiences of the past throughout his life and teaching career.

'Kids need the assistance and guidance of responsible adults in so many areas; for the acquisition of knowledge and basic life skills,  for emotional support... even just a few simple words of encouragement can make all the difference. What costs an adult nothing more than a minute's patience might have incalculable long-term value in a child's life.

'Parents and teachers should try not to lose sight of the fact that they are moulding the emotional and intelectual character of another human being. And it wouldn't hurt for us to remember every now and then what it was like being a child!'

Joe has raised thousands of pounds for various charities, largely through sponsored events, but his most significant endeavour took place in 1989 when, aged 21, he spent the night alone in Edinburgh's Mary King's Close, the reputedly haunted warren of underground streets dating back to the 17th century. Despite being the first person ever to undertake this scary venture, the site did not have the same commercial profile it enjoys today and consequently attracting media interest in the sponsored venuture was difficult. Nevertheless, thanks to public generosity, Joe's event raised just over £1000 for Children in Need.


The multi-charity appeal

This 8 charity appeal was launched in October 2014 through Joe's education website,  jm-education.com (see below). Featuring some of the charities closest to him, the appeal was set up to give users of the free resources on jm-education the opportunity to express their gratitude by making a donation to one of the listed charities. The goal is to raise £1000 for each charity.

For details go to www.jm-education.com and click on the 'charity' button.



Joe has recently been engaged in a number of projects which include writing his fifth music education textbook and compiling a collection of solo guitar arrangements of popular songs. His on-line music tuition and mentoring service, Your Music Mentor, will be launched later in 2015.

For updates refer to this website and www.jm-education.com







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                                                 Copyright © 2014 Joe McGowan