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Classical Guitar

University of Missouri Expands Guitar Program

2011 May 5
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

Students now have the option to major in music education, theory and composition and history with guitar as their emphasis instrument, Shay said.

“The program of study will include not only lessons with professor Glise, but also classes in guitar literature, guitar history, guitar pedagogy,” Shay said. “These students will be in chamber ensembles with either other guitarists or other instrumentalists.”

The guitar program will also offer a career development class.

How to Teach Your Students to Slow Down

2011 May 4
by Christopher Davis

Even the most insignificant thing can become a big deal in a lesson.

For instance, as Rob pointed out: teachers have to choose their words carefully. Sometimes a word carries with it implications as to how a give technique or musical idea should be accomplished.

The result of the “wrong” word can be frustration from the student or some unexpected results from a week home a lone practicing.

Lessons are the Student’s Time

In lessons, it seems fairly obvious that the teacher wants the student to do most of the playing. Why else would a person take lessons? This mindset has unexpected consequences.

How many times have you (if you teach guitar) played a passage at tempo or fast just to get the student an idea of what it should sound like?

It’s probably happened a few times. Just like words can have hidden implications, so does how you play things for students.

Students Go Faster Than They Should

It’s a common problem. Students play something fast, when the should be slowing down or using a practice technique to really nail a passage.

I suspect a lot of this is due to teachers leading by example. We play stuff fast in lessons just to get through it so the student can have more time trying things out. But we’re also saying something about how a piece should be played: fast(er).

How to Teach Your Students to Slow Down

Simple. Slow yourself down. Play at the tempo you’d like your student to use.

St. Louis Classical Guitar Society 2011-2012 Season

2011 May 3
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society, one of the region’s
musical gems, has announced its 2011-12 concert season. It will
feature some well-known names along with newer talents.

Sept. 24, 2011: Jorge Caballero

Nov. 5, 2011: Duo Noire

Dec. 3, 2011: Carlos Perez

Jan. 21, 2012: the Beijing Guitar Duo, Meng Su and Yameng Wang.

Feb. 18, 2012: The Romero Family

March 26, 2012: David Russell

Not quite sure on the Carlos Perez date above. Had to piece it together from the article linked above and from the St. Louis CGS website.

Matthew Holmes-Linder in San Francisco, CA [Concert Review]

2011 May 3
by Guest Poster

This is a guest review by Giacomo Fiore.

On Friday, April 29th, I took a seat next to department chair David Tanenbaum and took a look at the program for Matthew Holmes-Linder’s second graduate recital. I was immediately struck by the fact that all pieces (with the exception of Brouwer’s Concierto Elegiaco) had been written within the past year. Even though I knew that Linder was an advocate of new music, it was surprising and refreshing to see such a novel program come to life.

Linder opened with Jasmine in Winter (2011), a piece for guitar and flue written by the Iranian born composer Sahba Aminikia, and dedicated to the victims of the recent anti-government demonstrations in Iran. Colors reminiscent of Takemitsu, fused with more overtly maqam-inspired melodic turns, were impeccably delivered by Linder and flutist Sasha Launer.

For the following three pieces, guitarists Robbie Nance and Mason Fish joined Linder as the Mobius Trio, an ensemble that has premiered half a dozen new works in just over a year; most recently, the Trio appeared as part of the Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

Aminikia’s second piece of the night, Persian Dances (2010), confirmed the composer’s talents in writing for plucked strings, and the quality of writing remained high for Garrett Shatner’s The Transition and Anthony Porter’s needle-play. This last piece in particular explored a seemingly infinite array of texture, timbres, and tones, as a series of short movements evoked the composer’s first encounter with acupuncture. The Mobius Trio played with elegance, command, and inventiveness—the chemistry between the players is undeniable, making for an absolutely enjoyable performance experience.

For the second half, Linder returned to the stage to give the world premiere of Porter’s hair of the thing that bit you, a solo fantasy for classical guitar and loop pedal. The electronic effect is used to create short textural webs of increasing rhythmic complexity, but the loops are kept short and ever-changing. Some of the resulting polyphonic passages in harmonics quite literally took my breath away. Once more, the guitarist met all challenges with unfaltering technique, strong rhythmic security, and pristine tone.

Finally, Linder closed the night with Leo Brouwer’s Concierto Elegiaco (1986), the piece with which he won this year’s Guitar Concerto Competition at the Conservatory. Whether confronted with the piece’s expressive Interlude or the relentless final Toccata, Linder shone as a soloist, showing a deep connection to the musical material. I’ll be looking forward to hearing the same piece with the Conservatory Orchestra next year.

