Sometimes the audience is a good place to be during a masterclass. But first, we have to find them.
If the society has a email newsletter, it’d be good to get on it. Otherwise, get in touch with the artistic director or another officer. Ask specifically about classes.
Guitar festivals are another great opportunity to catch a lot of masterclasses. Unfortunately for those of you with day jobs, most of the classes are during the day with concerts at night.
Guitar societies and universities (see below) often sponsor their own festivals. So keep in touch with both.
Colleges and Universities
Most schools will have guest artists on occasion. It really depends on the school budget and what their focuses are. A school with a strong guitar program is more likely to have guitarists as guest artists.
The best way to find masterclasses to do cruise the music department’s calendar of events. Most schools do a good job of promoting concerts, but keep the masterclasses under wraps. Google “[university name] music” and you should come up with a music department website. Search for an events calendar or recital schedule on the website.
This is also a great way to find guitar student’s concerts. These are folks that need our support as audience members, so, if you have time, I’d urge you to check them out. Many student recitals can be high level, especially at schools that have a graduate program.
If you don’t find any events listed, do not hesitate to get in touch with the guitar teacher on campus. They should be thrilled to hear from a community member interested in what’s going on at the school.
Local Arts Organizations
When I lived in Des Moines, Iowa, a local arts organization called Civic Music brought in the LAGQ and the Assad Brothers. Both groups gave masterclasses in cooperation with my university.
Cruise local organizations calendars, and see who’s in town. Many of these organizations are the ones that bring in big name artists. If you see a guitarist in town, be sure to ask about a masterclass.
There’s no masterclasses! What do I do?!
Well, if you have some spare change, contact the artist directly and ask for a lesson. Most folks are glad to do this. Steve Aron gives a ton of private lessons at guitar festivals, for instance.
This is a pricey alternative, but you will probably get a lot out of it. A private lesson is much more low-key than a masterclass performance and generally a bit longer.