So...briefly...why am I starting this blog? The truth is never easy to admit, but here goes. Anyone who teaches full-time guitar will tell you that its a two-edged sword. You learn an enormous amount through the process of teaching, and you tend to constantly question and challenge the premises upon which you have been instructing. Its a constant re-evaluation of processes that you have learned and acquired over the years, and its ultimately a fascinating and rewarding endeavour. On the flip-side...those 5 to 8 hour practice days you enjoyed as a student and under-employed professional go away. When I first started the full-time teaching, I managed to maintain a strict practice regimen, but as the years went on, the various projects I was involved started to pile up. My realization was...I had stopped practicing and was simply playing. I started to find at the beginning of 2010 that there were detriments to my playing as a result of this. Things that were easy when I was fanatically practicing and preparing concerts in an orderly manner, now were awkward to manage, and I often had to resort to "work-arounds" that went against my ideas of technique. As an example, in a six week period, I was preparing the Malcom Arnold Concerto, the Villa-Lobos Concerto, a solo program, two flute and guitar programs (while doing the music arranging for the program) and doing an acoustic "world-music" tour with Jeff Young (ex-Megadeth guitarist...fantastic player!!) where I was arranging, composing and playing steel string and classical. All this was done through a lot of playing but not much practicing. Things became so bad a few months ago, that I considered focal dystonia was the problem.
To my relief, I eventually found out that when I returned to properly practicing again, things got better. I was actually amazed that with all my teaching experience, I never considered taking my own advice!! Playing classical guitar requires incredibly complex and accurate movements, and the re-discovery of my own practice habits (which are exactly the ones I tell my students) has returned me to that excitement I had as a student.
I want to write this blog as another form of teaching. As I prepare a new solo program (note to students...when breaking bad habits..NEVER return to old pieces immediately), I want to share my thoughts on the guitar's repertoire and technique. I also want to impart advice on things I show my students to aid them in their studies. Also look for transcriptions, exercises, advice, and sometimes just my thoughts about music. I'm new to this, so advice and questions are certainly welcome...oh...and I'll work on how the blog looks as well.
Thanks..and I hope to see you out there soon. Back to the footstool...