Guitar Faculty

Don Hlus

Don Hlus

  • Chair, Music Department
  • Director of Guitar & String Studies
  • FVAGF Artistic Director & Coordinator

"Success is not measured by what you achieve, but what you help others achieve."
–Jeani Read

Don Hlus was appointed Chair to the Music Department in 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar performance from the University of British Columbia, where he studied with Michael Strutt. He has also performed in master classes for Elliot Fisk, Mark Teicholtz, William Kanengiser, Scott Tenant, Benjamin Verdery, Paul O’Dette, and Stephen Robinson. Post-graduate studies were with the Canadian guitarist Harold Micay. He also studied jazz composition & arranging and guitar performance at Capilano College. In 2003 he completed his Masters Degree in Higher Education (UBC). His research examined how different educational beliefs and values affect the design, development, and implementation of curriculum.

Don has been active in the Vancouver region as soloist and chamber musician. He frequently presents chamber music recitals with members of the Vancouver Symphony, the Vancouver Opera orchestra and the CBC Radio orchestra.

Don has held a teaching position at Kwantlen Polytechnic University since the music program's inception in 1993 and is an external examiner for the UBC Music School guitar program. He is also Founder, Coordinator, and Artistic Director of the Fraser Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival, the largest festival of its kind in Canada. In addition to his duties at Kwantlen, he teaches privately in Fort Langley, and is member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association and the British Columbia Registered Music Teachers’ Association (South Fraser).

What students have said…

Don Hlus"Our lessons had the greatest impact on my guitar playing. I can only hope to be half the teacher really. :)"

"I really appreciate the way that the faculty and staff of Kwantlen Polytechnic University gave [Brandon] an opportunity and encouraged him to try.  He has gone further and done far more than I ever would have thought possible.  And a large part of that is because of what you and the rest of the people at Kwantlen have done for him.  You gave him a chance to explore what he could do with his gift of music.  And for that I will always be grateful.  Thank-you very much!"

"Thank you for teaching me a ton of musical awareness other than just getting the notes down, your understanding of tone, melody and the time periods have been nothing but the best instruction a student could ever ask for, so thank you Don."

"In my opinion Don is doing a fantastic job with this course. His straight-forward approach and fast pace challenges students to expand their potential and achieve their goals. The workload is heavy, however, it is also realistic and necessary in order for student’s to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to advance from the Music Foundation to the Diploma Program. His course is extremely well organized and comprehensible. It is up to the student to attain all they can because it doesn't get any clearer or more organized than this, or with someone who is a fair and realistic as Don."

"Don is a very capable guitar instructor. Many important subjects were taught in class, and I feel that I have a lot of valuable material to work with over the next few months. I not only feel like a better guitarist, but I feel that I now have the tools necessary to be a better musician in all areas. Overall, Don was an excellent teacher, and I learned a lot in his class that will take me some time to get used to and incorporate. He instilled in me an appreciation of various types of music and broadened my horizons. Thank you, Don. Sincerely."

"While the workload may seem heavy at times it could possibly be the reason I feel that I have learned so much. The course has answered many previous questions I had about music and I look forward to another heavy workload and the answers to more questions."

"Don has been an outstanding private teacher, he explains concepts clearly and is very patient if I may not get something right away. Don is a great motivator and teaches with a lot of enthusiasm. I look forward to many more lessons."

"Thank you so much for this past year. Josh has always looked forward to his weekly guitar lessons. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for your help in showing Josh direction in his schooling. Josh is looking forward to his first year at Kwantlen."

"The encouragement, assistance, support, empathy, and knowledge I have found have been very beneficial for me, and it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you."

"Don motivates well and is inspiring. He is well organized and efficient with time. He is also concerned with students understanding material as well as assisting with problems."

"Thank you so much for the hard work and infinite patience in teaching us guitar."

"Don is an extremely talented guitarist and a very effective teacher."

"The course is fun. Cares about students’ progress."

"He explains what he wants me to do, clearly. If I don’t understand, he plays it for me. He states clearly what I have to do for my next lesson, and he doesn't waste time in my lesson."

"Very knowledgeable. Respects opinions and other styles student has. Always has an answer for any technique or practice problems I am having. Teaches mental and physical way of playing."

"Don is a wonderful instructor."

"As a private instructor, Don has been able to guide my playing technique, and more importantly, expand my musicality. He has helped considerably with how I practice, and perform my instrument, through giving me helpful practice and focusing techniques and encouragement, which I think is very important to the development of any musician."

"Don is an excellent teacher, and reflects the proper attitude I believe it takes to become a successful musician. Most musicians have a tendency to be laid back, but Don is very organized. I think that this may sometimes lead to pushing the limits of my ability, but at the same time I can see without that push, not nearly as much would be accomplished."