Clara McLain, Music Education Assistant, began studying classical guitar when she was seven-years-old and began home schooling at the age of nine. When she was twelve, her family moved to a ranch ten miles south of the small west Texas town of Monahans.
On a weekly basis for four years, family members drove Clara (until she was able to drive herself) 350 miles round trip to Lubbock for her private lessons with the acclaimed guitarist and composer David Brandon at Texas Tech University. Under the tutelage of Mr. Brandon, she placed first in the senior division of the 2011 West Texas Guitar Festival and Competition and also took first place in the 13-17 age division at the 2011 Permian Basin Fair and Exposition Talent Show, both held in Odessa.
In April of 2012, Clara returned to Dallas and began studying privately with Robert Guthrie, Professor of Guitar at Southern Methodist University's renowned Meadows School of the Arts. Under Mr. Guthrie’s instruction and guidance, she placed second in the high school division at the 2013 University of Texas Dallas Guitar Festival and Competition, was a finalist in the high school division of the 2013 "Classical Minds" Guitar Festival and Competition in Houston and a finalist in the high school division of the 2013 Indiana University International Guitar Festival and Competition held in Bloomington, Indiana. In May of 2014, she received the Alice Jones-Berding Music Award from Brookhaven College, where she also studied with Rodger Bennett .
Since the fall of 2015, she has been studying full-time at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts where she is pursuing a bachelors degree in classical guitar performance. Clara is the Music Education Assistant at Classical Minds and will teach theory and guitar class.
Georgina Ramos Avalos is Teaching Assistant to Clara McLain who leads the Beginner/Intermediate education program at Classical Minds. She is pursuing her Associate’s degree at Houston Community College, studying with Marc Garvin, renowned guitarist, educator and host of the former NPR radio program, “Pulling Strings”. Georgina began playing classical guitar in Tenth Grade in the famed guitar program at Bellaire High School with 340 students in 40-minute periods every day. In this program she studied under gifted guitar educators, Edward Grigassy and Mark Moore. Georgina was selected to play in this school’s Guitar Honors Program and in the All-City Secondary School Guitar Orchestra. She’s also attended UIL state competition three years in a row, twice achieving a spot at State where she earned silver and gold medals for her solo and ensembles. An excellent student, Georgina’s essay, ‘How Guitar Saved My Life’ was presented at a teaching conference. After she finishes HCC, Georgina plans to continue her studies at a university or conservatory, perhaps in Mexico where she has family. Her goal is to become a guitar educator. She is also rather well known for telling great guitar jokes at school concerts when she helps to emcee. Georgina loves working with children and was a camp counselor at a YMCA camp last summer. She has developed her leadership skills through being the secretary for Bellaire’s Guitar Club, as well as a section leader for the Bellaire Guitar Honors Ensemble.
John Piccola, teaching assistant to Eddie Healy, Music Education Director & Staff Coordomator. John is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Arts and Music, studying classical and flamenco guitar at San Jacinto College under renowned artist, composer and educator, Professor Jeremy García. His interest in music began at Stevenson Middle School where he played cello for two years and developed a passion for guitar. At Chavez High School, he joined the Guitar Club and honed his skills further to play three engagements at the House of Blues. Inspired by his teachers over the years, John has chosen to become a guitar educator with plans to continue his studies towards a Bachelor’s in Education. In 2017 John earned a Certificate in Audio Engineering and was a sound reinforcement intern at Grace Community Church. He now runs sound and setup for the internationally acclaimed flamenco troupe, Solero Flamenco, cofounded by Jeremy García and Irma LaPaloma.