John E. Lawrence

John E Concert (3)
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Old Smooth II
The Band Mar30
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Artist / Author / Composer/ Arranger/ Producer/ Recording Artist/ Instructor / Former Chairman of the Performing Arts at Washtenaw Community College

John E. Lawrence, a lifelong resident of Ypsilanti, is one of Michigan’s most talented and respected guitarists. John is gained national recognition as a guitar instructor with his contract with Mel Bay Publications, Inc., one of the country’s largest publishers of instructional materials; writing a celebrated series of guitar instruction books.

John became an instructor at Washtenaw Community College where he taught for 27 years and was the Director of the Music Performance Program. John also developed the “Living Legends Series.” The series provided a stage for famous recording artists to be interviewed and share their life stories in front of an audience.

Among Mr. Lawrence’s many accomplishments was a performance at Carnegie Hall. In addition to touring throughout the United States and performing at Jazz Festivals such as: Boston Globe, New Orleans, and Montreux Detroit, he has also performed in Haiti, Surinam, Germany, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Some of John’s sound recordings include “The Supreme Dream,” “Old Smooth,” “Summer Nights,” “All By Myself,” “Merry Christmas from John E. Lawrence,” “Winter Wonder Land,” and “A Solo Guitar Christmas.”

For more information, please e-mail him at

Published Books
Songs Written
Pictures Painted


Running Bass Solos includes exercises that are designed to supply the student with the tools necessary for executing faster, more exciting and challenging bass lines in conjunction with chord progressions that will build chord changing speed.

Music Library

Old Smooth II takes over where Old Smooth left off. It is comprised of old school hits from the 90’s into the 2000’s. It includes songs like: “Don’t You Know That,” “Before I Let Go,” “I’m Only Human,” “That’s the Way of the World,” and more.

Art Gallery

This drawing is entitled “The Young Woman.” There are 40 rings including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, finger rings and her headband. She wears them all with pride, dignity, style & grace. For this reason I have nicknamed this piece, “The Rings.”


It has been an honor working with you and I am so glad that our lives crossed paths. I have mixed feelings about your plans to retire from WCC. Not having you at WCC is a huge loss. At the same time, I am happy for you and wish you all of life’s blessings during your retirement. Thank you for agreeing to help WCC out in the future on projects that can only succeed with the John E. Lawrence thumbprint. You are an amazing man and please know that you have left a wonderful legacy at WCC.

Rose B. Bellanca Ed.D
Washtenaw Community College

John E. Lawrence Musicologist about the Expert. Consultant and music expert actively related in the intellectual property, media and entertainment. He has applied innovative techniques in matters involving copyright infringement lawsuit case analyses.  Lawrence provides expert analyses and musicologist reports on a case by case basis.     

John E. Lawrence is the ultimate artist, consultant and performer who has mastered his craft and skills at an impeccable level and extraordinarily gifted who is multifaceted in various areas.

Gregory J. Reed & Associates P.C.

Author of “This Business of Entertainment & Its Secrets”.

I have been knowing John E. Lawrence for the past 20 years. In that time, he has been one of the most stable and “Christ-like” gentlemen I have ever known.

His character is beyond reproach, and he reflects this in his music as well as his art. You see, John is multi-talented, not only a great musician but, a fine artist (Painter). Moreover, he is one of the few musicians that can make his living as a musician. He has a very strong sense of purpose.

John is one of my most talented instructors in our Washtenaw Community College Music Program.

The Late Dr. Morris J. Lawrence Jr. September 25, 1987  Instructional Coordinator of Music, Founder and Chair of the Washtenaw Community College Performing Arts Department. Director of the WCC Jazz Orchestra.

It is indeed a privilege to speak on behalf of John E Lawrence, music instructor and director of the music performance program at WCC. I have known “Johnny” for over 25 years and in many capacities. Dr. Morris Lawrence first brought Johnny to me and introduced him as a gifted and serious student of the arts. Indeed he was. He matured into an excellent visual artists and it has been my pleasure to mentor him.

Secondly, I know him as a musician – extraordinaire. I have witnessed through the years his phenomenal growth. His musicianship, in the tradition of Dr. Morris Lawrence, seems to have no boundaries or limits.

I also know him as a businessman, perfectionists and an extremely hard worker doesn’t seem to have the word mediocre in his vocabulary.

He is honest and a man of integrity. I have great respect for Johnny and out of our friendship.

The Late Professor Jon Onye Lockhart March 26, 2003

Artist and Muralist full-time instructor at Washtenaw Community College, adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan

A reflection of what Mr. Lawrence has accomplished and experienced is contained in his recordings and instructional material. I spent a fair amount of time examining the text and listening to the recordings and was intrigued by the content. I am thoroughly impressed that only with his musicianship, but with the methodology used in his multimedia instructional materials.

Mr. Lawrence is a highly original performer. He possesses an amazing command of the current techniques surrounding jazz and the top performance. His combined awareness of jazz’s multidimensional history, theory, and practice are apparent in his instructional materials and his performance.

He is a superb guitarist. The quality of his performance involving many music genres show his ability to change styles without sacrificing quality from performing Christmas carols to hard-core pyrotechnic jazz, he finds a comfort level within that domain this is a musician of extraordinary talent.

Lester P. Monts, PhD. Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Counselor to the President for the Arts, Diversity, and Undergraduate Affairs. Professor of (Ethnomusicology)

The University Of Michigan Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

I have known Johnny Lawrence for nearly 25 years, first as a guitar instructor, then later as a good friend, a valued relationship which continues to this day. Although I am no longer a formal student of Johnny’s, I continue  to learn from him and I expect that to continue. Johnny is without question one of the most disciplined individuals I have ever met, and also one of the most goal-oriented and focused. Johnny has always known what he wanted to do with his life, and there was nothing that was ever going to get in his way.

I can also say that Johnny is one of the most artistically gifted individuals that I know, because he is. But as formidable as his talents are, I place them second behind his focus and discipline. I have met many gifted and talented individuals over the years, and some have gone far while others have not. Those who have succeeded like Johnny – and that number is few – have done so not so much because of their gifts but because of their focus and disciplined commitment to craft.

Johnny is an excellent teacher, and I’m sure any of his students will say the same. But it’s not just his ability to effectively share and communicate his knowledge about how to play the guitar or to perform on stage. What makes Johnny special is quite simply the example he sets as the kind of person he is.

Want to know what it takes to be a successful all around musician? Watch Johnny be Johnny.

Keith Owens

Deputy Communications Director, Office of the Wayne County Executive

Former Senior Editor of the Michigan Chronicle