The prime years of a guitarist

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Francisco
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Francisco » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:25 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:19 am
Francisco wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:02 am
Thank you very much for letting me discover this wonderful singer.
Francisco, where to you live?
Montreal
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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:50 pm

Francisco wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:25 pm
Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:19 am
Francisco, where to you live?
Montreal
I naturally assumed, because of your Spanish name, that you lived in the Western United States. I was going to recommend you to the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, where there is one of the best Russian (this one is actually Ukranian) Orthodox choirs. If you are ever near San Francisco, keep it in mind. I grant that it is a bit far from Montreal.
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Francisco
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Francisco » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:21 pm

I lived in San Francisco for 8 years, and my daughter was born at the pediatric hospital on California & Cherry, a couple of miles away from the church you mention. I still go there once in a while to visit, so next time am there I will keep your recommendation in mind and check if the choir has a performance. Thank you!
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Non Tabius
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Non Tabius » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:05 pm

I just keep telling myself if Uncle Andeas can keep cooking into his nineties so can I .There is a long way to go yet.I would not like to indentify when I will peak.Everday just brings new suprises subjectively.Objectively is another thing I suppose as others gauge your progress or non-progress.All I know is if I'm not moving forward I am in all probability going backwards , but never standing still as Frederick Noad tells us.Bk1

WilliamSchart
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by WilliamSchart » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:52 pm

Playing the guitar is partly a physical activity and partly mental. Our physical abilities do decline over time, so an older guitarist many not be able to play as fast as when younger, or may not be able to do material which is technically as demanding. But a guitarist can adapt by choosing repertoire within his abilities. There's plenty of good music which doesn't demand extreme technique.

An additional factor for the touring musician is the demands of constant travel, living out of a suitcase and the like.

StevSmar
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by StevSmar » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:00 pm

My first guitar teacher said, "If you can't play good, play loud".

I suspect that you could also say "If you can't play good, play fast"

Now I would rather play good than loud or fast...

This leads me to think that providing there is no physiological limitation, you should be able to keep getting better.
Regards,

Steven from Winnipeg

Gwynedd
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Gwynedd » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:04 am

If I had to guess "prime years" I'd say early 20s. By then, you've developed musical thought, as well as technical prowess. Depending on your education. I'm thinking several young guitarists of note I know. I have watched several young great guitarists give online classes and concerts and you can see and hear the brilliance. I had a class with a young French guitarist and his ease with the instrument combined with technical brilliance and musicality was definitely at a level that blew all of us away. We have concerts and salons for local guitarists, some of whom are at a well known music conservatory and one of whom placed in the GFA. I say the 20's are where it's at.

I'm taking up this "devil instrument" in my mid 60's. But I know my limits. Played piano for 55 years and my skill level is off because my hands have issues now-the concentration, memory and sheer technical skill are way down from my early 20s when I could do things that now I cannot do.

What I do have is patience and musical knowledge, so I plod away diligently but I know I cannot achieve what I could have at 16-22. Not giving up, however. I love the sound.

Rognvald
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:26 am

What are the "prime years of a guitarist?" If you mean technical prowess, there is no question that there is an athleticism of neural responses that are at their prime in the early years and diminish as one ages. However, "athleticism" is not musicality as is witnessed by young phenoms who burst on the stage with dazzling technique but are incapable of true musicality since they are emotionally and experientially immature in a musical and human sense. Have you ever noticed when these musical savants perform, they always play allegretto and seldom largo and impassionato? The brain dead audiences worldwide are attuned to this carnival approach to music as they are in their other entertainments and cry "maestro" to the little musical machines. One can have musical performance and not Art. We see it in the broad palette of guitarists playing today. A guitarist may be at his technical prime between 30-50 but may be emotionally, and spiritually incapable of producing meaningful music. Could Gauguin have painted with his inimical brilliance if he had not lived the tumultuous life that seasoned him as an artist? Could Thomas Mann have written the "Magic Mountain" as an unseasoned young writer? Could Beethoven have produced the soul-shattering compositions in a vacuum? Art is much more than technique and although technique is a doorway to some important music, it will never be the only ingredient to great art. The prime years of a guitarist, or any artist for that matter, is when he/she has evolved experientially so that the mechanics of performance transcends the written page to an expression of human emotion. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Francisco
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Francisco » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:28 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:26 am
What are the "prime years of a guitarist?" If you mean technical prowess, there is no question that there is an athleticism of neural responses that are at their prime in the early years and diminish as one ages. However, "athleticism" is not musicality as is witnessed by young phenoms who burst on the stage with dazzling technique but are incapable of true musicality since they are emotionally and experientially immature in a musical and human sense. Have you ever noticed when these musical savants perform, they always play allegretto and seldom largo and impassionato? The brain dead audiences worldwide are attuned to this carnival approach to music as they are in their other entertainments and cry "maestro" to the little musical machines. One can have musical performance and not Art. We see it in the broad palette of guitarists playing today. A guitarist may be at his technical prime between 30-50 but may be emotionally, and spiritually incapable of producing meaningful music. Could Gauguin have painted with his inimical brilliance if he had not lived the tumultuous life that seasoned him as an artist? Could Thomas Mann have written the "Magic Mountain" as an unseasoned young writer? Could Beethoven have produced the soul-shattering compositions in a vacuum? Art is much more than technique and although technique is a doorway to some important music, it will never be the only ingredient to great art. The prime years of a guitarist, or any artist for that matter, is when he/she has evolved experientially so that the mechanics of performance transcends the written page to an expression of human emotion. Playing again . . . Rognvald
We the old or almost old (am 62) must be careful not to engage in reverse agism.

