A word to those interested in finding a "guitar" program...
The Classical Guitar has enjoyed a marvelous resurgence in popularity over the past twenty-five years. Both new repertoire and pedagogy have contributed to making this both a desirable and accessible instrument for those that enjoy its wonderful qualities. Although the classical technique can be used in conjunction with the electric guitar the classical guitarist has no need for electronic effects or other instruments to support its vast repertoire. The guitarist that masters the technique of the classical guitar will enjoy many rewarding hours of playing music whether at home, in a concert hall, or by the side of a mountain. The guitar travels easily and needs only a competent set of hands and ears.
For those reading this that play guitar but have little experience with the classical guitar, it is really important that you begin to listen to as much classical guitar music as possible. It is equally important to listen to other classical music as well. Very often guitarists that are adept at rock or other popular forms of guitar, begin to play the classical guitar on their own without listening to the music. What results is akin to carrying on a conversation with someone from a foreign land using a textbook to speak the language of that land.
The following are classes available to guitarists majoring in music. These courses contribute to a Bachelor of Arts/ or Bachelor Music Degree. Please see catalog for degree requirements.
Music 216 Applied Classical Guitar 1-4 credits prereq. music major status, by audition (see entrance proficiency requirements page 267 WWU Catalog 2000) Catalog speak for "Guitar Lesson" open only to music majors* at Western, this class is one on one and is accompanied by the "Performance Class" (not shown in the catalog). Students work with the professor to outline a course of study in technique and repertoire. All students must also pass through an upper division jury. The material for the jury serves to structure the first two years curriculum in music 216. *music minors are ocassionally accepted when there is room in the program
Music 316/416 Applied Classical Guitar 1-4 credits prereq. Music 216 and successful completion of upper division juries Where sound production on the guitar occupies much of the earlier stages of Music 216, various more advanced techniques are presented and refined in this class. Some of these techniques include tremolos (3, 4 note), and rasqueado as well as the development of scales and arpeggios at a virtuosic level. Objectives include, student recitals at the junior and senior level, upper division juries and, preparation for graduate school. Larger scale works studied include the Lute and Cello Suites of J.S. Bach as well as larger scale works of composers from the classical era to present.
Music 217 Applied Jazz Guitar This class is not currently being offered. Guitarists proficient on the steel string or the "jazz" guitar may pursue their study at the upper division level after passing through the upper division juries and the 200 level classes. This will be arranged on a case by case basis.
Music 266 Fretboard Harmony 1 credit prereq. Music 124 and two qtrs. Music 216 Diatonic harmony applied to the fretboard. Hands on application of chords and scales for the guitarist. Students complete several assignments culminating in the arranging of two popular songs for the guitar. This class gives guitarists a chance to integrate the material learned in music theory and keyboard harmony classes, and apply it to their chosen instrument.
Music 267a and b Introduction to Guitar Repertory 2 credits each prereq. Music 266 coreq. Music 216 A survey of guitar literature and history from Renaissance to present. The modern guitar evolved over centuries and has a substantial solo repertoire. The ability for the guitar to stand alone as a solo instrument sets it apart from most other instruments in our culture. To this day, some of the greatest living composers have written and continue to compose solo and chamber works for the classical guitar. This class will offer the student guitarist an opportunity to put this repertoire into historical perspective.
Music 281 Guitar Ensemble 2 credit prereq. by audition and permission of coordinator Most incoming guitarists have little or no chamber or orchestral experience. Playing chamber music whether with other guitarists or other instruments combines various skills that are essential to becoming a complete musician. The ensemble is an easy way for guitarists to get their feet wet before attempting to work with other instrumentalists. Students prepare duos, trios and quartets and perform in quarterly chamber music recitals. Western Guitarists use this class to prepare a full recital in the PAC Concert Hall and abroad. Western Guitars have been invited to perform for a variety of events and festivals in the region.
Music 481 Advanced Applied Chamber Music 2 credit prereq. by audition permission of instructor Upper division students wishing to play chamber music take this class
Music 466 Instrumental Pedagogy 1-3 credits prereq. upper division level in applied I instruction music major status and permission of instructor A study of the basic concepts involved in instrument pedagogy through a survey of the most important modern teaching methods. There is also a practicum component to this class where students work with lower division students on various technical studies, Music 499 Senior Recital 3 credits prereq. permission of instructor A full length public recital approved by the students recital committee. S/U grading
A word about auditions...
For those guitarists that wish to audition into the program playing jazz guitar, please follow the guidelines for jazz guitar auditions listed below. Please note however that you will still need to enroll in music 216 and will follow the classical curriculum for the first two years of study. There is no longer a jazz degree offered but it is possible to design a studio guitar degree. After passing through upper division juries, we can determine which course of study to follow. This will depend in part on curricular offerings in the department of music.
Some of what Western has to offer guitarists
Fingerstyle Technique Where the flatpick certainly has it's place in many established musical styles, the guitarist wishing to play contrapuntal music quickly realizes the necessity to learn and incorporate good fingerstyle technique. This technique in the long run will be adaptable to a variety of popular styles as well as classical ones.
Reading music on the guitar is essential (for most people) to becoming a complete musician. It certainly is the most practical way of integrating melody, harmony and bass line. The guitarist who can read music will have many doors open to her/him. Although the entrance requirements include reading music on the guitar, the curriculum will build on this skill.
Discipline and Focus are essential to doing anything well. The discipline and focus required to playing the classical guitar even pretty well is substantial. Western students that pursue guitar study seriously during their undergraduate years usually find that whether they go on to play or teach guitar, they will have the skills and discipline to grow. Those that decide to pursue a career outside of music will have developed the focus and discipline and organizational ability to meet many of lifes challenges with confidence and ease.
Integration of theory and harmony with guitar study is an important part of the core curriculum offered to Western music majors that choose guitar as their major instrument. There is now a "Fretboard Harmony" class available to guitar majors at Western. Few schools offer this useful class that serves to familiarize the guitarist with the fingerboard in a way that will, among other things, enable them to arrange music for the instrument.
Performance opportunities abound here at Western and the community surrounding. Guitarists are required to participate in weekly performance classes as part of their applied study. In addition, guitarists perform juries twice yearly and will give junior and senior recitals. Students pursuing non-performance degrees will perform in Thursday One O'clock Recitals and chamber music concerts. The ability to perform in front of an audience can be an invaluable tool outside of music.
Chamber Music In addition to opportunities to play chamber music with other instrumentalists in the music department, guitar ensemble classes are available for credit to guitar majors in the department. Our guitar ensemble Western Guitarists perform a couple of concerts a year. Concerts usually attract a big following and in addition to ensemble performances, our concerts feature student solo performances. Recent performances include concerts at the Blaine Washington Performing Arts Center and Gonzaga College in Spokane, Washington.
The Northwest and Portland Guitar Festivals Western guitarists have a long history of participation in regional guitar festivals. With internationally acclaimed artists performing and giving classes, these three-day guitar festivals foster more inspiration than students know what to do with. The festivals include guitar competitions that provide a goal for many of our students who spend their year preparing for the next festival held every spring. Former Western students have placed and even taken first prize in these competitons. Western Guitars have been featured performers at the Northwest Guitar Festival in past years.