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Guitar teacher Artist JAYE pulls strings to help underprivileged children

Degree from John Molson School of Business at Concordia has helped power his music career
January 22, 2020
By Richard Burnett, BA 88

Artist JAYE - guitar educator, composer and humanitarian

Montreal-based professional musician, composer and master guitar teacher, Artist JAYE — a.k.a. J. Jaoude, BComm 97 — loves to teach privately to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Jaye also mentors underprivileged children via his Sharing Music Unites Us™ program which has provided instruments and free lessons to more than 300 underprivileged children. “It is my way of paying it forward,” says Jaye.

You obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, from Concordia's  John Molson School of Business, but had a dual career after graduation, with one foot in the corporate world and the other in the music business.

Artist Jaye: I had a successful career in the corporate world while studying, performing and coaching guitar in the evenings. My BComm proved to be tremendously valuable at all levels of my music career, especially for promotion and branding.

Then you switched to music full-time?

AJ: I was driven to fully pursue my passion. I did session work, composed, produced, performed around the world and worked as a musical director for various projects. Over the past 20 years I have taught guitar to some 12,000 people, including numerous students from Concordia. I teach people one-on-one privately in-studio, and online for those who prefer to learn in the comfort of their home. I also give music workshops across Canada.

Why did you start teaching music?

During childhood I was inspired to learn music after watching Carlos Santana perform with his beautiful PRS guitars. At 16, my friends began asking me to teach them. Seeing their advancement motivated me to continuously optimize my teaching approach. Today I can say my guitar lessons have a positive impact on my students’ lives that goes far beyond musical notes. That is my primary motivation for teaching music.

What makes your teachings stand out?

I’ve developed a ground-breaking guitar teaching system that enables people with no music experience to learn how to play well. My approach, whether in-studio or online, allows my students to reach their guitar goals in record time.

What is important about playing music?

Learning guitar is a brain stimulator and memory booster that enhances hand-eye coordination, attention span, focus and creativity. It provides a sense of joy and well-being. Sharing music unites us and helps bring down cultural barriers. I’m thankful that my lessons keep me connected to Concordia’s cross-cultural students, faculty members and alumni.

Your program Sharing Music Unites Us™, featured on your YouTube channel, gives free musical instruments and music lessons to underprivileged children.

In 2013, I founded Sharing Music Unites Us™ to empower children facing grave life challenges, such as mental/physical disabilities, bullying, or loss of their parents. We surprise children in need by giving them instruments and free coaching via my mentoring program. My reward is to witness their joyful transformation as they develop confidence through the music training we provide. To support our cause, instruments and funding are accepted via

You are an official artist for Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars.

Yes, in July 2018, I became one of the guitarists selected to represent the PRS brand, a company known for building the highest-quality guitars in the industry. My childhood inspiration, Carlos Santana, was the first major artist to represent PRS. The honour of performing a song with him with our guitars during his next Canadian tour would be a dream come true.

How did your time at Concordia help shape you and your career?

It cultivated my communication skills, analytical thinking, work ethic and ability to successfully manage multiple musical projects. When I graduated, I quickly realized the value of having a strong business education from Concordia. It enabled me to confidently circumvent the pitfalls that artists face in the music industry.


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