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Guitar Concert Insights
On June 24th we celebrated a memorable guitar concert at Wollongong’s Cathedral St Francis Xavier with Hugh Fraser on Bass.
This Wollongong Church has very good natural acoustics. From the stage, while I was playing I could feel how the guitar was filling up the room and the bass reaching to all the corners of the church without experiencing echos nor excessive reverb.
The concerts served as a presentation of my new guitar school in Wollongong where I offer guitar courses and lessons, to those guitarists who wish to explore their natural talent, and uniqueness through their creativity, in order to shine and feel good about life.
What a treat it is to be playing back in Illawarra. I was born here in Wollongong and studied at St Francis Xavier Primary School. I actually started playing the guitar here in this church. So 50 years later I am back and this time enjoying the crowd and the experience alongside the legend Hugh Fraser on Bass.
How I organize my guitar concerts
The concert lasted for 90 minutes and it just got better as we played along. When I start my guitar concerts I always try to play with alot of space to allow the audience to relax and get accustomed to the intimate sound.
My guitar concerts are dialogues with the audience. I talk to them musically and they listen. I can feel if what I play is understood and react in accordance. If I was to compare music to the spoken language, I am sure we all know when someone is listening or not listening to us, and in music this sensation is even more intense.
I perform in the jazz idiom. This doesn’t mean I play swing but I develop all songs in an improvised manner. This allows me to flow and connect with the audience in a sincere fashion.
Therefore I practice all my concerts with this objective. My guitar concert preparation is unique to my form of expression. When I practice I play the whole concert every day for weeks on end.
My guitar repertoire is very extensive and I chose what to play on the day as this allows me to perform with even more sincerity to the audience.
My main challenge is always to not withhold myself, not to judge myself, but to flow with what I feel sounds best. I find it crucial to point out that whenever I ask myself if the audience is liking what I play then I start losing the flow.
I have to always be in the give mode and avoid all judgment. In this manner my creative ideas flow, I feel good and I’m able to transmit my emotion to the audience and they can reciprocate in any manner they wish.
In summary I could say my daily music practice routine is more about how to share music and my emotions rather than the what.
Guitar Technique Practice
Don’t get me wrong I also have to warm up every day with technique but the objective of such is not only to achieve speed but to make sure my brain is in sync with the tempo flow.
As guitarists the music ideas have to flow before we play them. My guitar practicing technique therefore always focuses on achieving precision and speed but the sound has to be in my head the split instant before I place the finger down.
This form of practicing allows me to save a lot of time in playing and to focus more on the overall consequence of well being.
Music is not really about impressing anyone as this form of playing and studying can quickly lead to a boring attitude in life. From early stages I always ask my guitar students to be in sync with what they hear.
So the aural training in my guitar school here in Illawarra is focused not only on recognising the sound but knowing where that sound is on the guitar. The student avoids guessing and from the initial stages focuses their learning on applied aural training.
“Very entertaining and personal. Lot´s of compassion in the music.”
Virginia Jane Rose
“Love the flamenco caminando, the music from Murcia, the classic pieces, your own composition and the popular songs. I especially enjoy the range of feelings and your virtuosity playing.”
“Awesome Thomas. That last one about your mum was great. I also loved Nostalgia, Hallelujah and the march before the bullfight.”
“Beautiful. You deserve a bigger audience.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Thomas´s playing and also that of his cohort Hugh whose bass playing gave depth to the pieces in which he participated. I also enjoyed learning about the origins and meanings of many of the pieces.”
“A lovely intimate concert in a beautiful setting. It’s good to hear the stories behind the song, from the artists themselves. It feels like a private performance where you can lose yourself in the music.”
“Tremendous variety of guitar sounds. Amazing dexterity and emotions. Thoroughly enjoyed the concert.”
Double bass- amazing dexterity. Very clear and perfect duo work.”
“Very relaxing music. Professionally presented.”