Jim Ferla's teaching reflects an integrated philosophy of musicianship skills and methodology by providing musical training that connects the broad spectrum of historical and current practices. The emphases throughout the guitar curriculum are connections, immersion in a wide range of musical repertoire, independent skills, sequential development of skills, and seeing the guitar as part of a great historical tradition.
Depending upon the student’s level and experience, the goals are: 1.explore Classical, Fingerstyle, Latin, and Flamenco guitar repertoire (which includes developing a music sight reading ability) including the possibility of music from the Renaissance to the present; 2. study chord and scale theory applied to the guitar using songs from different periods and styles. These lessons are open to beginners.
As a performer, James Ferla has given numerous solo and ensemble concerts throughout the United States including programs at the Smithsonian Institution, Arizona State University, Wolf Trap, the Chautauqua Institution, Florida State University, Oberlin College and Notre Dame. He has been heard on NPR, PBS, CBS, Voice of America, USIA, Chukyo TV-Nagayo in Japan, and, in Pittsburgh on WQED-FM. Mr. Ferla has published several articles on guitar repertoire in SoundBoard, the journal of the Guitar Foundation of America, and is heard on seven CDs. He performs most frequently in a guitar duo with colleague John Marcinizyn with a repertoire ranging from Renaissance to Jazz. In addition to concerts with the Ferla-Marcinizyn Guitar Duo, he has also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, singer/actress Kate Young, the Renaissance City Winds, the Dear Friends Ensemble, oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, tenor Doug Ahlstedt and mezzo-soprano Daphne Alderson.