Guitar at Arts Academy

Why Study Guitar at Interlochen

Adaptable and dynamic, the guitar has become one of the world's most popular instruments. Here, you'll master advanced techniques and study the guitar's diverse repertoire—from classical and flamenco to blues and rock. Showcase your skills in regular solo and ensemble performances.

What You’ll Learn

Whether your interests are classical, contemporary, jazz, rock or all of the above, and whether you imagine yourself attending a conservatory or engaging in a commercial career, our guitar training will set you on the path to reach your goals.

Select one of six programs at our boarding school for guitar that best aligns with your interests. You will learn through a combination of small and large ensemble experiences, studio classes, and private lessons tailored to your individual needs. With exceptional instructors, you'll work on your reading, physical skills, knowledge of repertoire, and expression. You’ll develop the presence and awareness necessary to identify technical gaps and the discipline needed to address them. You can also explore multiple genres and develop your versatility.

How to Apply

Core Curriculum

Audition Requirements

Meet the Faculty

Matthew Cochran, D.M.

Instructor of Guitar

All Faculty

Guest Artists

  • Marcin Dylla, Music Academy and Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Nicholas Goluses, Eastman School of Music at University of Rochester
  • William Kanengiser, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Grammy®-Award winner
  • Julian Lage, Grammy® nominated contemporary guitarist
  • Matthew McAllister, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • The Punch Brothers, Grammy®-Award winning American folk band

Program Highlights


Interlochen’s guitar program is one of the only programs in the U.S. in which high school students can choose from classical, popular, and jazz performance tracks.

Performance Opportunities

You'll have ample performance and collaboration opportunities across several ensembles, whether you play classical guitar, guitar, or electric guitar. See our Explore Ensembles section below.

The Music Center

Our state-of-the-art 60,000 square-foot music facility has two 3,500 square-foot rehearsal halls, two recording studios which allow for rehearsal and performance recordings in multiple venues on campus with multiple ensemble and practice rooms, and individual faculty teaching studios. Learn more about The Music Center.

Explore Ensembles


Assembled at the faculty's discretion, chamber music ensembles are offered as electives in the Music division. Each ensemble is coached by one of the Arts Academy's acclaimed instrumental faculty.



The Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble boasts a storied history as one of the nation's most elite high school ensembles. Members develop as soloists and ensemble performers through rehearsals and performances of jazz standards and contemporary works.


Jazz Combos

Interlochen Arts Academy's jazz combos are select groups of five to eight of the jazz program's most experienced improvisers. Members flex their skills as improvisers, while practicing collaboration and ensemble communication.


Popular Music

Named for iconic backing bands of the 21st century, the Popular Music Ensembles provide hands-on learning opportunities for aspiring contemporary musicians.


Guitar Ensemble Plays Paulo Bellinati's "Baiao de Gude"

Watch as the Interlochen Arts Academy Guitar Ensemble students performs a five-guitar version of Paulo Bellinati's 1997 "Baiao de Gude."

College Matriculation

Recent Interlochen Arts Academy Music Division students have continued their education at the following institutions and beyond.

  • Berklee College of Music
  • Boston Conservatory at Berklee
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Indiana University
  • The Juilliard School
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Manhattan School of Music
  • New England Conservatory
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Rice University
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Southern California
  • Vanderbilt University

Dive deeper into Interlochen Arts Academy with a free digital viewbook

Arts Academy Viewbook Thumbnail

In our free informational booklet, you'll learn more about: 

  • Each of our seven arts areas 
  • Renowned faculty 
  • College-preparatory academics 
  • Student resources 
  • How to apply and financial aid information 
  • And more