Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire is an experienced educator with over 25 years of private teaching experience and over 10 in college classroom settings and curriculum design.  Xenia's professional specialty is the fretless Electric Bass, but also offers lessons and tutoring in Classical Guitar, music theory & ear training, music history, and arranging

Xenia's integrated approach is aimed at  developing the full musician who can bring music to life. Lessons include exercises in sight-reading, playing by ear, theory and history appropriate to the style and the students own sensibilities.

Xenia provides a safe learning environment for all students regardless of age, race, sex, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.


Classical Guitar | Electric Bass | Music History | Music Theory & Ear Training

Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire teaches private students in Electric Bass, Classical & 12-String Guitar, and Theory Ear Training, and History.  Since moving to the Twin Cities in 1993, she has been active as a session musician, historian, music educator, and Liberal Arts Education advocate. She holds a Master of Arts in Musicology from the University of Minnesota and B.A.’s in Philosophy and Classical Languages from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  She has taught courses in Music History, Theory, World Music, and small group ensembles at Augsburg College and the McNally-Smith College of Music. Between 2004-2008 served as Musicologist and study guide author for the Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest. Xenia also serves as Acting-President, Treasurer and Webhost for the International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies.

Xenia is a lover of all music, having been engaged as an active musician has a wide range of experiences both on stage, in the studio, and in pit orchestras.  As a bassist / vocalist Xenia has graced the stages of First Avenue, 7th Street, Fine Line, etc. one night, then performing at Orchestra Hall as a chorister with the Minnesota Chorale the next.  In addition to being an on-call session musician, she has served as the regular pit orchestra bassist with Ashland Productions in Maplewood since 2002.  Xenia is the bassist for Shoop! the Twin Cities based 11-piece Vocal jazz group;
She also routinely performs as the only non-Health professional with the HCMC band, The New Prescriptions and stretches her theatrical abilities as the "Gene Simmons" for the 1974 KISS tribute band, KISSin Time.

Outside of music, Xenia loves camping (during all four seasons) in the Minnesota State Parks. She is a Fencing Foil specialist and a practicing black belt in Mixed Martial Arts under Master Jake Erling from The Art Martial Arts in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. and lives in Como Park  with two children, 2 cats and dog.

ALL Music is Folk Music; the only difference is the folk...is my personal motto on music. What I mean by it is that all music is valid music to someone. It is tied to cultural and personal values. For instance, blues folk like blues music, opera folk like opera music, heavy metal folk like heavy metal music. To dismiss someone's music as "not worthy" can be and is often construed as dismissing that person and that person’s cultural values. I find it better to seek and understand why someone likes the music they do. It helps keep the doors of global and generational communication open.
- Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire, 2004

Private instruction: Electric Bass, my primary concern is ensuring that students learn a sound ergonomic technique which reduces risk of injury. For this I have developed a method focused on the unique requirements of the electric bass with exercises designed to facilitate fingering while maintaining good posture. Rather than launching into "flashy technical riffs" my students learn early on the traditional musical leadership role of the bass -- it provides the foundation of Harmony, Beat and Rhythm--it is the singular focal point upon which all musicians rely. In this sense the bassist is the conductor who is always aware of the music and will assert direction when things go awry.

In music improvisation, I expose students to diverse modes of improvisational traditions as practiced by many cultures around the world as well as the often neglected improvisational art from western Classical music.  Students are encouraged to adopt an attitude of fearlessness to experiment based upon what they have learned and discover their own voice.

In general I approach teaching Music as one of the traditional Seven Liberal Arts.  I help students overcome the peril of "functional fixedness" through active and peer learning strategies. Rather than focusing solely on the memorization of facts and terms, my students (whether in class, ensemble or private study) use their senses to experience music--applying those terms to their subjective tastes as well as objective critical analysis in order to arrive at a well-considered conclusion. Students also develop the necessary skill of collaboration by discussing their diversity of perspectives and providing mature constructive feedback.

Xenia is an excellent musician and teacher. She is incredibly thorough in presenting material --

highlighting not only a technique, but historical context, physical reasons why the technique is preferred, etc. She is adept at adjusting to a variety of learning styles, and using multiple approaches if at first a concept is not acclimated by a student. Add to this that he makes learning fun, and is incredibly knowledgeable about many different styles of music, and you have an outstanding music educator in Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire
Joe S. Senior Development Officer - University of St. Thomas.
Joe worked directly with Xenia at Ashland Productions and Shoop!

