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Increasing classical guitar awareness

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Increasing classical guitar awareness

Until five or six years ago, I was teaching guitar with a traditional, classic guitar approach. My guitar students played fine and many of them graduated from the Music Academy in Israel. Some of my students became guitar teachers and some kept playing. In Israel, we have a major problem of not having enough classical guitar pupils. More are going to electric guitars via Rock, Blues, and other styles, but not Classical, and not acoustic guitar.

All of these categories are justifiable art forms. One shouldn't say "Classical guitar" is to be placed on a higher level, because what matters is whether the music is being played well or not. We could compare this with writing text. Whether you are writing with your pen or typing with your computer, what is important are the ideas and the style you will use and how well you communicate. What you write with shouldn't matter. However, as a classical guitarist, I do care about a few things like:

Direct Touch - Where your string controls the sound without electric intermediary. You have the ability to play anywhere, such as under a tree, without the need of electrical sockets. You also have the ability to play a soft and natural sound that is not dependent on a button.

All this thinking brought me into a long, deep thought process resulting in a 'New Music Education' that I have developed. It has already worked very successfully in Israel. Its name: The New Music Education Project. In this program, each pupil constructs an eastern Kit-Guitar for himself. We design a modular Kit-Guitar that can be easily glued together into a wonderful music instrument.

By self-construction, the pupil feels very close and attached to their guitar. He or she wants to learn how to play a few songs. They find it difficult and can't play. That's where we come in. We guide them in groups, how to sit, how to hold the instrument, how to place their left hand, how to move each finger independently, in to play!!!

At the end of the program we give a concert for parents, sisters, brothers, friends and the other pupils. In this concert, we have some solo pieces "composed" by a few advanced pupils, one or two etudes for full orchestral class and some songs accompanied by our Eastern guitars. At the end of the program, each one takes their instrument home. A few of the pupils from each group will turn to classical guitar studies.

This project can be used by any musician playing guitar, violin, cello or mandolin. Today we run this project in 20 elementary schools. The teachers have full support from us. Some can come to our guitar studio to perfect their style. Some get help via e-mails, telephone, fax and letters. In the last three years, we have taught 6200 pupils using this method. This year we will start support for private guitar teachers who are running this method for young beginners, as a pre-guitar instrument.

Lesson by Naftali Lahav

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