Emotional maturity is a vague notion. In any case it is far from clear that (however one defines it) it would just keep improving indefinitely with age. The strawberry achieves ripeness, and at that point it begins to decay. Physical decay does not spare the mind after a certain point. A benumbing process does begin in old age that is responsible among other things for a soothing relief in the peaks of despair and depression experienced by some in the previous, “mature” decades.

In some cases, poetry being the clearest, the capacity to produce remarkable work reaches a peak at a pretty young age, and then it usually dries out quickly, as the belly expands. Exceptions exist but, in my experience, they are infrequent. There is a flame, a vigor, a freshness in the poetry of youth that does not carry on very long into maturity. The wise ones, when they see the problem coming, switch to prose, and some become extremely good at it, like Vladimir Nabokov.

It is true that musicality takes long to develop. It is notoriously absent in young children and even in many adolescents who can be otherwise prodigiously advanced in technique. But it is probably not true that musicality just keeps improving indefinitely. In some cases it may be very exquisitely developed by the age of 30.
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Steve Kutzer
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Steve Kutzer » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:47 pm

I imagine the great majority of world class musicians started at a very young age. In many ways you are of course not in your prime when you are 4 years old. But I think you are in your prime for the deepest learning. So somebody that starts at 4 may reach their prime performance years in their 20s. But that prime can stretch on from there for decades. You'll lose some speed, but gain experience and maturity that will reflect in your performance. But such a person needs to train properly so as not to damage themselves.

I always felt sorry for singers. That's a gift that doesn't age well at all.
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Rognvald
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:14 pm

"We the old or almost old (am 62) must be careful not to engage in reverse agism.

Emotional maturity is a vague notion. In any case it is far from clear that (however one defines it) it would just keep improving indefinitely with age. The strawberry achieves ripeness, and at that point it begins to decay. Physical decay does not spare the mind after a certain point. A benumbing process does begin in old age that is responsible among other things for a soothing relief in the peaks of despair and depression experienced by some in the previous, “mature” decades.

In some cases, poetry being the clearest, the capacity to produce remarkable work reaches a peak at a pretty young age, and then it usually dries out quickly, as the belly expands. Exceptions exist but, in my experience, they are infrequent. There is a flame, a vigor, a freshness in the poetry of youth that does not carry on very long into maturity. The wise ones, when they see the problem coming, switch to prose, and some become extremely good at it, like Vladimir Nabokov.

It is true that musicality takes long to develop. It is notoriously absent in young children and even in many adolescents who can be otherwise prodigiously advanced in technique. But it is probably not true that musicality just keeps improving indefinitely. In some cases it may be very exquisitely developed by the age of 30.
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Fransisco,
I don't understand terms like Agism. It smacks of political correctness and is not a valid concept in my opinion. And, to compare a strawberry to a person is also a difficult stretch for me since you are comparing an insensate object(a piece of fruit) to a complicated sensorium like a human being. It is not a valid metaphor to me but I understand the birth/life/death continuum at which you were aiming. Your above quote about poets is also an untrue generalization since the world would have to discount poets as Shakespeare, Eliot, Yeats, Goethe, Frost, Auden, and Rexroth among countless others who continued to refine and hone their poetic vision of the world until late in life. Those who write at an early age must rely on instinct rather than defined sensibilities based on human experience since, similar to the musician and visual artist, they take years to mature. Certainly, the poetry of Baudelaire seems infantile when compared to the mature Yeats or Frost but he can still be appreciated on a certain level. An exception might have been the Austrian poet Georg Trakl who died young with great talent but certainly had insufficient time to bloom. So, we as human beings cannot be codified like a piece of fruit because intelligent, creative people do not fit into neat orderly concepts of maturation and development. Finally, in regards to musicality, how is it possible for it to cease like a faucet that has been closed with a valve? I cannot accept these precepts since some of my friends are 2,000 years old(Caesar, Aurelius, Plato, Aristotle) and still speak with wisdom from the pages of their works. But, we are in agreement with your last statement and a perfect example is the great South American guitarist Yamandu Costa who, at a young age, has developed a style, technique and presence seen rarely on the guitar stage. I hope you enjoy. Muy sabroso! https://youtu.be/8nZ2V8k8ryQ playing again, Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Lysiane Chantre
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Lysiane Chantre » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:11 pm

