As a teacher of the guitar for more than 45 years, composer and author Don King has gained the reputation of being one of the most experienced and highly regarded teachers in New Zealand.
His popular guitar tutor books are being used successfully by teachers and students in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
Don’s many years of experience and his continuing research into the psychology of teaching and how people learn effectively has given him the skill to put his students at ease and to make learning the guitar a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Originally from Sydney, Don studied with Sebastian Jorgenson who was one of Australia’s leading classical guitarists.
After moving to New Zealand, he taught the guitar to adults as a staff member of Wellington Teachers College, and to children for the New Zealand Ministry of Education, as well as teaching the guitar and lute privately.
A founder of the Wellington Classical guitar society in 1969 and the Early Music Union in 1977, Don served as president for both organizations. During this time he helped organise master classes with many leading overseas guitarists.
In 2011 Don helped in the formation of the Lute Society of New Zealand.
In his earlier years he ran a popular performance centre called the Balladeer, where classical, flamenco and folk guitarists performed nightly.
Don has always had an interest in early music and he studied the Renaissance lute in London and attended the English Lute Society Summer School in Cheltenham. In 2007 he was an organiser for the International Early Music Seminar in Hobart with the world famous lutenist Hopkinson Smith and recently participated in the Lute Society of America’s Seminar in Cleveland Ohio.
In addition to solo work, he directed and played with a number of music ensembles including ERA, an ensemble devoted to the performance of Medieval and Renaissance music, researching and arranging much of its repertoire. His current ensemble is the trio called ‘Chanterelle’.
Don has written and published a number of guitar books including:
•Play the Guitar Book One
•Play the Guitar book Two
•Pacific Island Suite
•Renaissance & Baroque Music for Guitar Ensemble
Play the Guitar Book One, a tutor book for beginners, has been so successful with teachers and students in New Zealand and Australia that it has had 13 printings since its launch in 1988.
Don taught in Wellington for many years, and is now enjoying teaching in Christchurch. At present he is busy writing and preparing for publication two new guitar books including Blues for Classical Guitarists.
"I enjoy learning classical guitar greatly. This is due largely to Don’s quiet, patient, non-judgemental approach. I have significantly reduced my work hours in search of a better life balance. Don contributes significantly to this by introducing me to classical guitar music.
I hope to continue learning with Don for many more years.” Russell Harding
Some student testimonials
“A fantastic, skilled and patient guitar teacher”
“A marvellous man — sensitive, inspired, and deeply versed in
"I love my guitar lessons! Don is very skilled at providing a lesson series that is perfectly paced and varied to keep me both challenged and
"Don is an inspiring, encouraging, generous and patient teacher. His passion for music, theory, technique and history is focused on developing confidence, skills and enjoyment in
"Don’s patience and skill as a teacher as well as his depth of knowledge about music have made taking up the classical guitar in my retirement
one of the most rewarding things I have ever done”.
“Don has made the whole experience of learning a
joy. His skill as a teacher along with his gentle, accepting, non-judgmental approach has made taking up guitar lessons as an older
person a most rewarding experience.
I love it! "
“As a mature adult student unable to read music and never having
learnt an instrument, I approached lessons with some trepidation. I need not have feared. Don is a wonderful teacher - not only kind, patient and
reassuring but also inspiring”.
“I feel very privileged that I can learn guitar from such a talented, experienced, and wonderful teacher. It is rare to have this kind of opportunity. I enjoy my guitar lessons very much and always look forward to them. Don constantly helps me improve. Now playing guitar is one of my favourite hobbies! “
"I love how Don teaches a large range of pieces and techniques from all sorts of periods and all sorts of styles. His patience is amazing and his pace is perfect."
"My weekly guitar lessons with Don are a pleasure. He teaches at a pace tailored to my needs yet keeps me challenged with new pieces in a variety of styles.”