John Wayland Harr was born and raised in rural Northeast South Dakota. He began taking piano lessons in his early elementary school years and started learning the saxophone a few years later in the fifth grade. His interest in music became more serious when he started playing the guitar in his junior high school years.
After graduating from high school, John attended the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where his main focuses were classical guitar, jazz, music theory, and composition. During that time, he was a member of many ensembles on acoustic and electric guitars, alto and baritone saxophones, and triple cello steel drums and was active in several different music groups outside of school in the Bismarck area as well. He received an Outstanding Soloist Award at the 2006 Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Elmhurst, Illinois. John composed and performed several original music works for recitals as part of his degree program. He was also an adjunct faculty member as a guitar instructor for Martin Luther Elementary School and the River Bend Music Conservatory Of Music in Bismarck. He graduated in May 2008 with Bachelor’s degrees in Guitar Performance and Music Education and a minor in Philosophy.
After finishing college, John was hired as the full time elementary music instructor in Willamina, OR where he taught for three and a half years. He also taught high school guitar during this time. The music program that John was teaching was eventually cut and he subsequently moved to Portland in February 2012, where he has since worked as a fulltime freelance musician throughout the Pacific Northwest. He is particularly in demand as a solo guitarist for public and private events all throughout the region. John released an album of original music in 2011 which is available at various online music stores. He has been teaching music classes with The Art Conspiracy, a two week summer arts program in Yamhill County, since 2010.