Open Letter 09/29/1997: To My First Classical Guitar Teacher
You were my very first formal classical guitar instructor. In those days, it was very hard to find anyone who taught CG, much less knew anything about it at all. You were a rare jewel, for you were also a woman. I have wanted to somehow contact you after all these years, but I can’t even remember your name. You taught me from early 1970 – mid 1971 while I was in high school. Because I had already taught myself how to read music, and could play most folk songs - and my Dad had taught me scales and chord structure - you introduced me right off to the Carcassi Method for Classical Guitar. What a serious looking book! Written in both Spanish and English with lots of words and concepts I had never before encountered!
You were not much taller than myself, with short blond hair. I think your parents owned the little music shop where you taught lessons. It was the Boulder Music Store on Pearl Street – the shop with the big blue eighth-note neon sign on the front. It’s still there, but it’s changed hands many times over since our little lessons were conducted there.
You told me the names of those you had studied with, but to my teenage ears names meant nothing. It was your kind approach, soft spoken lessons and beautiful music which turned me on to the world of classical guitar. You taught me the joy and dignity of playing in classic position with my foot perched atop a coffee can! I especially remember you helping me with a poetry project I had in school where I wanted to make my own anti-war statement. Using the Walt Whitman poem “Oh Captain, My Captain!” as source material, we came up with a CG accompaniment utilizing basic Em-Am arpeggiated chords. You made sure I knew it was my very own composition! When I did my presentation - dramatically narrating the poem to my CG background with (now historic) magazine pictures mounted on poster board of the scenes in Vietnam - I felt proud.
You went away that summer between my junior and senior years in high school. You were to marry a man stationed in the Carolinas somewhere, newly drafted and soon to be deployed to Vietnam. And ever since then I wondered about you, if you kept up with your first love, the classical guitar. Maybe you even got on the faculty of some prestigious University. Hopefully, you’ve had a happy life.
I have always wanted to thank-you for all you did to nurture my first forays into the world of classical guitar. I think you'd be proud of me. Not because I am anyone famous or great, but because you'd recognize the method of love I use in teaching others about our common bond: the classical guitar.
PS- If anyone recognizes this person, or this person is you,I'd love to hear from you.