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Hongkong Airline Destroyed Guitar!

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As the Cuba guitarist Rene Izquierdo finished his concerts and workshops in Hongkong and want to go on to Taiwan, the Hongkong Airlines didn`t allow him to take his priceless Santiago Marine guitar into the cabin. They forced him to check in this expensive instrument with the argument “otherwise you have to buy a second seat”, what is outrageous.

Finally he needed to check in the guitar with the luggage. But he has a special flight case for his instrument , so if the Hongkong Airline would take care, it shouldn`t happen anything. But the untrained personal of the Hongkong Airlines managed to destroy the flight case with the guitar inside! It looks like evil intend!

Now this Hongkong Airline only want to pay 30 Dollar as a compensation like they always doing for normal luggage.

So please my dear friends! If you play guitar, don`t use the Hongkong Airlines!!! Other Airlines normally allows you to take your guitar into the cabin. Choose only airlines who allows you to take the guitar with you into the cabin.

And please sign this petition for us guitarists. I have already signed and I hope it will have some good result. :

Airlines: Please stop treating instruments like luggage. If you make us check in the instruments, make sure that is handle properly.

The Guitar Symposium in Shanghai: Two lectures of Thomas Kirchhoff

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From May 22th through May 24th there was a Guitar Symposium at the Conservatory of Music in Shanghai with a lot of excellent concerts and lectures. Ye De Min, the guitar professor of the Conservatory and organizer of the Symposium invited a lot of extraordinary guitarists – like the young special talented Kang Jun Hong and the Japanese composer and guitarist Shingo Fujii, but also the German professor and organizer of the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium Thomas Kirchhoff to teach.
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I listened to two of his lectures and made a summary for you.
The first lecture was: “how to become a student for guitar at a German Music Academy”, the second lecture was: “how to develop a career with the guitar”
 
Thomas’ First Class:
How to study in Germany:

If you want to study guitar in Germany, you first have to find a Conservatory or a Music Academy and a teacher. You can find the website of each Music Academy by typing the www.hfm- (city of your choice).de. For example: If you want to study in Munich your address is: www.hfm-munich.de, or if you want to study in Detmold, the address is: www.hfm-detmold.de.
 
On the website of the Music Academy, you also can find a list of the guitar professors. It is strongly recommended to contact the teacher before the entrance examination. There are two times for entrance examinations each year. If you want to start in April (summer term), you have to sign up for the examination by December. The examination will take place in January. If you want to start in September (winter term), you have to apply by March and your aptitude test will be in June.
 
Before taking the test you should contact your professor. But please don`t give big gifts. This is not usual in Germany and will not help you. You can only give a small present like a box with Chinese tea or something like that, but that is of no importance and will not help you to get a better test.
 
Without playing the guitar, you need a second instrument and basic knowledge in ear training and music theory. And of course you have to understand and to speak German. The test for these subjects are different at each Academy, and some are easier, some are more difficult. You can find  more information on the website of your chosen academy.
 
The tuition fee in Germany is generally very low, so if you have around 1000 Euro each month you can live very well as a student. Students are allowed to work beside their studies too. Most of the guitar students have jobs as a guitar teacher at several music schools.
 
Foreigners are allowed to earn up to 400 Euro each month. For a German visa you also need to verify that you have a balance in a bank in Germany. The amount of this deposit changes from year to year, so please inquire about the current requirements.
 
A lot of Chinese think that it should be an advantage to study first in China, but for the subject “classical guitar” that is not true. The German guitar professors like to have young and flexible minds. You only need your high school preparation. But on the other side, there is no age limit in Germany. Theoretically you can study until you are a grandfather, if you find a professor who takes you. Sometimes this is easier or more difficult.
 
Sometimes there are 50 students who want to start at the same semester with the same professor, but only one place. And other times there are only four students who have applied for the entrance test, and three free places…that is luck…
 
Thomas Kirhoff`s second lecture: “how to develop a career with the guitar”
 
Most important beside good skills is your individuality. All the famous good players play differently. It is not necessary to win a lot of competitions to be a successful concert guitarist. People who can win the prizes in competitions are not always successful with playing good concerts. A lot of guitar players with great names never won any competition.
 
As important as your skills and your personality are “Vision and Will.” That means you need to have a vision of what you can give to the world and where you want to be several years later. You have to be realistic: are you made for the big international stages or more for to play in a restaurant?
 
If you know what you want to be, you need name cards, a website and a CD. It is better if you already have planned your second and third CD. And then you have two possibilities: one is to manage yourself and the other one is, to find a good manager to help with the details.
 
