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SHAWN PURCELL is a well respected educator and clinician.  As a performer and clinician, Shawn has been a guest artist at Texas Tech University, Boise State University, Duquesne University, Brigham Young Univeristy, Millikin University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Chantilly High School.  

He has served as faculty at music camps nationwide including:

  • The National Guitar Workshop (Nashville, Chicago, Austin, Virginia, Maryland) 
  • The National Jazz Workshop (Washington DC)
  • Music 1st Jazz Camp (Dallas)
  • Illinois Summer Youth Music (ISYM) 
  • W.O. Smith Music Camp (Nashville)


Shawn is also a highly regarded composer and arranger.  His big band compositions and arrangements have been performed by some of the top jazz ensembles in the country, including: 

  • The Chicago Jazz Ensemble 
  • The Army Blues
  • the Naval Academy Big Band "Next Wave" 
  • Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra
  • University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst Chapel Jazz Ensemble
  • Texas Tech University 
  • Eastern Washington University 
  • Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA
  • Dave Dickey Big Band


Dr. Purcell is available for guest artist appearances, master classes, clinics and private instruction. For more details, click on the "contact" page.  

Student Testimonials

Below are testimonials from a recent week long seminar Shawn taught for the National Guitar Workshop entitled "Making the Changes."

"The National Guitar Workshop Jazz Seminar ("Making the Changes") I recently attended in Chicago was one of the best experiences I've had in more than 30 years of playing guitar.  This was due to the outstanding teaching of Shawn Purcell.  Even when the material was very advanced and difficult, Shawn was patient and was able to explain it in a clear and understandable manner for everyone in the class.  The best compliment I can give is that I've already signed up for his class in 2011 and can't wait." - Bob Cefala

“I have been to several jazz guitar workshops over the last 5 years and very much enjoyed Shawn’s class this year. He was responsive to the stated needs of all of us over the course of the week. He showed great patience in giving each of us multiple opportunities to play and learn new licks and scales over his comping. At the same time he was able to dive in to the underlying theory at whatever level each of us could understand in order to deepen our grasp of fundamentals. The class met all my expectations.” - Lee

"I have attended three week-long guitar workshops in an effort to improve my skill as a guitarist, but my most recent workshop with Shawn has been the most rewarding.  The world of Jazz is saturated with the importance of music theory, extended chords, and exotic scales that have intimidated me from the first day I took interest in the genre.  The last jazz workshop I took only scratched the surface of this world, but Shawn's class "Making the Changes" took me right into the heart of jazz and showed me that it's not that scary.  He introduced us to the core concepts of Jazz progressions and laid out soloing concepts in a manner that was easy to understand.  Shawn took an active interest in what the students wanted to learn and adjusted his class to highlight those concepts.  He supported the students and helped us along with advice when we made mistakes.  Shawn is an excellent teacher and a blast to talk to inside and outside of the classroom.  I had a great time in the class and hope to take more classes with Shawn in the future." - Christopher Siler 

"I can’t say I’ve known many guitarists more skilled than Shawn.  I can’t say I’ve known many guitar instructors better than Shawn.  I can say that Shawn is an absolutely top-notch jazz guitarist who’s not only a wonderful teacher but an inspiring one as well.  Shawn makes you want to play better and shows you how to do just that." - Hutch