What is the guitar?
The guitar is a six-stringed instrument that developed a lot during the past centuries. It first appeared in the 14th century, and it took the shape and the characteristics we are now familiar with, a century ago. It is the only polyphonic instrument that can imitate the sounds of any instrument in an orchestra, as Segovia once said in an interview. Its range is three and a half octaves and there are usually nineteen frets. The guitar is also the only instrument on which you can play one note in three, or even four different positions, producing a slightly different sound in each position. It can be used as a solo instrument as well as accompanying others.
There are mainly two types of guitar; the classical and the acoustic. They have a very similar shape and their main difference is the different types of strings used, while the acoustic can be connected to an amplifier and may be played with a pick. The classical guitar repertoire includes compositions from Bach, Tarrega, Villa Lobos, Dowland, Brouwer, and many others. The acoustic guitar is more appropriate for songs, although most of the classical guitar repertoire can be played with the acoustic as well. There is another type of guitar, the flamenco one, which has a more percussive sound and is ideal for dances, such as the tango and the waltz.
It is never too late to take up anything new. A lot of people start playing the guitar from the age of twenty and onwards. It could be a bit difficult but with devotion it can be achieved. The student has to be at least 7 years old when taking up guitar lessons. It would be extremely hard and even impossible to start younger than that since the body and especially the hands of a guitar player cannot be way too small. Perhaps, the most ideal age to take up guitar lessons is the age between eight to ten years old when the guitarist’s body and hands have already developed to a satisfactory degree and the guitar does not seem to be too big
Whatever one chooses to pursue in life, he/she will always come across the cliché ‘there’s always something new to learn’. The same applies for the guitar. There are so many techniques, chords, pieces to learn, while there is also the traditional flamenco music which requires a whole lot of other skills. During the first two years all the notes, most of the chords and some techniques are taught. In the first five years, the student learns a satisfactory amount of repertoire, but it takes about eight years for one to pass the necessary examinations in order to obtain the highest guitar certificate, which is the Grade Eight certificate.
Guitar lessons, as all musical instrument lessons, are conducted on a private basis. That is, the classes are conducted with the teacher and one student only. This enables the teacher to give all his/her attention to the student for the best possible results. The duration of the lessons varies according to the level of each student. Since the lessons are private there is flexibility in terms of the day and time a lesson can be arranged. The exact days and hours are jointly agreed upon by the student and the teacher before the beginning of the academic year. As time passes by and as the student progresses, additional hours might be added in a classroom with students of other musical instruments in order to create small orchestras, ultimately aiming to familiarize themselves and coexist with other musical instruments.
The school offers recognized examinations for all of its departments. The majority of the examinations are from foreign universities and schools and especially from the United Kingdom, Greece and the Czech Republic. All diplomas are recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture as well as by all universities abroad. Therefore, regardless of what musical instrument one plays and the levels completed, the school diplomas can be used as additional qualifications for admission in overseas universities!
Two guitarists actually stood out in the past two centuries; Francisco Tarrega and Andres Segovia. Both of them had exceptional skills and upgraded guitar’s status as a solo concert instrument with their skills. Andres Segovia, who has been perhaps the most important figure in the history of the guitar, lived during the twentieth century and died in 1987. Nowadays, the famous guitarists list has grown since the guitar has become a popular instrument. John Williams and Julian Bream are among them. These two have also appeared on stage together, forming an unforgettable duo.