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About Doug

Doug Mattingly is a professional guitarist, composer, songwriter, and music educator. He has multiple albums to his credit both as an instrumentalist and as a singer/songwriter, has played thousands of live and recorded gigs from solo performances to big bands, has written hundreds of songs, and composed music for commercial, video, podcast, and film. He also works as a sound designer (film and theatre), dialogue editor, and picture editor.

Dr. Mattingly has been teaching music for over thirty years, including at the college level for the past twenty-five years.

Doug earned his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Studio Guitar Performance on scholarship at USC’s Thornton School of Music, with an academic major in Music Teaching & Learning and minors in Jazz Composition and Music Technology. He also received Masters and Bachelors degrees in Guitar Performance from USC.

Q&A with Doug

Which musician would you like to play with?

Scott Henderson and Pat Metheny

Which musician has influenced you the most?

Joe Diorio

What can you teach me better on your instrument than any other teacher?

Improvisation, creativity, fretboard knowledge and how to put it to greatest use!

How did you learn to play your instrument?

Music store lessons as a kid, then playing in and writing for neighborhood bands, high school jazz band, and then an amazing music education at the doctoral, masters and undergraduate levels. Touring, playing live extensively in different styles, recording in the studio, listening and transcribing, and putting in lots of practice, all round out that education.

What equipment do you play on today?

I have numerous electric and acoustic guitars (mostly custom), a few electric basses, tube amps, profilers, modelers, vintage and boutique pedals, good quality microphones, DIs, and pre amps. I use ProTools, Logic, and Sibelius to bring my music from imagination to something people can listen to and hopefully enjoy.

Which personal trait helped you the most while practicing?

I think being thorough and tenacious helped me show up day after day to the practice room whether I "felt like it" or not. I could hear the music I wanted to play in my mind, not to mention wanting to at least attempt to reach the level of my heroes, so I pushed forward with making those sounds a reality. I also wanted to be prepared for any musical situation I might find myself in.

What does your instrument have that others don't?

The guitar is a stylistically versatile instrument almost like no other. While it has been important in Jazz and Western European Art Music, it has absolutely defined the history of popular music starting with the transition from Blues to early Rock 'n' Roll in the 1950s. And it has continued to cross genres and even cultures ever since: funk, pop, metal, classic rock, reggae, punk, R&B, Grunge...

How do you handle children?

Every learner is unique and has their own likes, dislikes, experiences, attitudes, preferences, and ways of processing information. Additionally, there are obvious differences between an 8 year old, for example, and a 12 year old. But for all students, I want them to be able to play music that is interesting to THEM while also getting a solid musical foundation that will allow for expression and exploration going forward. One could say that in general, I take a Constructivist approach: learning by doing. Having fun is very important!

What has been your greatest experience as a musician so far?

My favorite part of being a musician is composing and recording music, then sharing it with the "world". As a performing musician, there is nothing like improvising, being in the moment, and creating with other musicians live on stage, as well as for and with the audience.

What was the biggest stage you played on?

Several years back, I toured throughout the US including Hawaii with a group that opened for some internationally known bands. Those shows generally had audiences of several thousand people.

Which record would you take with you to the desert island?

That's a tough one. My tastes are so varied in regard to genre. I love Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical, R&B, Funk, Fusion... Maybe I'd try to write and record an album that included all those influences and take that with me! That and some really good sun block. I've seen "Cast Away"!

Besides music, what else is important in your life?

"My family, my dog, art in general, but acting and film making specifically. Exercise, good food, and TRAVEL! That said, teaching music has been a part of my life since I was an undergraduate music student and has been important in gaining a greater understanding of what I do and who I am as an artist and a craftsperson. Most important, it allows me to connect and share with students who have a passion for the same things I do."

Music style(s)

RockBluesJazzFunkR&BPopFolk - electric and acoustic

Level(s) Comfortable Teaching

Beginner to Advanced

Bands, Projects, Notable Performances, Collaborations

Doug Mattingly (composer/instrumentalist), ""In Defense of Daydreaming""; Doug Mattingly (singer/songwriter), ""Love & Logic"", ""Building a Monastery"", ""Who You Are""; Hero, Radio Radio, sideman for numerous live and recorded projects, Member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Member of International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE), Member of SAG-AFTRA, Member of Songwriter's Association of Washington, D.C., Member of Washington Area Musicians Association, Member of Static Chain artist community

Other Music-related work / goals

I love all things sound and I like to tell stories in various contexts. As such, I work as a video/film composer, sound designer, dialogue editor, and even picture editor at times. Besides that, I aim to write and record in the styles and genres that I enjoy the most.


Scholarships for study at Doctorate, Masters, and Bachelors levels; Album of the Year 2006 (Citypaper) for "Building a Monastery"; Geoffrey Award for Best Sound Design 2018 for "Boeing Boeing", Stage Scene LA Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, comedy intimate theatre for LFT's production of "Dead Accounts".

Personal Interests

Travel, acting, movies, sound design, good food, snow skiing, exercise...

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