Xenia is an extremely personable, well-liked, and intelligent musician and teacher. She is able to deliver a well-rounded education regardless of the specific subject he is teaching. When we worked together she was teaching Musicology (classical and popular music/jazz) and was an excellent and
valuable committee member as we developed new degree programs at the McNally
Smith College of Music. I give Xenia my highest recommendation
Mike B., President at Musical Institute for Knowledge and Education

Xenia is a devoted educator and a supportive colleague. Her passion for
music in general and in the life and work of Hildegard von Bingen in
specific is impressive and inspirational. She has always been willing to
share her enthusiasms with her colleagues and music students at Augsburg.
His musical curiosity and ability to "connect the dots" from genre to
historical era is a gift to her students
Rick P., Voice Teacher & Singer, Augsburg University

Playing the Ordway!
As the instructor for The History of Western Music class at McNally Smith,
Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire displayed her knowledge and eagerness to teach the next
generation of musicians. She expertly combined a very difficult subject
matter with real world examples that helped her students to grasp the
different concepts in composing, orchestration, and music theory. While the
class required rigorous study it was also interesting and fun. I would
recommend Xenia for any music history related teaching position.
Angela H. - Realtor, Musician

Xenia has given our children (now 11 and 14) guitar lessons for the past
three years, and I had the kids provide input for this recommendation. They
appreciate that Xenia tailors lessons to fit the pace of their progress
rather than following a predetermined schedule. She explains the purpose of
the exercises that he has them do, always emphasizing that they are learning
to master the guitar rather than simply play a particular song. My husband
and I are impressed with their rapid progress.
Karen B., parent

$30/half hour | $45/45 min. | $60/60 min.

Visit the About header for more about Xenia's teaching philosophy.  For more about her expertise check out the links on this page.

  Music History
Minnesota Music Listening Contest 2004-05 (rev. 2008-09), Author
Minnesota Music Listening Contest 2005-06, Author & Host
Minnesota Music Listening Contest 2007-08, Author & Host
Development of Medieval Polyphony
General Chart of Rounded Binary Forms

Electric Bass
Play Bass Now - daily activities and instruction hosted by Marlowe DK

Classical Guitar
Classical Guitar School - free music and method books
 - The First Guitar Lessons - by Eythor Thorlaksson (the text is Icelandic, but still great)
 - Guitar Method Book I - by Eythor Thorlaksson
How to Hold the Classical Guitar (VIDEO)
 - Right Hand position for Classical Guitar (VIDEO)
 - Right Hand - Rest Stoke and. Free Stoke (VIDEO)
 - Left Hand Technique (VIDEO)
How to Re-String a Classical Guitar (VIDEO)
Classical Guitar Master Classes (VIDEO)

Classical Guitar Performances
John Williams - Vivaldi Concerto in D Major
Sharon Isbin (Minnesota Native) - Performances at the White House


  Music Theory

BINGO - Hearing Chords through Ritornello Form
Aural Skills Training
Music Theory Online
Online Chromatic Tuner (Java app)

Non-Western Muisc
Vijaya Parrikar Library - Carnatic and Hindustani Music Library
Maqam World - Music theory of Classical Arabic Music

J.S. Bach
Bach Cantatas OnlineThe Canons and Fugues of J.S. Bach 

Nadia Boulanger.org

Francesca Caccini - 
Il Primo Libro della Musiche

La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina
Aaron Copland Collection - LOC
Charles Mingus

Jean-Baptiste Lully Collection - UNT
W.A. Mozart
Neue Mozart-Ausgabe - Complete works online
Mozart Thematic Catalog - British Museum

Score Study and Manuscripts
Online Musical Scores to Download
Variations Prototype: Online Musical Scores
Virtual Rare Book Room - (esp. 18c French Opera)

The Petrarchian Grotto - Petrarch
Your Dictionary.com - Online language resource

Other Links
Arabic Maqam World
Guidonian Hand-Flash required
The Blues - PBS
SynthMuseum.com - Your Vintage Synthesizer resource

Minnesota Public Radio
Twin Cities Public Television
KBEM - Jazz88fm

Student Resources
A History of Western Music
Concise History of Western Music
Listen 5th edition
Thompson & Wadsworth Publishing
GRAD 8101 - Teaching in Higher Ed.

Study Tips on the Web
How to read college texts
The Logical Fallacies Index
Evaluating Web Sites - Cornell
Evaluating Web - UC Berkeley
* Turabian citation - UWO
QuickStudy citation guide- UofMN
The American Folklife Center
The Virtual Orchestra Online

Publications, Journals, etc.A-R Editions Inc.
Arts at Informaworld
Chamber Music America
Radical Musicology
Transcultural Music Review

Venues and Organizations
Intermedia Arts -
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra 
Minnesota Orchestra
Minnesota ChoraleOne Voice Mixed Chorus
Rose Ensemble 
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Vocal Essence

Professional Organizations
American Musicological Society
American Composers Forum
Society for Ethnomusicology
Iowa Scholarship for the Arts

1 comment:

  1. A few excerpts from Bruce Lee's posthumously published notebook The Tao of Jeet Kune Do
    "An artist's expression is his soul made apparent, his schooling, as well as his "cool" being exhibited. Behind every motion, the music of his soul is made visible. Otherwise, his motion is empty and empty motion is like an empty word - no meaning."
    "Art is never decoration, embellishment; instead, it is work of enlightenment. Art, in other words, is a technique for acquiring liberty."
    "The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses, but the opening of all human capacities - thought, feeling, will - to the life rhythm of the world of nature. So will the voiceless voice be heard and the self be brought into harmony with it."
    Bruce Lee in The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. 1975