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Brian Rivers with UC President Santa J. Ono at UC's commencement ceremony

Brian Rivers with UC President Santa J. Ono at UC's commencement ceremony

Recent Music Education Graduate Brian Rivers Takes a Less Traditional Career Path

Music is nothing new for Brian Rivers. A professional guitarist from Sacramento, California, with over 30 years of experience in all styles of music, Rivers received his first guitar at the age of 10 and has been playing professionally since he was 14.

While living and working in Sacramento, Rivers was juggling full-time work, family and other obligations. Going back to school simply was not a realistic option at the time.

After his wife accepted an Assistant Professorship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Rivers relocated with his family to Cincinnati and learned about CCM.

At age 50, Rivers decided “it was now or never” and took the plunge, enrolling in CCM's Music Education program. Graduates of this program enjoy a 100% placement rate, most often as school music teachers, community arts personnel, church musicians, faculty members at colleges and universities, and students in advanced programs of study.

Four and a half years later, Rivers could not be happier to finally have his degree.

Associate Professor of Music Education and Chair of the Division of Music Education Ann Porter, PhD, says, “Brian is an example of how non-traditional students can offer an alternative viewpoint in class and bring diversity.”

She also praised Rivers for acting as a mentor to the other students in the program.

Brian Rivers playing his guitar

Rivers explains, “The program is really designed for a student who is fresh out of high school and being completely supported by their parents, allowing them to totally devote themselves to the program. I, on the other hand, was working 30 hours a week as well as being an active father and husband. Needless to say, that presented more than one challenge.”

But Rivers says he remains thankful to be part of such an incredible program and now feels honored to be included as a CCM alumnus. He truly believes he could not have done it without the support and guidance of Jim Smith and Ann Porter, his family, friends and all the staff and faculty at UC and CCM.

So what’s next? Rivers plans to continue teaching private guitar lessons, music theory, improvisation, songwriting and digital recording from his studio in Hyde Park. He also hopes to publish a few method books in the coming years and continue working as a performer.

Learn more about Brian Rivers by visiting