My musical journey began when I was 18 years old after going to a gig given by 'Yes' the
progressive rock band at Birmingham Town Hall and being so inspired by the performance of
Steve Howe the bands guitarist I decided to have lessons on the Classical Guitar. In order to
continue my studies I had to take music theory lessons and as a result I gained a special
certificate for having passed in succession the 4 highest grades of the A.B.R.S.M music
All of my lessons had to be paid for by me and so from a complete novice and after only
four years of lessons I began teaching. By the time I was 24 I had passed all the music grades
(both practical and theoretical) starting at grade four with L.C.M (London College of Music) and
also A.B.R.S.M and it was a few years later that I passed a two part music Diploma with L.C.M
and I remember thinking that I was musically complete.
However I started to think about other musical styles and influenced by a pupil's words on this matter ("I'm surprised
you don't play the Electric Guitar") I became even more inquisitive, and so set about having Electric Guitar lessons. I was
fortunate to have found two excellent teachers one for Rock and a short time later one for Jazz, Blues & Funk to which I added Metal as my teaching demanded it, making five main genres in all and a total of eight teachers along the way.
The reason why I started to play other fretted instruments has been a natural progression for me because I have always wanted to play music on the instrument it was originally written for, and not just a case of one instrument fits all! This concept equally applies to other instruments as well, so for example some pianists prefer to play the Harpsichord and/or the Fortepiano for the sound of the modern Piano is too rich and resonant to suit the music of these earlier styles. Likewise I prefer to play Renaissance music on the Renaissance Lute, Baroque music on a thirteen course Baroque Lute, Baroque guitar music on a five course Baroque Guitar and 19th century guitar music on a period instrument.
This practice is now known as historically informed performance.
Modern research has found out that Early musical instruments are of a lighter construction and so in turn the timbre is much different as are the playing techniques. When I listen to a piece of Baroque Guitar music with its re-entrant tuning it sounds exquisite and light, but when the music is played on a heavily constructed six string Classical Guitar strung with nylon strings the music loses much of its charm and I find it doesn't sound musically 'right' to my ear.......it's like playing tennis with a cricket bat, too heavy.