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RJ Johnson

RJ Johnson is a guitarist, composer, and music journalist living in Philadelphia.

About Me

My name is RJ Johnson, and I am a jazz guitarist and composer currently living in Philadelphia. I currently study jazz at the University of the Arts as a guitar instrumental performance major. I began playing guitar in 2002, and mostly focused on rock and blues playing early on. I took lessons at a nearby music store for about 3 years as a beginner. While still studying at this store, one of my teachers offered me a job teaching lessons; however, I was too young at the time to do so. This experience began to make me think seriously about making music my career. I decided to focus on jazz and classical music while in high school, and have pursued these styles more exclusively ever since. I began studying with guitarist Carol Hamersma when my interests shifted toward jazz. Carol refined my basic jazz skills, but also exposed me to classical guitar technique and repertoire very early on. While studying with Carol, I also started taking lessons with guitarist Vic Juris, a well-known veteran of the jazz scene. Vic was also tremendously helpful as a teacher, and I feel that his lessons were always unique and informative. After graduating from high school, I was accepted at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I received my Bachelors of Music Degree from UARTS in 2012. While at the university, I studied with guitarists Kevin Hanson and Mike Quaile, who were both excellent players. I received the University’s Presidential Scholarship, which is the highest merit based scholarship that is given each year. Once in college, I began trying to further my career outside of school and lessons by playing gigs frequently around Philadelphia and New Jersey. Currently, I am working towards fulfilling the requirements to receive his Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of the Arts. Contact: For lessons, teaching, arrangement work, or anything else you want to contact me about, you can email me at My website can be found at Also, check out my personal Tumblr blog based on modern music at

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