Electric/Acoustic, Classical Guitar Instructor, Recording
Software (Sonar, Reason and others)
Group Guitar Class & Rock Band Jam Instructor
Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Cliff Shoults has been teaching guitar since the age of 19. After graduating from Indiana University South Bend with a BS in Music and Business Administration, he relocated to Indianapolis. He has been teaching at Bongo Boy since August 2008.
Aside from meeting with his weekly students, Cliff also co-authored and teaches many of the Guitar Department Workshops, and is the instructor for the Weekly Rock Jam, Group Guitar Class, and the Summer Rock Band Camp. While the majority of his schedule is dedicated to the guitar programs at BBMS, he also teaches studio resources and music production.
Cliff strongly believes that effective education is never one-size-fits-all, and tailors his approach to each of his students individually. He shows his students what they can do as guitarists, like play in bands, write songs, solo over everything, record, and of course, receive the occasional noise complaint. At the same time, he approaches music and the guitar from a very technical point of view; he stresses developing proper playing technique, understanding basic music theory, and even explores the roles that physics, anatomy, and the human brain play in the world of music. Some of his guitar heroes and musical influences include Kirk Hammet and James Hetfield of Metallica, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, , Yngwie Malmsteen, Andrew York, Nicolo Paganini, Paco de Lucia, Andres Segovia, Joe Feingold, Colin Huff, Eli Kahn, Richard Spitler, and several of his students.
Like most other instructors at BBMS, Cliff has been a musician for most of his life and plays several instruments. He briefly played violin in grade school before picking up the clarinet. At 15, a friend inspired him to start playing guitar. He was primarily self-taught until he began college, and learned most of the fundamentals by playing in high school jazz band and reading guitar magazines. Later in his college career, Cliff began to more diligently study the classical guitar, arguably the most intricate and challenging approach to the instrument. Around the age of 16, he bought a drumset and taught himself a few basics, but still doesn’t consider himself to be much of a drummer. Regardless, he played percussion in several ensembles during high school and college, and is currently working on his drumset chops with some help from fellow BBMS instructor Shaan France. While more than a capable guitarist, he’s also a decent bass player, and has had several bass students at BBMS. He can find his way around a keyboard, too, but mainly uses it as a teaching tool or to sequence music in the studio.
Currently, Cliff isn’t officially playing with any groups, but his performing and recording career is long and eclectic. He was a four-year member of the SBCSC Honors Band in high school, and was recognized as an outstanding soloist at the Purdue University Jazz Festival. During college, he was a frequently featured soloist in IUSB’s Jazz Band, and is also featured on over 200 recordings with Plato and the Western Tradition, an improvisational electronic music ensemble. In 2006, he played the role of Stage Guitarist in “Man of La Mancha,’ the inaugural production following the $4 million renovation of the South Bend Civic Theater. He has done score and soundtrack for more than ten independent films, several of which have secured distribution. His one-man music and audio production company, Mad Scramble Productions, is active with several independent filmmakers and may even be working with video game developers in the near future.
In his free time, Cliff enjoys playing PS3, disc golfing, going to concerts, collecting and building martial arts weapons, and of course, cranking out face-melting jams. He also works part time with the stage crew at Verizon Wireless Music Center, where he helps set up concerts for some of the same musicians that inspire him and his students.