About Bill Swick
Bill Swick holds a Bachelor of Music and a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas. He was the second person from UNT to complete a masters degree with an emphases in guitar. Upon graduation, at the age of 24, Swick took the position of Instructor of Jazz Studies and Guitar at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.
Swick left Drake University in 1982 and relocated to Las Vegas where he began teaching guitar at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
After one classroom observation of a middle-school guitar class in 1998, Swick made the commitment to become a public school, secondary, classroom guitar teacher. His first four years of teaching guitar in public schools included teaching at the middle-school, high-school and university levels each and every school day. Swick may be the only guitar teacher in the country to make this claim.
In the first four years of teaching in public schools, Swick held the record for the greatest number of high school guitar students to qualify for all-state in the state of Nevada. Swick continues to hold this record.
In 2002, Swick began the first guitar classes at the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. Guitar students attending the academy may major in guitar. Guitar Majors study guitar 5 days a week for 86 minutes each day.
Swick was selected as one of only two guitar clinicians to present at the 2004 Music Educators National Conference in Minneapolis in April, 2004. The LVA Guitar Quartet was the first guitar ensemble to receive Command Performance at the 2004 Nevada Music Educators Association annual convention. The LVA Guitar Program was one of the first schools to receive the Gibson Award identifying LVA as one of the top three high school guitar programs in the U.S. Swick was invited to perform at the 2006 National Music Educators National Conference in Salt Lake City with the Varsity 3 Guitar Ensemble. Swick also presented at the 2006 National Guitar Foundation of America conference in Columbus, GA. Swick along with the Varsity 3 Guitar Ensemble was selected for the Youth Showcase at the 2007 GFA national convention in Los Angeles, CA.
Swick presented at the 2008 Music Educators National Conference in Milwaukee and at the 2008 GFA National convention in San Francisco, CA. The Varstiy 3 senior guitarists along with Swick made three presentations at the 2009 Winter NAMM convention in Anaheim, CA. Swick continues to be very active as a speaker. In 2013, Swick presented at National Association of Music Manufacturers (NAMM) national convention, the San Diego Guitar Teachers Association, the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) international convention, the American Association of Retired Person (AARP) national convention and the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) national convention. To view Swick's speaking schedule, click here.
Besides his teaching duties, Swick performs the role of LVA Music Department Chair and holds the chair of the CCSD Guitar Task Force. Swick also owns and operates www.BillSwick.com a music publishing company which features Swick's classroom guitar supplements. Swick is the creator of the Swickster Fingerboard System, an innovative way to teach jazz improvisation and the Swickster guitar line which can be seen at www.Swickster.com.
Swick appeared on the March, 2009 cover of School Band & Orchestra magazine along with a feature article about the LVA guitar program. Here's the link: March 2009 SBO Magazine.
Swick was selected as the "2013-14 Educator of the Year" amongst more than 18,000 teachers in Clark County. This marked the first time any fine arts teacher has received this award.
In 2016, Swick was selected as a Top Ten Music Educator by the GRAMMY Foundation and was awarded a cash prize and plaque presented in a special presentation by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.