Former McNally Smith instructor finds way to play on with virtual guitar lessons

Ellen Galles
Updated: November 28, 2020 10:56 PM
Created: November 28, 2020 05:49 PM

It's been nearly three years since McNally Smith College of Music abruptly closed, leaving instructors jobless and many students with unfinished degrees.

But at least one instructor has found a unique way to keep the music going and to keep teaching.

You might say musician and instructor Joe Elliott has found a way to have his encore.

"I had this massive amount of information from my 30-plus years of writing curriculum," Elliott said.

Along with producer and business partner Todd Bernston, they are creating an online, structured, college-level guitar program called "Fretboard Biology." It's based on decades of curriculum Elliott wrote for McNally Smith and other programs.

Instead of tuition, students pay an online subscription fee of $29 per month to work through eight levels of courses.

And while some might call this an encore, Elliott and Bernston like to think of it as something else.

"Back in the days of vinyl and albums, this is like an eight-album set. The greatest hits every guitar player should know," said Elliott.

The Fretboard Biology website just went live this summer.  So far they have about 80 students all over the world.  Also this summer, instructors like Elliott finally got bankruptcy settlement payments from McNally Smith College after nearly three years.

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