When I was 8 years old, my parents made me take piano lessons. My teacher was a very nice elderly woman who had no idea how to teach kids. It was so bad that I made my parents promise that they would never make me take music lessons again.

Somehow, an old guitar made its way into our house. I started playing around with it, found an instructional booklet, and taught myself a few songs. My parents forgot their promise, and a few months later I was taking guitar lessons.

Now I’m a professional guitarist, composer, and educator, and I’ve been doing that work for 30 years. I spent 10 of those years teaching in college and university, and discovered that what I really love is teaching one-on-one.

Along with a Doctorate in Music Composition, I have a college diploma in Guitar Performance. These diverse qualifications enable me to provide effective guitar lessons  for adult songwriters, shredders, jazz aficionados, country pickers, and players prepping for college music programs.

So I’m able to help a diverse range of people with diverse interests, and I do it in a safe, enjoyable, and student-directed environment. And as if being able to play music isn’t enough, guitar lessons provide cognitive benefits.


The blog

The goal of my blog is to help people find reasons to start engaging in music, and then to help them stick with it. The broad categories of what I cover are guitar, songwriting, and composition.

Some of the things I look at it will help you become a better musician. Some of it will give you ideas for making your own music. The topics I cover are diverse and reflect my experience as a guitarist, composer, and educator.

The intent of the rest of the site is fairly clear. Listen to some of my work by going to the top menu and clicking on Compositions and Guitar Performance. Find my book and recordings in the Store.

Let me know what you like here, and what you’d like to see more of. Either way, I look forward to connecting with you.


Dave Wall is an educator, guitarist, composer, and electronic musician, and holds a degree in Guitar Performance and a doctorate in Music Composition. He has performed in and composed for an impressively diverse range of situations. Ambient, electroacoustic, jazz, noise, avante-garde concert music, and all popular styles of music have fallen within his scope of activity.

He has composed for the The Penderecki Quartet, Bradyworks (Montreal), Negative Zed (Vancouver), CONTACT Contemporary Music (Ontario), Motion Ensemble (Fredericton). He has written for and/or performed with the Brian Webb Dance Company, Tania Alvaredo, St. Crispin’s Ensemble, and Tim Brady, among others. The NOWage Orchestra, a new music/theatre group which he wrote for and played in, was a ground-breaking septet exploring and interpreting music ranging from Gyorgy Ligeti to Tom Waits.

His compositions have been featured at Vancouver’s Firehall Theatre, Regina’s Stream of Dance Biennale, Calgary’s Fluid Movement Arts Festival, Toronto’s Dancemakers Studio, and in Edmonton at the Winspear Centre, the Timms Centre, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Resound New Music Festival, the Edmonton Fringe Festival, the Citadel Theatre, and on PBS in the United States.

Selected Work as a Professional Musician

Hermit Crab, 2022, Edmonton New Music Edmonton Festival.

Dyptych:Thunberg, 2022. Commission to compose new piece

 Notes from the Shadow Biosphere, 2018. Created sound design for theatre piece.

Rhizome, The Works, 2018. Improvised sound design for dance production.

Hermit Crab, 2017 – present. Compose, record, and perform as a member of a quartet working with multiple influences – jazz, minimalism, noise, and electronic music.

 Frost Flowers/Arctic Death Machine, 2015. Composed soundscape for multimedia dance production.

 New Music Edmonton at the Fringe, 2014. Composed piece for guitar and audio programming.

Sho-tel: Mile Zero Dance, 2014. Improvised ambient guitar music for site-specific production.

 The Great Depression: Mile Zero Dance Salon, 2014. Collaborated on interdisciplinary piece with visual artist Caitlin Sian Richards.

 What Awaits Me, Brian Webb Dance Company, 2013. Composed music a multimedia dance production.

Edmonton Poetry Festival, Poetry Map of Canada Gala, 2013. Composed a series of pieces designed to support the reading of the poets laureate from across Canada.

Sonikinetic: New Music Edmonton/Mile Zero Dance, 2012. Composed and performed music for live guitar and field recordings.

BEAMS: The Works Visual Arts Festival, 2012. Composed and performed music for prepared guitar.

 30% Gone, Brian Webb Dance Company, 2011. Composed and performed music for a dance production.

 Six Team League, 2010. Composed and performed original music as part of a nationwide program.

 The Effects of Sunlight on Raw Concrete, Brian Webb Dance Company, 2009. Composed and performed music for dance production.

 Albertascene Arts Festival, Ottawa, 2005, Composed and performed music for dance production.

 Blue Eyes, Black Hair, Brian Webb Dance Company, 2003. Composed and performed music for dance.

Commissions and Recordings

Alberta Foundation for the Arts Individual Music Project Grant, 2022. Awarded funding for a two-movement piece combining two Greta Thunberg speeches with violin and trombone.

 Alberta Foundation for the Arts Individual Music Project Grant, 2019. Awarded funding for the composition of a piece for The Piano and Erhu Project

Recording – Hermit Crab, 2017. Recording of original music for instrumental rock band.

Edmonton Arts Council  Individual Artists Recording Grant, 2016. Awarded funding to record original compositions for post-rock band Hermit Crab.

Frost Flowers/Arctic Death Machine, 2015. Commissioned to write music for multimedia event featuring dance, video and music.

What Awaits Me, 2013. Commissioned to write music for multimedia event featuring dance, video and music.

Poetry Map of Canada, 2013. Commissioned to compose music for the Edmonton Poetry Festival’s Gala Event.

30% Gone, 2011 Commissioned to compose music for The Brian Webb Dance Company.

Private Commission, 2009. Commissioned to write 10 minute piece for ancient instruments

Canada Council Alberta Creative Initiatives Development Grant, 2008. Support for composition of dance music for The Brian Webb Dance Company

Edmonton Arts Council Edmonton Artists Trust Fund Award, 2008. Support for composition of chamber piece and the recording of two separate projects

Private Commission , 2008. Commissioned to write 15 minute piece for two sackbut quartets, harpsichord, and cello

Commission – Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 2008. Commissioned to write 12 minute piece for solo trombone, loopstation and electronic effects

Commission – Edmonton Arts Council Lee Fund Award, 2007. Commissioned to write and 18 minute piece for The Ritchie Trombone Choir

Recording – Arkatzi, 2007. Compact disc recording of original jazz/electronica compositions

Commission – Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 2006. Commissioned to compose a string quartet

Recording – Chamber Graffiti (jazz), 2005. Compact disc recording of original jazz compositions

Commission – Tania Alvaredo, 2003. Commissioned to compose 45 minutes of music for dance

Commission – Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 2003. Commissioned to compose a solo percussion piece

Recording – Phagoo (rock), 2003. Compact disc recording of original music for alternative rock band

Commission – Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Commissioned to compose a solo piano piece

Commission – Brian Webb Dance Company, 2001. Commissioned to compose an hour of music for dance

Commission – Edmonton Composers Concert Society, 2000. Commissioned to compose a 10 minute piece for chamber ensemble.

Recording – Penderecki Quartet, 2000. Compact disc recording of string quartet In Medias Res

Edmonton Arts Council Artist Trust Fund Award, 1998. One of first recipients of new award for developing local professional talent; produced String of Knots for septet as well as three pieces for jazz quartet.

Commission – Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 1998. Awarded for the commission of a new piece for the NOWAge Orchestra

Private Commission – Ken Read, 1997. Commissioned to compose a piece for solo bass trombone

Charles Muttart Scholarship, Banff Centre for the Arts, 1992