This is a good example of being ready to move away from preconceived ideas and methods of playing on the guitar. Unfortunately, guitarists tend to develop “comfort zones” in their playing that can become crutches inhibiting true creativity. Not that there is anything wrong with planning ahead and sticking with the script, but being ready to move into an area you hadn’t planned can keep your music alive and relevant.
But, it takes a certain amount of openness, which is directly tied to your musical preference, background, and technique. Typically, we get lost in the technical expression more than anything. We tend to shy aways from things that require struggle and time. We want things now, today…the immediacy of “I don’t want to wait” is death in musical expression, composition, and especially performance. The effort required to refine a technique can become a block to forward movement especially when you want to compose a piece.
During this work, one innocent unplanned slur became the catalyst for the construction of the entire work. Lesson learned. Keep it real and don’t hold back from opening doors that lead you where you hadn’t planned on going.
“The Mountain Stream” is a wonderful guitar composition by Sveinn Ehthorsson. Mr. Ehthorsson runs a wonderful guitar website, The Guitar School http://www.classicalguitarschool.net/en/. I’ve used this site for many years in my public school guitar teaching and have been very happy with it. One of my current students, Michael, is working on “The Mountain Stream” for an upcoming evaluation at his high school. He is doing very well so far and we both absolutely LOVE this piece. I have included a recording that we did of the first minute or so of the music. Once Michael completes the piece we will record the entire four pages. The score for the work is available on the website. Here is the sound clip of the first section of Michael’s performance of “The Mountain Stream”. WE recorded it on Pro Tools 9 using a Shure 137 condenser mic about one foot away from his guitar’s soundhole angled in towards the bridge slightly.
The following is a brief look at how Michael has influenced me. Far be it for a teacher to be influenced by a student right? Wrong. If you are not learning from your students then something is out of balance.
THE STUDENT INFLUENCES HIS TEACHER
You know I love to create music. Just create. No music on paper. Just a guitar and an idea. However, my conservative side, which is much larger that it may appear, was honed in the early days of my playing when technology was in book form. No aids, no shortcuts, just the music. I learned to play on a Yamaha classical guitar, which I still have at my studio. It is worn, beaten, doesn’t play well, and is fading fast. But, in it is the beginning of a lifetime of guitar playing, studying, and teaching that has brought me further than I could have ever dreamed.
My student, Michael, is discovering this same joy. Michael is dedicated, serious, task-oriented, and talented. I say this because teaching Michael keeps me keenly aware of my roots in music. I love to study music in all forms and to be honest I miss that part of my musical life. The reality is that when you teach and have successful students, you teach more. Your “alone time” with the guitar becomes scarce. It starts to dwindle down to spasms of random time. You begin to realize that you have to fight to stay on top of your musical goals. In the end, I have realized that I must be more like Michael. I must become more focused and driven in terms of working on more structured guitar music. I’ve created a lot of original acoustic music that I’m very proud of, so I am in the process of a shift of priorities in a sense. I want to be Michael again.
A tour de force of funk and hip hop grooves “Make It Do What It Do” was produced by Gemini Jay with Mark Campayno adding smouldering lead and rhythm guitars. Check out the insane runs and legato playing 1:58.
The irresitible groove and infectious vocalizations (my favorite being “turnaround” right before the bridge at 2:40) make for a listening experience that will have you jamming in your seat. I should tell you that this is not candy music. It’s real, fun, uplifting, motivating, not made for or by poser musicians looking to turn three or four rotating chords into easy money. This is music that speaks from the street. The streets of life, hard life, tough and sometimes brutal relationships that burn inside a musician that when released turn into music that grips the soul and fires the senses.
The track starts out with a syn/bass riff that serves notice that these dudes mean business! When Gemini hits the verse things begin to explode with guitar and organ riffs blazing that are reminiscent of something new on the horizon. Could it be? These men are bringing fun back to music? Real groove returning to a groove-starved population. Maybe the beginning of a new funk? Maybe Bruno was right? Uptown Funk is for real? It surely is on this track.
There is no doubt that this pair have a magic all their own when they get together to make music. Gemini produces the track, Mark listens, rips and returns the music to Gemini. Simple right? Yes, for them. But they understand each other. They don’t really tell each other what to do. They just do it. That’s what you call real music.
Both musicians are located in Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia areas respectively. After this release they will surely continue in this vein producing more of their urban insanity. By the way they are both available for tours and gigs.
Check out their other work on SoundCloud and elsewhere. But for your safety I’d stand up for this one! It is the hit!
Allan Inspires – How to Create a Young Mozart in Your Home
Produced and conceived by Mark Jeffery Campayno
This is a very brief look into the musical life of a young student. Allan started playing guitar at a very young age and since that time he has moved on to at least 19 other instruments. If that weren’t enough he studies performance and guitar at my studio https://www.musicians-inc.com, for his high school, and for the Loudoun Youth Orchestra http://loudounsymphony.org/education-programs/youth-orchestra/.
Allan is one of those musicians who was gifted with the innate knowledge of how to transfer musical systems from one instrument to the next. It’s an intuitive gift that most musicians would die for. But, at its core, Allan is benefitted greatly by incredible parental support and encouragement. This, in my opinion, is one of the strongest indicators of future musical mastery.
Parents, if you have a child who is currently studying an instrument you are part of the process. To let a young musician on his own for all but one hour of a week to deal with the complex physical and mental aspects of musical training is to cut the success rate down to under 20%. Please realize the power you have over your young students future. It’s not an option. You must take at least 30 minutes out of your day to patiently sit and work with your child.
I hear ya…it doesn’t matter that you know nothing about music! Shut off the television, turn off the video games (yes, some of you adults are as bad as the kids), and discover the incredible accomplishment that your child can feel through musical performance.
What is the alternative? Your child hanging out on the street with “friends”, or sitting in front of a computer screen for hours becoming the best video game player in the neighborhood? I ask that your take a moment a realize just how important musical involvement is and how enriching it can be to life. Not only that, you may just find yourself wanting to become a part of it:)
Thank you for your support!
The state of the world and the creator looking down on it.
- Photo credits