The Guitar Focus is a blend of classical and acoustic guitar performance. The renowned Brazilian guitarist and pedagogue, Mario DaSilva, and first-call jazz guitarist, James DaSilva, guide players as they hone their skill in focused practice sessions, using a variety of techniques to perform a diverse range of musical styles as well as honing in on each student's specific area of stylistic interest.  If your child wants to become a versatile guitarist, the Upper Division's Guitar Focus is a wonderful place to further that pursuit. The guitar track is a secondary track.  Each student will be expected to choose a second field of study in order to perform in the full final gala event.

Audition Requirements:

1. Jazz: a) Two jazz tunes of choice,  with head, improvised solo and comping.   Chord solo desirable . Tunes can be : "All The Things You Are",  "Stella by Starlight",  "Satin Doll",  "Green Dolphin St",  "Autumn Leaves",  "Scrapple From The Apple",  "Billie's Bounce",  "Doxy".  etc...   b)  Improvise on the Twelve Bar Blues Jazz style.

2.  Classical:  Three pieces of any level, one from each of the following classical eras:  Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary/20th Century

3.    Bluegrass:  flatpicking on tunes like:  "Beaumont Rag",  "Katie Hill",  "Whiskey for Breakfast" etc.  Show skills in melody playing, comping, and improvisation.

4.   Other:   Miscellaneous skills welcome.  Includes total beginners.  Send audition tapes on anything you can play.



Mr. DaSilva received a Master of Church Music from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary School of Music in Louisville, KY and a Bachelor of Arts from Belmont College in Nashville, TN. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mr. DaSilva has established himself in the United States as a teacher and performer. Early in his educational career Mr. DaSilva studied theory and composition with the Brazilian veteran Maestro Leo Peracchi and classical guitar with Edmar Fenicio. In America, Mr. DaSilva studied commercial composition and arrangement with William Pursell and guitar with John Pell and Douglas Jones. As a teacher, he was a former guitar instructor at the University of Louisville, and concurrently teaches at both Indiana University Southeast (since 1989), and Belmont University (since 1995).

As a performer, Mr. DaSilva maintains a busy schedule both in Louisville and Nashville areas with live appearances and recording sessions. He is heard nightly on the nationally syndicated FM radio talk show 'Delilah after Dark' based in Seattle, Washington and the 'Joe Arnold Show' on WHAS 84 AM. Mr. DaSilva's performance credits include the Ballet Espanol, a flamenco dance company based in Louisville, KY, ESPN, 'Shop at Home' television networks and many appearances on local TV. He has worked closely with the likes of flamenco guitarist Pedro Cortes, drummers Rod Murgenstein (Dixie Dregs) and Chester Thompson (Phil Collins), and singer-songwriter Lari White. He has released two recordings; 'Meet Mario' and 'Christmas, Love and Light' by Rainbow at Midnight Records available in music stores in the Louisville and Nashville areas, and at


James DaSilva is a recent graduate of Belmont University. While in school, James played electric guitar in the top music ensembles under the direction of Dr. Jeff Kirk (Maynard Ferguson and the Eagles) and Rahsaan Barber (Aretha Franklin) and has studied guitar privately with Mario DaSilva, Paul Abrams, Shane Roberts, Matthew Von Doran, and Stan Lassiter.  Since 2008, James has been an instructor at The Jam Advanced Summer Music Camp and the Annie Moses Music Festival, two major music camps in Nashville, TN. He has experience teaching private guitar students and group courses involving the subjects of music theory, jazz improvisation, and arranging.

For two years James has been employed as a guitar instructor with the Conservatory of Annie Moses, where he created curriculum, implemented lesson plans, managed student traffic, and taught private lessons and group classes. In 2013, James worked as the Music Director for jazz vocalist Joshua Carswell, scheduling and leading rehearsals, organizing music and communicating with players. He also worked as assistant arranger for the Living Stone Music Company.

Over the course of his young career, James has had the opportunity to perform/record with some of the greatest musicians and artists in the world: Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rodney Whittaker, Earth Wind and Fire, Phil Keaggy, Rod McGaha, Pete Christlieb, Shannon Forest, Jeff Coffin, The McCrary Sisters, Vince Gill, Tommy Sims, Phil Lassiter, Mark Letteri, Rahsaan Barber and Everyday Magic, El Movimiento, the Annie Moses Band, and many others. James is an in-demand performing and studio guitarist in Nashville, TN and beyond.