March 2018 – Jonathan Leathwood Residency

Victoria has been very lucky to have Jonathan Leathwood for three days of private lessons, a masterclass, and a lecture. His empowering teaching style had both the participants and the observers leave the classroom inspired and enriched on many levels.

Mr Leathwood’s  talk on practice strategies to build reliable long-term schemata through improvisation and the “moving target” principle (among a few other fascinating ones), sparked fresh enthusiasm in the audience. As rumors have it, some of the guitar students sprang to their instruments following the lecture and started “re-living” their pieces, enjoying their newly acquired creative freedom. One was encouraged to detach from the addictive “hammer-it-in” approach and the written score and instead explore pieces more deeply on both the physical and mental levels. This approach involves acquiring first and foremost, the freedom of general physical movement pertinent to the given piece, with consequent gradual gaining of accuracy on the fretboard in accordance with the score. The concept of varying and choosing your target on the fretboard aids physical comfort at the instrument as well as yields a unique improvisatory experience. The mental exploration results in a thorough understanding of harmony and rhythm, intervallic structure, texture – all those things one finds in a music theory textbook and tends to dismiss on account of performance preparation stress.

Examples were given from Britten, Carter, Bach, Brouwer, and Sor.

Thank you, Jonathan, and come back!