Kurt teaches guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, ukulele, and piano lessons. Coming from a family of talented musicians, he grew up with a love for music and especially music performance. He wrote his first tune on the piano at eight years old and that sparked a creative drive that never left. Although piano was his first love, the guitar seemed to be calling him and he dedicated himself to the instrument. Practicing for hours each day in his dorm room as a Kansas University engineering student and track and field athlete, Kurt began learning all the styles of American music. Engineering wasn’t his future. He knew that his true calling was to be a musician, so he began playing gigs around Lawrence, Kansas. In those days he played mostly for little or no money, but the early gigs were the beginning of his career as a professional musician that has lasted over two decades and counting.
Kurt had always known that his passion in music was to express himself through improvisation but mostly in the rock and blues tradition up to that point. Then one fateful day he walked into a little pizza joint in Lawrence, Kansas not expecting his life to change. The music playing on the sound system was unlike anything he’d ever heard. That was the very first time he heard John McLaughhelin, Al DiMeola, and Paco de Lucia. They were playing some sort of flamenco jazz guitar fusion and Kurt was mesmerized with the sound. The album was “A Friday Night in San Fransisco”, which he promptly purchased and set out to learn every note the three masters had played. This was the start of his love affair with jazz music. The complex harmonies and rhythms and the freedom to be creative were a perfect fit for his musical capabilities. Kurt went on to study jazz guitar performance at Wichita State University under the guidance of the great Craig Owens who would become his mentor and a major influence on Kurt’s music. To this day the two guitarists can be seen playing in Craig’s avant-garde jazz group, Bodo Ensemble, along with other heavy hitters in the jazz arena. Dale Black, one of the nation’s premier bass players, is the arguably the most famous band member, but there are so many others. Brian Mueller, Andrew Bishop, Jeff Stidham, and many other accomplished musicians trace their roots back to Bodo Ensemble. The band is a breeding ground for great jazz players. Kurt has also performed with funk legend Rudy Love, Steve McClure of Garth Brooks fame, and the well known actress/singer Cindy Summers to name a few. Showing his versatility, Kurt can also be heard playing some nice keyboard in the R&B, soul group Blue Eyed Soul, and regularly works as a session guitarist in Wichita Kansas.
Even though performing and recording music for a living is a dream come true for Kurt, he wouldn’t be complete without sharing the joy with others. He is experienced teaching piano, guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons. He seems to get more joy helping his students attain their musical goals than even working on his own, and it shows. Kurt has been at it so long that these days he is teaching many of his former student’s children, and he keeps himself busy teaching a studio of about 50 students per week. He is very excited about getting the students up in front of an audience, when they are ready, and he frequently organizes recitals for them to get their feet wet. In fact, many of Kurt’s students have gone on to become pro musicians themselves. A true musician’s musician, Kurt Aiken loves to share his talents with the world through both performance and education.