Joel began playing classical guitar at age 8 under the instruction of his uncle Tom Johnson, of the University of North Texas. He began taking regular lessons with Nick Digennaro at the same time. In middle school Joel studied classical guitar with Sam Swank of Dallas, TX. While getting a degree in Economics at TCU, Joel continued his classical guitar studies with Chip Christ. After Graduation, Joel started teaching classical guitar lessons as the director of the North Dallas, Plano, and Carrollton Childbloom Guitar Program. At the same time he began studying Flamenco Guitar with Miguel Antonio. Shorty after, Joel met a great friend and musician, Joey De Lago, who shared the Flamenco/Afro-Cuban guitar secret, “Mano-Rota” with him. While under the musical apprenticeship of Joey De Lago, Joel founded “Child Play Music School,” played rhythm guitar for The Joey De Lago Trio, and started his first two bands: The Front Porch Band and The Oram Street Orchestra, both of which began performing around Dallas. While working on these projects Joel also began studying Jazz with Jazz virtuoso, Robert Conti. In 2011 Joel’s professional guitar career took off. In February 2011 Joel was hired as rhythm guitarist for Latin guitar virtuoso, Russ Hewitt, and his Nuevo Flamenco Band. In the years following Joel formed half a dozen new bands: In April 2011 Joel founded the Spanish Pop and Gypsy Kings Cover Band, “Vino Tinto,” with the incredible Flamenco vocalist, Lisandro Gonzalez. In November 2011 Joel created “Bossa Duende” with the lovely and talented Brazilian Jazz vocalist, E. Bettie Cager. In March of 2012 Joel created “Tres Uvas” with his guitar mentor Joey De Lago. In May of 2012 Joel was hired as rhythm guitarist for Maestro Marcelo Berestovoy and his quintet. In March of 2014 Joel formed “Café Radio” with his wife, Jordan Pipkin and his student, Nick Jones. In October of 2016 Joel created, “The World Jazz Project,” which performs jazz from all over the world. In August of 2017 Joel was asked to take over the classical guitar position at Dallas’s arts magnet high school, “Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.”
Joel has authored a few guitar instruction books and DVDs as well. He developed the Child Play Music curriculum and has been successfully teaching children music with it for nearly two decades. Some of Joel’s earliest students are now professional musicians. Joel developed and wrote the “One Minute Drills,” a short concise book of Classical and Flamenco guitar technique drills. Joel has developed two other book/video series for classical guitarists: “Jazz for Classical Cats,” and “Grooves for Classical Dudes.” This material is aimed at filling in the gaps between classical guitar and other genres. Joel is currently working with Steve Schrag to develop a new guitar curriculum for Booker T. Washington HSPVA that encompasses Classical, Jazz and Commercial Music. Today, Joel owns and operates “Pipkin Music,” a booking agency for local DFW bands, and “Child Play Music School,” a music school for children aged 5-12 years old. Joel studies Flamenco with Maestro Ruben Diaz the world’s foremost expert on Paco de Lucia’s technique, repertoire and legacy. Joel also runs a Youtube channel dedicated to Joey De Lago and the gypsy guitar secret “Mano-Rota.” You can catch Joel performing with one of his bands somewhere in the DFW area most nights of the week.