Chris Champion has been teaching all levels of guitar for over 30 years. Chris graduated from the Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T) in Hollywood CA in 1987 and also attended Arizona State University as a Jazz Performance Major. Chris was on the Jazz faculty at Arizona State University as the Jazz Guitar Instructor from 1997-2008. While teaching at ASU Chris also taught beginning and advanced improvisation classes as well as directing small ensembles. As a seasoned clinician Chris has also worked with a number of SD high school jazz bands as rhythm section coach and has adjudicated several SD high school jazz competitions and festivals. As a lover of all things guitar, Chris is extremely proficient in numerous styles of music from Blues to Rock / Jazz / Country and Classical.
Since moving to South Dakota in 2010 Chris has been very active in the South Dakota music scene in and around the Sioux Falls area both as a solo act as well as with various ensembles.
I have been playing music since I was five years old, when I learned to play piano with my mother. I believe that the musical foundation that was instilled in me at a young age has made it possible for me to learn and teach any instrument and style of music. As your music teacher, it is my goal to build fundamental skills as well as inspire and guide you through your musical journey. My favorite styles of music to play are bluegrass, folk, country, jazz, and some rock, though I have played most styles of music. My greatest guitar influences are Django Reinhardt and Doc Watson.
I have been playing guitar for over 17 years, which is more than half of my life. Playing music is my passion and I would love to pass on what I’ve learned to people who wish to learn an instrument for the first time, refine old skills, or learn new styles. When you start learning a new instrument, remember to be patient and enjoy the journey that is becoming a musician. Set goals for yourself such as playing your favorite songs for friends, writing your own songs, learning a favorite guitar solo, performing at an open mic night, or setting up performances.
I look forward to starting this journey with you! I will be here along the way to help you learn, answer questions, and let you guide your own musical process. Remember, this is your time - I’m here to help you get where you want to go. I look forward to working with you!
Kortney teaches violin and viola with Harmony South Dakota, a Sistema-based after-school music program in the heart of Sioux Falls. Through Harmony, she shares her love of music and passion for teaching with students from all backgrounds. Kortney also teaches private lessons and serves as Orchestra Chair for the South Dakota Music Education Association.
Kortney previously taught 4-6 grade Orchestra with the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools, where she raised the program to a new level of excellence and advanced opportunities for Orchestra students through creating chamber ensembles and summer camp. In her free time, Kortney enjoys spending time outdoors, watching reruns of The Office, and embarking on road trips with her husband, Max.