Mobius Trio in Davis, CA on May 12, 2011

2011 May 2
by Christopher Davis

Mobius Trio
WHEN: Noon, May 12
WHERE: Room 115, Music Building, UC Davis, Davis
COST: Free
INFORMATION: (530) 752-7896;

More info:

Kevin Loh plays Michael Chapdelaine [Monday Motivation]

2011 May 2
by Christopher Davis

Today we feature Kevin Loh playing a Beau Fleuve by Michael Chapdelaine.

Alturas Duo in Baltimore, MD on April 30, 2011 [Guitar + Multiple Instruments Concert]

2011 April 30
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

The Baltimore Classical Guitar Society has a cool presentation at 8 p.m. Saturday at Towson University’s Center for the Arts — the Alturas Duo, a unique combination of instruments (guitar, charango, viola) and repertoire (classical and South American).

Milos Karadaglic Story on

2011 April 30
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

Milos Karadaglic’s debut CD of Mediterranean repertoire is out this month and includes pieces by two popular composers, Isaac Albéniz and Joaquín Rodrigo.

The 27-year-old Montenegrin blames the pop world for his instrument’s demise. “With the invention of the electric guitar, the instrument stopped being intimate and started to reach out into wider audiences,” he explains. “These technological advances resulted in the core classical guitar repertoire fading away. The guitar’s popularity within pop detracted from its popularity within the classical world.”

Read the whole article on

Video Lessons: The Future of Music Instruction?

2011 April 27
by Christopher Davis

webcam guitar lessons

Sometimes surprising things land in my inbox via Google Alerts. Today it was this…

Imagine taking in-depth, one-on-one guitar lessons from Jackson Browne or Richard Thompson. These are among the rarefied experiences offered by On The Music Path, a new iPad app designed to teach users to play real instruments with instruction from world-class musicians.

Also among the initial slate of lessons … “Intro to the Classical Guitar” from Scott Tennant, member of the Grammy®-winning L.A. Guitar Quartet.

via PRNewsWire

Scott Tennant is a big name to get on board with such a product. But he’s not the first pro guitarist to jump on the video lesson bandwagon. Martha Masters did a series of 20 lessons for a company called WorkShopLive a few years ago.

ArtistWorks is an advanced platform for video lessons and membership communities that a few artists teach with. There are probably many others as well.

Can You Get What You Need from a Video Lesson?


To some extent the first lessons on any instrument are the same for any student. Certain technical and musical foundations are laid out, and, from there, the teacher introduces new ideas that constantly relate to the fundamental principles.

Here’s an example:

A student walks into their first guitar lessons. Step one: teach them how to sit with the guitar. What does it entail? What does it feel like? Where does the footstool go? Etc. Every single day of practice following the lesson the student reinforces this sitting position. When that student comes back the following week, the teacher can give some feedback about improving the position. The same process repeats again and again (with any technique or musical element).

And there’s the rub. Learning music is about continually evolving: growing what you know by adding new features to it and constantly relating anything new to what you did before. How do we do that? By getting good feedback.

A teacher can help a student shape their technique or musicianship into something great.

Video Lessons and Their Foundations in Community

Are video lessons the future of music instruction? Probably. But apps like the “On The Path” don’t excite me. A passive experience? No thanks.

The video lessons that are effective are built on a community where virtual students can ask questions of the teacher and get answers in a (relatively) public space. One person’s questions benefits the entire subscribed community. Or, to put it in business jargon, the best video lessons & communities are subject to the effects of network externalities: the more people use the service (and ask questions) the better it is for everyone involved.

If video lessons are the future of the music instruction world, the most interesting thing is going be seeing how their creators will give the students the ability to ask questions.

Image by mshades

Assad Duo Concert Review

2011 April 27
by Christopher Davis

Sergio and Odair Assad have moved audiences and inspired guitarists around the world for over 30 years with revelatory performances of Latin American music and European classics, original compositions, deep musicality, and supple, almost telepathic, guitar duo performances. In the late 1990’s they began to expand their ensemble sound in a series of collaborations with musicians like Dawn Upshaw, Gidon Kremer, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Yo-Yo Ma. Recently, they expanded their repertoire by exploring their ancestral roots in Lebanon.

Read the full review here: Assads Inspire & Challenge