Raising the bar for the guitar
Renowned guitarist and guitar teacher Dr Paul Cesarczyk has been invited by the Guitar Guild of Goa to conduct master classes for classical guitar teachers. A stimulating experience for the 25 participants, 14 of whom are from Goa, the ongoing pedagogic workshop is expected to raise the level of guitar playing in the countryKeen to create an explosion of love for guitar around the country, the Guitar Guild of Goa (GGG) under its founder member Rui Lobo sought to invite teachers from abroad to jumpstart the process. “Our focus up to now has been performance, but to really spread the love of the instrument, which is the basis of GGG, we have to go beyond this. We need pedagogy to take us to a world class level. In this field, we are still babes in the wood,” he avers. Roping in Dr Paul Cesarczyk through the Indian Guitar Foundation (IGF) was a huge step in this direction. “Paul is a fantastic teacher. He has been instrumental in raising the standard of classical guitar playing in a country like Thailand, which had no classical guitar history till about 30 years ago,” says Lobo.
Reluctant to accept any praise, Dr Cesarczyk maintains that a student receiving an award is merit enough. This despite the fact that he made his Carnegie Hall, New York debut at the age of 17 and has been performing around the world since, winning several accolades including the Andres Segovia Award and Artistic Excellence Award from the New York State Senate. An active proponent of new music and a composer in his own right, this Polish-born American guitarist/teacher currently heads the Guitar Department at the Mahidol University College of Music in Bangkok, Thailand. Developing a tailor-made course for the Goa master classes, Dr Cesarczyk explains that he has revised his strategy since he began the six-day workshop on April 15. “The course has been developed in conjunction with Veda Aggarwal of the IGF. My goal is to teach technique specifics; interpretation of how we experience music through the various styles and teach specific strategies about how to teach students,” explains Dr Cesarczyk, who has made two important observations over the days. “The teachers are very excited and open to learn new things and that is very helpful for me. Secondly, perhaps while they lack confidence in teaching, they have pretty good instincts. Their knowledge of music is mixed. Some have a wider base of knowledge, others need to spend more time acquiring it,” he surmises, while acknowledging GGG members Rui Lobo, Schubert Cotta, Avik Saha, (IGF President) and Veda Aggarwal for their immense help in putting the workshop together. Interestingly, of the 24 participants, around 14 are Goans. Terming the pedagogic workshop as amazing, a sentiment shared by all participants, Shelton Afonso, owner, Maestro Fernando Music Academy, avows, “Besides conducting master classes, Paul explained the whys and hows of teaching and playing. By covering topics like the human anatomy, music as a language and approach to effective teaching/performance, he has left us with enough of information to work on and impart to our students.” An explosion for the love of guitar has already begun!
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