The standard of teaching has risen significantly over the last few decades, and the quality of the wonderful young virtuosi on the world stage is a testament to the fabulous work done by so many dedicated teachers.
Like many guitarists, I have ended up doing far more teaching than I ever expected to. As chairman of the European Guitar Teachers Association (EGTA) for 11 years, I became very interested in how we teach and inspire the younger generations of players. But not just how we teach – what we teach is really important.
Students can become bored and even disillusioned if the pieces of music they are asked to play don’t inspire them. So this collection of pieces is intended to make our students want to practise. The zany titles are intended to tickle the student’s imagination. I want them to walk around with only one shoe so that they know what it feels like, as they play that music. I want them to have sat in an unreliable car which won’t start in order to better conjure up the sound world of that silly piece. Most of all, I hope they come to see that the classical guitar is an expressive instrument capable of conveying humour, silliness, frustration, anger and sadness. I hope that through this music, I help them fall in love with it.
The technical demands would suggest a student had been playing for a year or so before they start these pieces and it might take perhaps a couple of years to work through them all. Each piece’s title is followed by a box which tries to outline the didactic purpose behind the music. They are arranged in a rough order of increasing difficulty, but good teachers will spot straight away which piece is needed for which student, and when.
I live in a beautiful part of the world in North Wales with mountains and sea all around. The photo on the cover of this book is of the Britannia Bridge, one of the two bridges linking Anglesey to mainland Wales. I hope these pieces can also help students cross the divide from relative beginner towards more advanced playing.