Posts tagged ‘classical guitar’

1,000,000 Yes! A Million!

Taylor Swift has 18million subscribers and 7+billion views on YouTube. Wow!!
Korean Guitar phenom Sungha Jung has 3million subscribers and 1.5 million views.
B.B. King, immortal blues guitarist, is a little more down-to-earth with only  13,000 subscribers and 8 million views.
Classical Guitarist David Russell has 7,000 subscribers and nearly 3 million views.

Of course, they all deserve so much respect for their fame and I admire them all for different reasons. But all the same, I feel TOTALLY AWESOME because Guitar Arts Studio Student Video Channel has . . . (drumroll??? )

230 subscribers
over 1,000,000 views!!
And truly, other than post them and share around a little – there hasn’t been anything really done to promote the channel.

We’re just that doggone good!!!

See for yourself at:

Here’s our most popular video:


These two are pretty close in views:

Lord of the Rings theme for Guitar Ensemble

Malaguena for Guitar Trio

Student Performers aged 10-16

and My Favorite – “Take the A Train”

Honors Ensemble performing in the Guitar Foundation of America Youth Showcase in Ithaca, NY (June 2009)

Well…there may be lots of other channels with over a million views, but I still feel really proud and happy about this.


…and Thank You for watching!!


Texas Guitar Competition (Saturday)

Well, here is the link which is currently active to the 2011 Texas Guitar Competition and will probably  sometime today reflect the results.

The performers finished in reverse order of the concert and everyone – the judges and I came up with the same results…no big surprises…4th Prize Andrew Rohwedder, 3rd Prize Janet Grohovac, 2nd Prize  Chad Ibison and 1st Prize  Adam Kossler.   Congratulations all the way around!

Adam Kossler performing in the Finals on Friday night

Most of the activity during the day on Saturday was the Youth Competition, offered for the first time this year.   There were two divisions – one for students aged 11-14, and the second for students 15-18.  So, Jr High & Senior High.   Though it was not a public event, observers were allowed in to the Competition and as a teacher of students who are in that age range,  I watched most of the performances.

There are two reflections on this for me….one is students playing notes with absolutly no dynamics and no color changes.  It is frustrating when you really DO emphasize this in lessons and yet in a performance the student doesn’t do it.  Sometimes this can happen over and over again with students who get anxious about performing.  In that case, I guess you count your blessings that they remembered all of the notes.  The lesson for us as teachers, then, is to make sure we DO emphasize this in lessons.  Well, really we must over-emphasize it. Probably even obsess on it a little.  Begin each lesson w/ review of older pieces bringing more and more color and polish to the performance of  it.  Without this kind of consistent reminding, it doesn’t become natural and it doesn’t show up in their performances.

The other thought is the dangers of allowing students to play pieces that are beyond their abilities.  Many students did this in the older division.  It was so frustrating to hear major works (like Tarrega’s Grand Solo) presented by students who were not able to even get a nice sound out of their guitars.  Why not focus on less complex pieces played with correct notes, all notes clear and a nice, full sound?  One boy performed Dyens’ ‘Tango en Skai’   Each and every time a certain run was played which involved significant shifting, he made no real attempt to play each note individually.  It was the get-my-hand-in-the-general-area-while-moving-my-fingers-and-at-least-play the highest-note approach.   Argh.  It was so frustrating to watch.  At least the younger kids were (mostly) getting the notes.  Some of the older kids displayed a certain arrogant swagger at the fact that they were ‘performing’ such hard pieces.

Let’s not be guilty of this, teachers….!!!!!  If the students get enough of the basics – like playing correct notes with a beautiful sound and exaggerated dynamics – soon enough they’ll be able to take on the more difficult pieces and really get the job done.  And they’ll be hooked for life.  And that’s much more fun and satisfying….for them and for us.

The evening concert with David Russell was a treat.  It was a bit surprising that he read most of the pieces – however, they were quite masterfully performed, so what’s the difference????    He spanned the gamut of eras and styles from William Byrd to the very contemporary “Le Bourdon de l’ame” written for him by Patrick
Roux  with style and skill.  Already on ‘Classical Guitar Blog’  today I saw the declaration that it was the best classical guitar concert the author has ever seen.

