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Lecture - Jim McCutcheon

A Guitarist's Career After College - Making a LIFE in the Music Business

Jim McCutcheon


Career guitarist Jim McCutcheon has built a multifaceted career in music, beginning with teaching out of his apartment, then at a local music store, then at several Ohio universities. He has also hosted a weekly radio program for 32 years, and, since 1988, has built a music teaching studio, now with more than 50 teachers and over 500 students each week, as well as a retail store which employs 20 people. Listed on the Ohio Arts Council Touring Roster and recipient of the 2017 Ohio Governor's Award for the Arts in Arts Education, he gives concerts in the midwest, ranging from classical music to music for children, for whom he appears as "The Guitar Man." This talk outlines specific strategies and philosophies of building a musical career along with concrete examples of practical behaviors, hopefully giving attendees a glimpse of the myriad possibilities of how to survive economically while building a career in the arts.



Jim McCutcheon earned a B.S. in Physics from the University of Dayton in 1973 and postponed a medical school acceptance to tour with a band. When the tour concluded, he knew music would be the best career for him, and he returned to Dayton, studying music at Wright State University, where he received a B.M. in Guitar Performance and later a M.M in Music Education.

As a member of the Ohio Arts Council Touring Roster, Jim has performed on concert series in the USA and abroad.  For the past 40 years as "The Guitar Man, he has done workshops, school assemblies and residencies for children pre-K – 12 and also workshops for teacher training.  He has made four recordings for adults as well as three specifically for children. He has several publications of guitar compositions and instruction books to his credit, and has written a variety of magazine articles published in the U.S.A. and England. In part due to his extensive work in schools developing programs relating science and the arts, Jim was awarded the 2017 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Arts Education.

Jim reviews recordings for Soundboard, and also also serves as Guitar Adviser to the National Federation of Music Clubs. His recent work with the Ohio Music Educators Association resulted in the guitar being added to the organization’s contest lists.

Jim can be heard weekends on Dayton Public Radio’s “The Intimate Guitar,” which he has produced since 1986. It can be streamed at

He currently is Artist-in-Residence at the University of Dayton, and adjunct faculty at both Wright State University and Miami University. He owns and operates McCutcheon Music in Dayton, which, with a staff of over 50 teachers, has twice won Dayton Magazine’s “Best Music Instruction.” /

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