An Introduction to Guitar Craft
Guitar Craft is three things:
A way to develop a relationship with the guitar.
A way to develop a relationship with music.
A way to develop a relationship with oneself.
The exact details of Guitar Craft courses are left open so each may find its own level and discover its own character. During courses we commonly work both individually and in groups, with personal meetings to focus on individual needs. We address the fundamentals of playing the guitar with a pick, rather than discussing music theory.
Courses are as intensive as the student wishes them to be and is able to accept.
Music is a benevolent presence constantly and readily available to all, but we are not constantly and readily available to music. Where there is a certain intensity of application, our state can change, and at this point we may find music waiting. So, how to reach this point? The direction of attention is fundamental: little is possible without attention. Relaxation is fundamental: little is possible when we are tense. In a relaxed state with our attention engaged, we begin to be sensitive to the needs of the moment. Work with attention is related to the cultivation of a sense of our personal presence, in a relaxed and alert condition.
The Introduction To Guitar Craft is open to all levels of experience, even none at all: the requirement is commitment. We ask that participants come with a clear aim, and the commitment to honour that aim. Emphasis is on how to play, rather than what to play. We address the principles underlying our practice. These principles are applicable in other areas of our lives.
The Alexander Technique has proven to be very helpful and is a feature of most Guitar Craft courses.
In the early years of Guitar Craft, a Level One course was itself An Introduction To Guitar Craft. The development of New Standard Tuning Weekends demonstrated Guitar Craft elements to anyone interested and effectively served as an introduction to the Introduction. We now have distinct courses formally presented as An Introduction To Guitar Craft which serve as preparation for Level One. The recent NST Weekend in Mexico, therefore, served as an introduction to an Introduction to Level One. The result of these developments is a much higher standard Level One than before. Students arrive better prepared to work on the exercises, rather than to merely become acquainted with them.
Originally, we accepted everyone who arrived and was willing to accept the House Rules. Courses of 16-25 participants, all beginners, were standard. As Guitar Craft developed, students on extended courses and kitchen work joined newcomers. Major courses have now grown to 60-100 people, many of them mature and experienced.
The formal Introduction acts also as a filter. This became necessary following a number of students acting in bad faith, mainly a result of drug use. We have no problem with clueless new students (we are all relatively clueless, after all), but the drug-addled clueless are not acceptable, while prior usage is not a bar to participation in courses.
The first Guitar Craft course began on March 25th. 1985. There have since been well over one hundred Guitar Craft, or Guitar Craft related, courses on both coasts of the United States, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Chile, and Spain. Hundreds of students of many nationalities, ages, and a diversity of cultural backgrounds have attended.
Extended residential courses are held in various countries for those who make an extended commitment, and on occasions a House is acquired for a period of time. The first of these was Red Lion House in Dorset, England.
Level Three & Four Courses will be held in Germany during 2004 (directed by Hernan Nunez). These follow a Level Three Course in Atlanta, USA (directed by Curt Golden) in the Autumn of 2003.
The primary centres of Guitar Craft are currently Germany, the US, and Argentina, with several secondary centres of Guitar Craft and Guitar Circle activity.
The League Of Crafty Guitarists has been Guitar Craft’s main performance ensemble since December 1985, when it toured extensively until April 1991. The LCG returned to active service in January 2002 and has both American and European formations.
The work of The LCG is to present Guitar Craft to the world and has performed throughout North America, Europe, and South America; appeared on television in America, England, Spain, and Argentina; and contributed to several records. A current project is to release an album drawn from live recordings of European and South American tours of 2002 and 2003. Members of the ensemble vary, but have usually been drawn from students familiar with the repertoire and who can respond to a performance challenge at short notice.
Several offshoots of The LCG and GC courses have formed performance groups that work under their own names.
Wednesday, 28th. January 2004
Villa Mercedes / Padres Claretianos,
Calle San Pascual Nº 3, esquina travesía San Pascual,
28 460 Los Molinos,
1985 revised 2004