Kathy Unruh has enjoyed and been involved with music throughout her life. One of her brothers was a drummer for several different rock and roll bands while she was growing up and they often practiced in the family’s living room. It was this early exposure to popular music which sparked her personal desire to learn how to play the guitar and write songs.
Kathy’s parents gave her a Takamine Classical guitar along with a Mel Bay chord book for her 15th birthday. She taught herself how to play several chords and it wasn’t long before she was able to play songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Yes, The Eagles and other well known artists of the 60s and 70s. By the time she was 17 years old people were asking her to teach them how to play the guitar too.
In 1983 Kathy was invited to help teach a beginner guitar class by a friend who owned a local music store. She was happy to discover that she also had a knack for teaching. This opportunity gave her the confidence she needed to begin offering private guitar lessons from her home.
Although Kathy is a self-taught musician; she made it a personal goal to learn music theory and concepts in order to become a better guitar teacher. The effort paid off later when she made the Dean’s List while studying music at a local university in 1987. During this period she also sang and played guitar with a Christian band called Wings of the Morning. She and another band member wrote all the songs and their music became the vehicle that allowed them to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After Wings of the Morning disbanded, Kathy and another friend formed a new Christian band called Mission. In 1997 Mission recorded an album of original songs which they used in an effort to broaden their evangelistic outreach.
As a performing member of the Western Montana Classical Guitar Society for approximately 5 years, Kathy also participated in several Classical Guitar Master Classes featuring such notable instructors as James Reid, Professor of Guitar and Music History at the University of Idaho, Leon Atkinson, head of Jersey State College Guitar Department and the extension division of the Manhattan School of Music, and Christopher Parkening, highly acclaimed performer, recording artist and protege of the great Segovia.
In 2003 Kathy built her first website so she could share her original music and offer guitar lessons online. Kathy also created The AbcLearnGuitar eBook to make it easy for anyone to learn how to play guitar.
In 2005 Kathy was contacted by a television producer who heard one of her songs on the internet. He asked if she might have a song he could use in a TV documentary he was producing. So, Kathy and her husband James provided him with two original songs, Take My Hand and Hope, which he used in a television documentary called: Hurricane Katrina – A Test of Faith.
Probably one of her most memorable experiences was being able to attend the Alex de Grassi Finger-style Guitar Workshop in the summer of 2009. This small group gathering in the Redwoods of northern California provided a unique opportunity for her to learn from, perform for, socialize with, and above all listen to, a private concert given by one of her favorite guitar players… Alex de Grassi.
It’s been over 25 years since Kathy first began teaching guitar. She and her husband James currently live in beautiful western Montana where they enjoy hiking, biking, riding horses, cross-country skiing, listening to music, writing songs, and of course… playing guitar.
They are looking forward to the day when they will be able to record their new songs. In the meantime, Kathy continues creating new guitar lessons and educational resources for her website and online guitar students.
My Music – Listen to Kathy’s original songs…
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~ Psalm 118:24 ~