Matthew Marchant’s first GC Course
Montreal, January 7th 2016
This is about my experience at the intro to GC course in Sant Cugat in July 2003, my first GC course. I feel it’s necessary for me to put this in the context of the time and place in my life.
I was 25 at the time, still a student at university, played the guitar, and was searching for something. I had seen KC a few times in Montreal, including the double trio in ‘94 when they toured with CGT. The night of the show I was still without a ticket and my dad proposed to drive me to the venue to try to buy a ticket off of a scalper. His idea worked and looking back I’m very grateful that my father did this for me.
The show was truly amazing, CGT was on fire, the audience was crazy with people yelling at the beginning and throughout, and KC was so amazing and powerful. The show convinced me that something special was going on. When I learnt that all of this was connected with GC and saw that I could attend a course I was really interested and submitted my application for the intro course.
So the course really began for me much earlier than 2003.
I left Montreal on July 2nd on an overnight flight to Barcelona. After landing, shopping, getting lost finding the train, arriving in Sant Cugat in the rain, being told that taxis don’t drive in the rain, finally getting a taxi and making it to the monastery, I arrived right in the middle of a meal. I was invited to join and sat at the head table. I was tired, even frazzled and felt I needed to talk and share how my trip went. I spoke and began to see that my words were out of place and then there was a silence that set in. Hernan, likely seeing that I wasn’t ready or in good shape for this asked Daniel, the house manager, to take me to my room to get settled in. Later in the evening I went out front to sit on the bench and Hernan invited me to walk around and talk. He made me feel at ease and welcome which was much appreciated. The next day, the course really began and I began to understand a bit more what was going on.
I keep many memories from this course but want to focus on 3 that were especially significant.
My first morning sitting
On the board was written “Practice of doing nothing” at 7:30 – 8 am. The night before I was intrigued and didn’t know what this was about. The next morning I arrived just on time, the door closed behind me and I sat directly on the floor without any blanket or cushion. After 30 minutes my legs and back were stiff and tired. I was impressed by the atmosphere in the room and how everyone was sitting with good posture. Afterwards Sylvain approached me and said that I needed to sit properly, either with a blanket rolled up or on a chair. I appreciated his advice and thoughtfulness. I knew that he had been through a learning process of his own and had experience to share. I began to see that I could really learn from others on the course both directly and indirectly. I understood the aphorism: “we also learn from osmosis” at another level. I left really looking forward to the next practice of doing nothing.
An important question
At dinner there were announcements about upcoming activities. At the beginning of the course Hernan announced that the days would begin at 7am and asked if anyone needed a signal for waking up. I answered “Yes that would help!” and Hernan replied: “Very well then, you will ring this bell every morning at 7am to wake everyone up”. I realized that words, especially during meals, were important and could have repercussions. At later courses and on at least a few occasions, I needed reminding of this.
Sounds from the ceiling
This experience occurred during a full group meeting in the ballroom with guitars and directed by Hernan. We worked on the Thrak polyrhythms with half the group playing in 5 and the other in 7 and at that point I didn’t even know what polyrhythms were. The meeting lasted a while, I struggled trying to get the rhythm, was impressed by those that were getting it and at one point I began to feel more relaxed. If I recall Mariella was also assisting with AT. There was a lot of intensity and at one point I started hearing sounds descending from the ceiling. The sounds were of pianos mixed with chains. I was impressed and didn’t really understand what was going on but just let myself take it all in. Later during a meal, David Snyder said, “I may be going nuts, but during the meeting I heard sounds from the ceiling”. I responded “You’re not alone!”.
So perhaps both David and I were going nuts at that point, but it was great to be able to share such an experience.
Diary and comments on Introduction To Guitar Craft July, 2003 in Sant Cugat
Montreal, January 14th 2017
This is the 2nd part of my accounts of the introduction to Guitar Craft course in ... Read More