That’s David Russell.  His performance was wonderful and it’s no surprise he was called back for two encores.  He chose two Barrios pieces – one of the Waltz’s and the tremolo piece “Una Limosna por el amor de Dios.”

In Conclusion,  it was a great weekend of performances and classes!  Thanks to UT Dallas for all the hard work and dedication involved in this Festival every year.


Friday and Saturday have been great for observing some wonderful guitar lessons!

Friday afternoon I spent watching Patrick Lui at Weaver Academy in Greensboro.  At this performing arts Magnet School Patrick has whipped his kids into great shape on some very advanced pieces.  And they were all very nice and welcoming to me as a guest in their classes.  No pictures of kids due to privacy issues, but here is their teacher –

Friday evening brought more guitar shop-talk on the nuts and bolts of  teaching the pieces Canarios and the Cimarosa Bmi Sonata.

at Weaver Academy with Guitar Teacher Patrick Lui

Playing and Discussing Bk 7 Pieces with Ken and Bill










Saturday – my last full day here!  Got together with Joe Pecoraro to observe some High School kids’ lessons and have lunch.  Joe and his wife have two young sons who are both budding guitar virtuosos!!  Also got to watch some lessons at Bill’s studio.

Later, dinner and more discussion of pieces at Ken’s house. His younger students really like that LUCKY DUCKS game.  He’s put numbers on the bottom of the ducks to represent pieces in their repertoire.  They draw 5 and then play thru their review.  Cute!!

Bill Kossler listening to his student perform

Ken's turned "Lucky Ducks" into a practice game

Here are some memorable quotes from the four teachers I’ve observed this week:

“You can move your fingers, but it’s better if you make decisions about how you’re going to do things.”

“Tune early and tune often.”

“Back off a little from what your fastest tempo is so the listeners don’t have to be nervous for you.”

“You’ve been practicing with intention and it’s much smoother.”

On my way home tomorrow night….

Guitars and Pets in N.C.

Here's the kitty who doesn't understand why she can't come in.

Tuesday dawned with the kitty meowing outside…she doesn’t understand why she can’t come in and who is this new guest in the house.  And Mark, the dog, doesn’t get it, either. He makes himself comfortable on the patio, on a bed of leaves.

Here's Mark in his new bed.

I do feel guilty over the displacement of the pets, but very happy to have this good opportunity.  So far I’ve observed in three studios – Ken Wilson and Bill Kossler, who both teach independently in Winston-Salem and Joseph Pecoraro at the North Carolina School of the Arts.  Every teacher has great ideas which are really valuable to see. Ken has his students play a song by ear every week in addition to reading and repertoire.  Bill is getting each student set up with a binder and dividers. In the front section is the stuff they need to practice every day. In the back sections they can skip around as long as they cover everything in a week.  Pretty organized and it makes it easy to choose what to listen to in a lesson.  Joe has a ton of great ideas he uses with his students both at the high school and college level. He chooses simple etudes from old Shearer Books which are easy to memorize.  Because they are so solid, he uses them to work fine points of left and right hand technical focus in an amazing, detailed way.

Lauren plays violin in the symphony and Tuesday was the Final Performance of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in partnership with the Drama Dept of the School of the Arts. It was such an enjoyable performance and really funny. It was held at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem and it was the first time I’ve been able to get the check-in feature to work for me on Facebook.  Woo-hooooo!!

Winston-Salem Symphony warms on stage at the Stevens Center

Today, Wednesday, saw a Facebook Check-in at the North Carolina School of the Arts again to watch some more lessons.  It is really amazing how good those high school students are. They play pieces which are quite advanced and with a great deal of confidence. Gotta hand it to those great instructors!

You might enjoy the inspiring poetry posted on the Kossler’s Fridge….. and perhaps the contrasting messages will strike you funny, as they did me…!

Wisdom from the Refrigerator Door....

too often we underestimate

the power of a touch, a smile,

a kind word, a listening ear,

an honest compliment,

or the smallest act of caring,

all of which have the potential

to turn a life around.

by leo buscaglia




ABOVE IT:      “My only hope is the Lottery” ]


Now, One more photo of the displaced kitties

Kitties Chillin' Outside

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s colder tonight back home in Houston [27 ] than it is here in North Carolina [35] or even New York City [28]

Who would have thought?????

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