:bye: ...I began learning guitar around 50, I am now 63, :chitarrista: so I improve my playing every day since, at the Musical School with my teacher, alone and with friends and intend to have a long time before me to get pleasure in playing. As somebody said, I am not a professional, so I can be "as cool as a cucumber" (or as I am in the South West of France, as cool as a melon !) :sage: . Marieh, on the french forum, proposes so many cute little pieces, and I find so many by myself that I have enough to work on for 100 years, :war: with interest in the styles, difficulties or rythms, and so on. Of course one day, I'll have problems, until then, I hope we will go on talking about the music that helps us living... :delcamp_fiesta: :cornet: :bye:

Francisco
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Francisco » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:59 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:14 pm
Fransisco,
I don't understand terms like Agism. It smacks of political correctness and is not a valid concept in my opinion. And, to compare a strawberry to a person is also a difficult stretch for me since you are comparing an insensate object(a piece of fruit) to a complicated sensorium like a human being. It is not a valid metaphor to me but I understand the birth/life/death continuum at which you were aiming. Your above quote about poets is also an untrue generalization since the world would have to discount poets as Shakespeare, Eliot, Yeats, Goethe, Frost, Auden, and Rexroth among countless others who continued to refine and hone their poetic vision of the world until late in life. Those who write at an early age must rely on instinct rather than defined sensibilities based on human experience since, similar to the musician and visual artist, they take years to mature. Certainly, the poetry of Baudelaire seems infantile when compared to the mature Yeats or Frost but he can still be appreciated on a certain level. An exception might have been the Austrian poet Georg Trakl who died young with great talent but certainly had insufficient time to bloom. So, we as human beings cannot be codified like a piece of fruit because intelligent, creative people do not fit into neat orderly concepts of maturation and development. Finally, in regards to musicality, how is it possible for it to cease like a faucet that has been closed with a valve? I cannot accept these precepts since some of my friends are 2,000 years old(Caesar, Aurelius, Plato, Aristotle) and still speak with wisdom from the pages of their works. But, we are in agreement with your last statement and a perfect example is the great South American guitarist Yamandu Costa who, at a young age, has developed a style, technique and presence seen rarely on the guitar stage. I hope you enjoy. Muy sabroso! https://youtu.be/8nZ2V8k8ryQ playing again, Rognvald
I don’t dismiss or discount anybody, you are putting words in my fingers that I never wrote. But actually, of the group of poets you mention, the only one I really care for (but his one, a lot) is Shakespeare, who supposedly wrote everything between the ages of about 30 and 50. Not too young but not exactly old either. Before that period in his life, he was supposed to have been some kind of horse attendant, I think, though practically nothing is known of about this person. He is believed to have written all his magnificent, prodigious stuff in the spare time between tons of business deals, acting and stage managing. Many scholars have reasonably expressed strong skepticism that such a thing is possible. I do believe it is possible, but only in someone who is “plugged” directly to some kind of muse, writing as if under dictation. That is the impression I get when reading him. His mind was a hive of words and nobody has ever written remotely like him. These kinds of inspirational trances usually happen to the young, I think?
But perhaps you have a point and maybe English poetry was generally practiced by more mature and sedate gentlemen like the ones you mention after Shakesperar, I don’t know. My impression from Spanish poetry is that many of the best were very good before the age of 30 or so, then not so good anymore.
Some extreme cases like Rimbaud were done before the age of 20 and stopped. It is understood that all these are gross generalizations.

The word agism is rather ugly, I agree, but this does not mean that the phenomenon it describes is purely imaginary. It is very real and very universal. There exists a palpable current of mutual contempt and hatred between the young and the old (among many other more noble feelings, no doubt). Try losing your job in your 50s or 60s and replacing it with a similar one and you will understand immediately what agism means. Or just revisit A Clockwork Orange for a more emphatic expression of this mutual bad blood.
I think strawberries are very apt organisms to describe the process I had in mind, but because they have a very short life in comparison with ours, the process is accelerated which helps for illustration purposes. The climax of a strawberry, in terms of taste, is attained right before it begins to rot, and this high point lasts only few hours. It is my favorite fruit. I know it well.
Well anyway, we are getting too far away from the original topic, so I think we shouldn’t pursue this poetry deviation any further.
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Gwynedd
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by Gwynedd » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:47 am

You may be right about age 25. I can't do on the piano what I did in my teens and 20's. Just isn't happening anymore. I pull out some Beethoven and look and wonder how the heck did I ever play that sonata. Of course, I don't practice so long as I did back then, and the guitar is distracting me. I'm using my free time (I have a professional job so it's busy) to learn guitar and I do devote an hour a day but it's all I have.

As to 20's, from the great guitarists I've heard this year, clearly the 20's are the prime time where finger speed, concentration and sheer energy are at their peak. For people who have studied since age seven, definitely. But just as in pianists, there is a musicality that can stand in for sheer technique and that comes with age. So Segovia, Bream, Parkening, Yepes recording when they were older are wonderful for the subtlety.

CactusWren
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Re: The prime years of a guitarist

Post by CactusWren » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:00 pm

Has Barrueco surpassed his Vox Box recordings? How old was he when he made those? 35ish?

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