Scottish Guitar Federation

Yesterday (Sunday 24th) I attended whatever you’d call the pre-steering committee stage of the Scottish Guitar Federation – the ignition stage? This remains a working title for the moment. Together with the other three members of the
Edinburgh Guitar Quartet we drove through to the RSAMD in Glasgow, where torrential rain had been pre-booked for their September weekend.

Although located in Glasgow, the event was funded by the Dundee International Guitar Festival – one of the biggest and best guitar festivals in Europe – where I’ve spent many a CPD hour among very fine teachers and players. Yesterday’s conference comprised a mixture of small and full discussion groups debated the establishment of:

A national body

  • to share information on educational matters, changes to exams (SQA and external) etc
  • to act as a pressure group
  • to offer mentoring for young teachers

A website

  • to share teaching tips
  • to share arrangements of solo and ensemble music
  • to review existing arrangements and to give a more precise grading of difficulty than is currently common
  • to advertise concerts, master classes, festivals
  • to provide online resources e.g. aural training, sight reading, theory
  • to facilitate the buying and selling on of instruments, books and music – this would greatly help students

A concert network

  • where different towns and cities could coordinate to provide mini-tours for local and visiting talent *

A Scottish Guitar Orchestra

  • to add a much needed tertiary tier for pupils showing promise in existing school and local authority ensembles

Many things need to be thrashed out and volunteers will hopefully be forthcoming – either to take part in the steering committee or to upload examples of good practice, teaching materials, arrangements, compositions etc.

Half-way through the proceedings we were treated, in addition to a fine lunch, to a short demonstration-recital by Marek Pasieczny, a post-graduate student of RSAMD. He played some pedagogical material from his publication entitled 10 Szkiców Na Gitare (10 Sketches For Guitar). This was not the first time I had seen Marek playing. In November, I awarded him joint first prize when adjudicating the Chanterelle Prize in the college.

There was a frisson of friction between private and public sector teachers – the former believing that those employed in the latter were dominating discussions. My own view is that this was simply force of numbers – more teachers present were public sector employees and teach many more pupils than those working from home – in some cases by a factor of 20. It seemed a little like saying there is too much emphasis on youth in schools.

* Disppointment was expressed that, in the past, the pupils of some teachers had not supported the concert promotions of others. Aside from the fact that it is an unrealistic expectation that pupils from, say, North Berwick, should attend an evening concerrt in Glasgow, reference was made to increased pressures on today’s pupils expressed in the
press.