Correspondence between Letritia Kandle and Eddie Alkire, 1944

In 1939, Kandle began her studies in music education at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. It is uncertain if she finished her degree. However, by 1943 she had opened her own guitar studio in downtown Chicago. Carl Dixon, who was one of Letritia’s students between 1946 and 1948, described in 2008 what it was like to take lessons from her as a young student. 

She had a massive studio in downtown Chicago, 306 S. Wabash, in the old Kimball Building…She had fourteen teachers…and occupied the entire floor…She could read anything.  She was an accomplished arranger and conductor, and she played the steel guitar with a unique touch…When you took lessons from her, you played from the sheet music, and you played what the music called for.  Nothing more, nothing less…She was a sweet kind person, but it only took once to know she was the boss in that studio…Often times in a thirty minute lesson, she would stop teaching music and teach me about things I should have gotten at home…I shall treasure that always.

Carl Dixon

As a teacher, Kandle attempted to provide her students with the best methods she could find, which included Alkire’s correspondence course. In 1943, at the 42nd Annual Convention of the American Guild of Banjos, Mandolins, and Guitars held in Chicago, Kandle and Alkire met for the first time.  Letritia had just opened her first Hawaiian guitar studio and she was interested in learning more about Eddie’s innovative instructional approach for slack-key guitar. After meeting one another again at the 43rd Annual Convention, she wrote to Alkire to inquire about teacher’s discounts for his instructional packets and purchased a set of his “12 Etudes,” the first part of his “Improvising Course,” and two copies of the solo, “Honolulu Rhythms.” Alkire’s secretary, D. M. Frach responded and provided her with copies of the 12 Etudes.  Eddie noted his exchange with Kandle in a list of educators who had purchased copies of his EHarp method that year.

A letter from Eddie Alkire Publications to Kandle, about an order of etudes.
A letter from Eddie Alkire Publications to Letritia Kandle, 1944.