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Scott Cmiel

  • Chair, Guitar
  • Chamber Music
  • Director, Guitar Youth Orchestra
  • Early Childhood
Continuing Education
  • Director, Community Guitar Ensemble
  • Ensemble
  • Guitar
Scott Cmiel headshot



Courses Taught

Guitar Lessons

SFCM Guitar Youth Ensemble -- Conductor

SFCM Guitar Community Ensemble -- Director

Early Childhood


BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

BA, Northwestern University

Awards and Recognition

American String Teachers Association of California Artist Teacher Award for Excellence in String Teaching

Celedonio Romero Guitar Institute Lifetime Achievement Award for Guitar Education

Sierra Nevada Guitar Classical Gala West Award for Distinguished Contributions to Classical Guitar Pedagogy


What is your hometown?

Chicago, Illinois

What is your favorite recording? Why?

J.S. Bach's Musical Offering BWV 1079 by Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations - This music, for me, encapsulates the beauty and mystery of existence and makes me profoundly grateful to be alive.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Art, History, Literature, Meditation, Nature, People, Philosophy, Science

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Don't believe everything you think."

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

"What is the most effective way for me to improve in the next five minutes?"

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

Hearing Bartok's Fourth String Quartet

What was a turning point in your career?

Joining the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would be teaching world literature.

What is your daily practice routine?

Meditation, yoga, work, listening, reading, hiking...

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Dowland, Bach, Bartok




Video URL


“Scott Cmiel imbues his teaching with such passion and dedication that he inspires all of us who have dedicated  ourselves to music and the guitar. I regularly coach his students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and always find them brilliantly well prepared. Scott has been a great force  in the preparation of many future masters … he is a wonderful teacher!”  —  Sergio Assad

A recipient of Artist Teacher Awards from the American String Teachers Association of California, the Romero Guitar Institute, and the Sierra Nevada Guitar Festival, Scott Cmiel is widely acclaimed as an inspirational instructor of students with exceptional artistic achievements. 

His students have won top awards in national and international competitions including the American String Teachers Association National Soloist Competition, the Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Competition, the Christopher Parkening International Youth Competition, the James Stroud Classical Guitar Competition and the YoungArts Competition. They have often been featured on radio and television including the national public radio showcase From the Top, the GRAMMY Awards and the Omni Foundation Live From St. Mark’s YouTube series. He he was also featured in the Academy Award nominated film Jules at Eight, a profile of jazz master Julian Lage.

Scott’s students are regularly accepted for further study at prestigious institutions and his teaching has been praised by the guitar world's most distinguished artists including Sergio Assad, Manuel Barrueco, Eliot Fisk, Antigoni Goni, William Kanengiser, Meng Su, David Tanenbaum, Scott Tennant, Benjamin Verdery, Jason Vieaux, and Andrew York.

Accepting beginning, intermediate, and advanced students.