The classical guitar, rather unlike some of our fellow musicians and instrumentalists, has the potential to suffer from being a lonely, solo instrument.
I don’t mean that we’re all terribly sad and lonely and sit crying at home into our soundholes .
And of course their are a number of advantages to being a solo instrument – its pretty easy to agree on a musical direction with yourself, no crazy and potentially sadistic conductors to deal with, no putting up with poorly rehearsed or late-for-gigs group mates…..
I mean that there are a number of excellent developmental opportunities and just awesome experiences to be had by playing music with others, that guitarists (particularly for those who play just our wonderful instrument and no other) perhaps don’t immediately obviously have available to them.
Playing with others, be it in a duo, trio, ensemble or orchestra can deliver a umber of benefits to a guitarist. These include:
- Pushing us beyond our comfort zone in playing and musicianship. This is where real growth and development can happen
- Giving us a greater understanding and appreciation of working with others to achieve a musical outcome
- Giving us a greater understanding and appreciation of the music we’re working on, with others helping us take on a different perspective
- And possibly the biggest developmental opportunity of all – it exercises our LISTENING. Like, really listening. Listening what others are playing, how they’re playing it, how we are ourselves are playing and how that fits into the larger piece
There are many more benefits besides these too.
So, we as guitarists may not have symphony orchestras and concert bands and the like. We do have one another though. Buddying up with a friend or two to play some duos and trios can be great fun and a valuable learning experience in itself.
Australia also has an increasing number of guitar orchestras or ensembles – for example the Classical Guitar Society of Victoria. It currently has one guitar orchestra, but plans are afoot now to develop a second/ “training” orchestra (with your truly as conductor). If you’re in this neck of the woods and interested I’d seriously encourage you to join up – http://www.cgsv.org.au.