2021 Festival: Workshop, "Reading, Writing and Improvisation From the First Lesson" by Mark Johnstone

  • Sunday, April 11, 2021
  • 12:30 PM

Registration for all festival events can be completed HERE

Reading, Writing and Improvisation From the First Lesson

Many standard guitar methods begin with a simple exploration of the
first three frets of the first string. A well-known plan to introduce
rhythm and 3 notes, and then a similar introduction to the remaining
strings. Familiar melodies are introduced in each chapter as the
student is introduced to more notes to read...

I propose a more interesting, modern, and inclusive approach to
classical guitar: creating a solid foundation for the student to
understand melodic and harmonic function while building technique
into their own unique musical style.

Within a short time the beginning student will read, write, embellish,
and improvise a simple melody or bass line, understand and play
cadential formulas, play and compose chord songs, improvise on
standard harmonic progressions, and even compose and play a simple
canon on a number of time honored grounds.

I have developed this method over 30 years of practical teaching and
interaction with many expert colleagues in the field.


Mark Johnstone

Guitars & Lutes
Rider University
Westminster Choir College
Westminster Conservatory of Music

With over 30 years teaching and performing experience, Mark Johnstonehas seen a career spanning his native St. Paul, Minnesota, Denton, Texas, New York City, and, for the past 15 years, Philadelphia and Princeton. He holds degrees in History and Music from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and has pursued post graduate degrees from the University of North Texas and Hunter College in New York City.  A former Lute and 19th century guitar student of Pat O’Brien in New York, Mark has played continuo on baroque guitar and theorbo for I Virtuosi del Seicentoand Longa Minima (Tim Urban, Director) and 19th century guitar for Le Meslange de Plaisirs (Kathleen Scheide, Director). Mark has taught guitar for the University of North Texas, The College of New Jersey, Mary Louise Curtis branch of Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, and the Peddie School. He currently maintains a studio of over 60 students and three guitar ensembles for Westminster Conservatory of Music and two class guitar courses for Rider University. As a Board Member of the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society he is committed to help maintain a thriving classical guitar community through education, concert series, and festivals in Philadelphia and Princeton. His top students are consistently among the leaders and prize winners of local competitions and in the spotlight of their community.

In print for nearly 20 years, Mr. Johnstone’s Holiday Gig Book (Mel Bay 2000) has been reviewed by Classical Guitar magazine as “Immensely enjoyable... The arrangements stand out above the crowd.” For 5 years, until 2019, the Holiday Gig Book was used  as part of a celebration of the holiday season by The Guitars of Westminster (Mark Johnstone, Director) at the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion at Drumthwacket and Princeton’s Morven Museum.

Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society
Address: 2038 Sansom street - Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: +1 (215) 567 2972
Email: info@phillyguitar.com 

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