Written by Nicole Johnson
Michael Kozubek, Director of Guitar Studies, earned his B.M. in Music Education from DePaul University in 1972 and his M.M. in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Southern California in 1977. He has been involved with the classical guitar for almost 50 years as a performer in both the solo and ensemble genres. Kozubek has recorded commercial jingles for several products, has been a member of the Guitar Foundation of America for over 40 years, and is currently a board member of the American Guitar Society.
Kozubek desires for students to understand that not everything is accomplished overnight. He says the new generation of students all want to play like virtuosi, but don't want to pay the dues for that type of technique and musicianship. “Being a great musician is a lifetime of study,” Kozubek explains. “The great classical guitarist Andres Segovia once said, ‘It is better to be a student at 80 than a master at 20.’ The great film composer John Williams once said, ‘One lifetime is not nearly enough time to learn all there is to learn about music.’ I wish the new student could embrace those ideals.”
In his time at Azusa Pacific, Kazubek has loved getting students to realize what the guitar is capable of doing in the classical style and getting them to grasp a better understanding of the tradition of how the guitar was originally intended to be played. He has learned how each individual learns from a different perspective and how he must adapt his teaching technique in order for the student to find success.
Kozubek is passionate about his field. “I can't imagine doing anything else when I wake up in the morning,” he reveals. “I love my work and look forward to it everyday. I know I'm doing what God intended for me to do. He instilled in me a great passion for the guitar.”
Kozubek received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Guitar Society. He has also written an article for Soundboard, a quarterly for the Guitar Foundation of America, several articles for Majoringinmusic.com and a textbook entitled “Fingerboard Harmony”, an approach to understanding common harmonic practice on the guitar fingerboard.
Words of Wisdom: “Don't ever give up. Keep practicing, studying, and learning new things no matter how bleak the future might seem. Sooner or later your day will arrive. You can't do something for 20 some odd years and not get recognition for it. When that opportunity comes, you must be prepared for it and that's why quitting is not an option. Never give up on your dream.”