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Thomas J. Kikta

Assistant Professor, Music Technology; Area Coordinator, Sound Recording Technology; Area Coordinator, Classical Guitar
Mary Pappert School of Music
Guitar Department

School of Music 312
Phone: 412.396.5486



B.M., Classical Guitar Performance, North Carolina School for the Arts, 1984

Thomas Kikta is a classical guitarist, pedagogue, producer and author who has been the director of the Classic Guitar and the Recording Arts and Sciences at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA for over twenty-eight years.

A native of Pittsburgh, he studied Classic Guitar performance with Aaron Shearer at both the Peabody Conservatory and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has performed around the country and for such dignitaries as Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison and has worked with such artists as Ricardo Cobo and Manuel Barrueco. As an audio engineer and producer, Mr. Kikta's credits include The New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Visa /Mastercard, Family Guy, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Starkist, Dr. John, MCG Jazz, BMG Classics, Leonard Bernstein, Pepe Romero, Sean Jones, Jacob TV, Jeff Bergman, and the New Century Saxophone Quartet, to name a few.

After working closely with Aaron Shearer for over 28 years, he, with Mr. Shearer, coauthored the 3rd edition of the best selling and benchmark work Classic Guitar Technique Vol. 1 (published by Alfred Publications), which was nominated for "Best Instructional Book or Video for 2009" by Music and Sound Retailer.

He was invited to write The Complete Idiots Guide to Classical Guitar Favorites which was published by Alfred Publications in 2010. This work provides supplementary lessons to 30 favorite selections for a student working with a method book. It also gives historical perspective to the composers and selections with fun facts and a guitar historical time line. His most recent works are The Shearer Method Classic Guitar Foundations and The Shearer Method Classic Guitar Developments, both multimedia experiences with over 125 high definition videos, 150 new compositions by Alan Hirsh, active online support, and new writings by Aaron Shearer prior to his passing in 2008. Published in cooperation with The Aaron Shearer Foundation and Alfred Publishing, this book stands out in starting the student to read and play while following a graduated, step-by-step curriculum that supports positive habits for efficient study. The Shearer Method is rooted in a common-sense approach that recognizes the dominant role of the mind in learning the guitar and includes musical offerings in a rich variety of styles, sensitively composed to support technical development. Areas of focus include optimal hand position, visualization, sympathetic motion, arpeggios, finger alternation, left-hand coordination, and chords.

Thomas Kikta is an artist endorsee for Alfred Publishing, Alhambra Guitars, D'Addario Strings, and Fishman Electronics. As a Co-founder and Board Chairman of the Guitar Society of Fine Arts, Pittsburgh audiences enjoyed a decade of world class guitar music as well as free music lessons for underprivileged children. Thomas Kikta along with members of the Shearer family founded The Aaron Shearer Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving and propagating the teachings and legacy of the revolutionary guitar pedagogue, Aaron Shearer.

Selected Publications

The Shearer Method Classic Guitar Developments (2014)

The Shearer Method Classic Guitar Foundations (2012)

Complete Idiots Guide to 30 Classical Guitar Favorites (2010)

Classic Guitar Technique Vol I 3rd edition (2008)