American Music Heritage

Gary teaching in front of classroom


This program shows the evolution of early American musical forms – Blues, Country, Folk, and Rock and Roll.  It discusses the geographical and social history of each style and how they combined to form the beginning of the Popular Music as we know it today.  Gary plays examples on the guitar, discusses the defining elements of each style, and also shows how they are connected.  Videos of original artists are shown and discussed as well (artists on videos include:  Son House, Lightning Hopkins, The Carter Family, Leadbelly, The Weavers and Elvis Presley).   The content can be tailored to audiences of different age groups, and this program has been presented successfully to both adults and K-12 students.



“We have worked with Gary many times in the past and are grateful that when possible, he makes himself available for our outreach programs. I am also impressed that not only is he great with guitar clinics and other music workshops, but that he unpacks the American Music Heritage so simply that both high and primary school learners can easily understand and take some of his teachings home.

Our office values our relationship and hopes for its continuation.”

Selaelo V. Maseko, Cultural Affairs Specialist, US Consulate General, Johannesburg, S. Africa


“As a faculty member of the International Summer Jazz Academy since 1994, Gary has made a major impact as a performer and educator inspiring hundreds of students from Poland, France, Germany and the United States. His is a ‘one of a kind’ artist who can reach anyone regardless of their ability or background.”

Dr. Mike Parkinson
Chair, Music Department Webster University, St. Louis
Director, International Summer Jazz Academy, Poland


“Gary is a welcome addition to our summer arts program. Through his inspiration, our young people (ages 9-21 with varying musical literacy) have discovered the music that was within themselves.”

Ruth Grauet
Director, Summer Arts Program
Bearnstow Camp
Mt. Vernon, Maine


“We recently brought Gary in for a master class with our jazz combos; his comments were insightful and valuable, and always seemed to impart the exact information needed for the individual student. He was warm without being condescending and tough withou being unkind. Our student-musicians really made great strides working with him, and enjoyed every minute of the experience. Highly recommended!”

Brent LaCasce, Maine
Director of Music
Fryeburg Academy


Gary Wittner, 2021, All rights reserved. Gary/Guitar pictures used by permission. Photographer - Pepe Avilés.