And it is very important not only to try once. If you really love what you are doing, you will try a lot of times and do not give up so fast. Being a musician takes persistence.
 
And if you want to make a living from concerts, you have to see what kind of other requirements you have. To become really rich playing guitar, is not easy or almost impossible. But if your requirements are not too high, it is possible to live a happy life with playing guitar.
 

South American Guitarmusic: Venezuela

These days in Shanghai is the music fair. A lot of guitar companies from the whole world are here to sell their guitars and other music instruments.

But instead of going to the music fair, I want to introduce Antonio Lauro to you:

Antonio Lauro was born on the 3th of August 1917 in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezulenas. With the age of nine years his family moved to Caracas, where A.Lauro studied music. At that time he mostly played the piano and violin. But later Augustin Barrios Magnore recovered A. Lauro and persuaded him to study guitar. So he studied with Raoul Borges and was introduced in the typical classical guitar repertoire.

As a member of Trio Cantores et Tropico, where Lauro sang the Bass and played the guitar he composed a lot of Valses for that Trio. Later mostly Alirio Diaz, who also was a student of Borges was responsible for making the unrecognized but wonderful pieces wellknown to a bigger audience.

In 1951/52 the militaery junta imprisoned A.Lauro because of his belief in democracy. Shortly before his death in 1986 he received the Premio National de Música, his country’s highest artistic award. (For more information please look at Wikipedia.org!)

Here is the Vals Venezulano Nr.1:

and again on Tudou for my friends in China:

The Importance of Playing by Heart

As I was a student my guitar teacher always forced me to play every piece by heart. If I didn`t memorize a piece, I was not allowed to learn a new one till I could play the old one by heart and without any mistakes. I continued to do so my whole lifetime.

But working as a teacher I have a big problem: most of my students are not willing to practice like that. If I try to convince them to memorize their pieces, they often tell me, that they can not do that. And if they try, they often need a lot of time to finish one piece. And if they have memorized one piece, they start to forget another one. Why?

Most important reason for that difficulty is the fact, that my students are too busy with school and a lot of other activities. Often they even don`t have time to meet their friends or to play something during the week. Till ten o`clock at the evening they are still busy doing homework. And if they have a little free space, they like to watch TV or play with the computer.

The more busy a child, the worse the ability to imagine music and memorize the guitar pieces. That is really pity. Sometimes I think, it would be better for some of my students to do less at school and to spend more time with “nothing”, till the naturally ability comes back. Because it is “naturally” to remember a song that you ve played severall times. If you can not do this, means, that your brain is over stressed.

To play by heart helps you to develop your imagination and everything your right site of your brain is responsible for. It is evident, that people, who plays by heart have a better feeling as people who needs to watch the sheet.

Most Important Of All: Phantasy!

Practicing with my students sometimes lets me be a little disapointed. What often happens: the younger children are learning with high motivation and big progress, but some years later if they starting with puberty, they lose their love to classical guitar and most pitty: they lose their phantasy.

May be it`s because they become too busy with school and with meeting their friends, may be it`s because they prefere to listen to the popular music of their classmates: they start to practice less and less. Only a few people are going on practicing with motivation and regularity.

The Chinese students are not better than the German and American students, but they are not as free educated and have to listen to their parents decision. So they have to continue and participate the annual examinations and sometimes participate competitions, but it is really difficult to help them, if there is not so much love for the music they have to play. They would like to play some pop songs, some finger picking style pieces, but because of their examinations they have to practice a lot of requested pieces and no time to play the music they really want to play.

To these students I would like to say: it doesn`t matter which kind of music, which piece you have to play! It only deepends on your own phantasy and imagination that every piece of music can sound very beautiful!

For example the little music from the third level of the annual guitar examination:

What a nice story! It remembers me on a Mazurka of Chopin, but it is a Mazurka of the famous guitarist J.Sagreras. This piece is often played too fast. It is very necessary to play not too fast but with expression! To get a feeling for that music you can listen to the piano Mazurkas of Frederic Chopin. Buy a CD from Horowitz oder Ashkenazy or another good pianist and listen to their interpretations of Chopin. Then you know a little more how to play your beautiful small piece from Sagreras..and you can also feel a little how to play Tarrega pieces.

Use your own phantasy and try to make your own interpretation. There are many possibilities to play that piece! Think about a story that music can tell and use that music to tell a story.

I put here one interpretation of Maria Luise. Make another one!

I am so sorry for the bad sound that tudou provides! It sounds much better on youtube!