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matt's family

my wife, me, and (half of!) our family

the shantee on the main stage at comfest

the shantee at comfest

george clinton and matt morton

w/ george clinton of parliament/funkadelic

matt morton on guitar

a rare shot of me not making my "nintendo face" while soloing

matt morton playing with seen tru

playing with seen tru

beauty of the fight - at the san francisco indie film festival

beauty of the fight at the san francisco independent film festival

about matt morton


matt morton

all you really need to know about me is that i love music, i've been playing it my whole life, and i work very hard to make sure my students have fun and learn quickly! but if you want to know more about my musical background. . .

playing since 1986

i grew up in a big family in gahanna and have lived in central ohio my whole life. my love of music started very early at home. although neither of my parents played an instrument, my dad has a huge vinyl & cd collection and music was always playing in our house. i started taking constant guitar lessons, singing in the school choir, playing guitar in the jazz band, playing bass in the chorale (show choir), performing in the musicals, and playing in various rock bands. i spent endless hours in my room learning songs, teaching myself other instruments like the upright bass and the drumset, and writing and recording my first original songs.

denison university

i earned a scholarship to denison university in granville, ohio and it was there that i began to seriously consider becoming a professional musician. along with a few friends of mine, i co-founded a band called the shantee during my freshman year and we started playing all over campus, and later, at other cities and colleges around the midwest. as a member of the denison hilltoppers (an a'cappella singing group) i got to sing at the white house for president clinton's second inauguration in addition to frequent performances around ohio.

during this time i was fortunate enough to take lessons from a local legend, jazz guitarist tom carroll. i came to him with some big gaps in my musical understanding, and he helped me put together a lot of the pieces of music theory, composition, and playing techniques that i now use everyday. i studied with him all four years, and my band provided the perfect opportunity to put the new techniques i was learning into practice.

i also took advantage of denison's recording classes and was lucky enough to learn old-school analog (reel-to-reel) recording techniques just before they were phased out in favor of computer recording. i spent nights, weekends, and even some time during the summer learning my way around the studio. by my sophomore year, they had already gotten tired of lending me the studio key all the time and gave me my own! i've had the recording bug ever since.

the shantee

after graduation, we decided to give the band a shot and devote ourselves full-time. we bought a van and a trailer, got some friends to work the door and our merch table, and we started playing farther and farther from home. locally, we regularly played at little brothers, the newport, and the lifestyles community pavillion. probably the coolest venue we got to play was the house of blues in chicago, but it was also awesome to play at nectar's in burlington, harper's ferry in boston, and tribeca blues in new york city.

we recorded several cds, as well as an in-concert dvd, and got some national airplay. we got to play with bands including george clinton and parliament funkadelic, the national, kim taylor, blues traveler, bela fleck and the flecktones, government mule, the samples, the neville brothers, david grisman, dickey betts of the allman brothers, o.a.r., and widespread panic.

the shantee cds and dvd

(click on the image above to listen to some music by the shantee)

music for film, tv, and advertising

by 2004, the music industry was changing and it was getting harder and harder to "make it" as a live rock band. i was already doing some music for film, tv, and advertising on the side, and i decided i wanted to stop being on the road all the time and focus on composing and recording. i started my music company, studio 651 ltd., and since then i've done music for several independent films (including beauty of the fight which played in 29 film festivals in 9 different countries last year) and for companies including abercrombie & fitch, hollister co., gilly hicks, american eagle, vince, xoxo, jolt, ohio health, and the juvenile diabetes research foundation (jdrf). you can watch and listen to some samples of my work at mattmortonmusic.

reggae interlude

after leaving the shantee, it was hard to give up playing live completely, so i started heading over to my buddy casey's house on thursday nights to jam with a couple of guys he met from trinidad and st. lucia. i've loved reggae music all my life so it was a blast, and it was also a nice break from the solitary confinement of being a composer! we started playing shows here and there under the name "seen tru", and gradually the band started to get more serious. after a couple of years though, i had to make the tough choice to leave the band in order to free up more time for composing. but i still sit in with them every once in a while. if you get a chance, go check 'em out - they're always a fun time!

teaching since 2003

i started teaching guitar and bass lessons in gahanna in august of 2003 when a couple of my cousins wanted to learn to play. i had turned down a few requests for lessons before that, but it's pretty hard to say no to family : ) then a couple of other people heard i was teaching, i put up a few fliers and a website, and by christmas, i had 25 students and was able to stop working my other part-time job. within a year, i was teaching 40-50 students a week, and i've continued to carry that many students (and often a waiting list) into the present.

a drawing from one of my students : )

after a few years of living and teaching in clintonville, my wife jen and i moved to hilliard in 2008 to be closer to where she works. i started with just a couple of students over here (with most of my students in gahanna). but i eventually filled up my schedule to the point that as of june 2011, i now teach only in hilliard. we love our new city, and it's been great meeting so many new friends. thank you so much to my hilliard, dublin, upper arlington, and plain city students and parents for spreading the word about me!

teaching guitar lessons started as the perfect job to support me while i was on the road, and now it's become the perfect job to compliment my composing work. it's been a great opportunity to become a better player, and to spend time learning from the greatest songwriters and guitarists in history. but the coolest part about teaching is that i get to turn people on to how much fun it is to make music!