Guitar Teacher

Guitar Teacher: Andrew Fortson 

First and foremost Andrew Fortson is a musician. Before devoting his musical energy to the challenge of becoming a professional guitarist, Mr. Fortson played every instrument, including piano, trumpet, percussion and whatever else he could get his hands on.

Mr. Fortson grew up in Atlanta, with an old piano in his home. His aunt introduced the young Mr. Fortson to the piano, which would set the stage for his musical journey. His abilities began to take shape immediately. At the age of five, Mr. Fortson moved to Houston with his mother and sister. As his interest in music grew, Mr. Fortson’s father bought him a Roland digital piano. It was that piano on which he would begin creating original music and learning to play the music of Beethoven and the Beatles by ear.

Throughout middle and high school he studied the trumpet and also began to play percussion whenever he had the opportunity. Mr. Fortson was subsequently accepted into the prestigious Percussion One program under the direction of Lamar Burkhalter. As a member of Percussion One, he performed at Houston Aeros hockey games in the drumline. And during his freshmen year, he traveled with the Percussion One Ensemble to Moscow where they performed with the Russian Symphony. He continued to play the trumpet at Westfield High School. And during his time there, the band won the State Marching Competition and attended Nationals. The guitar began to garner Mr. Fortson’s attention in high school but he didn’t make the decision to focus all of his musical energy to the guitar until he began attending the University of Houston Moores School of Music.

Mr. Fortson was admitted to UH’s music program as a trumpet player. But with much consideration he decided to devote his time to the guitar. During his second year at UH, Mr. Fortson was accepted into the jazz program as a guitarist. He played in the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra, led by Noe Marmolejo. His formal study of guitar began then with UH’s Michael Wheeler, which Mr. Fortson says is, “the equivalent of an amateur boxer being trained by Muhammed Ali, and nearly as painful.”

In 2006, upon the recommendation of Mike Wheeler, Mr. Fortson began teaching guitar in the Moores School of Music Preparatory and Continuing Studies Department and has been teaching and performing since that time. Mr. Fortson considers teaching to be one of the greatest blessings in his life and has greatly enjoyed sharing his knowledge and love of music, and the guitar, with students ranging from 4-92 years old.

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