Their songs are soothing, nothing like rock n’ roll.
“It’s something absolutely different from any other instrument in the world,” says 18-year-old Gus Woodrow.
In just a couple months Woodrow will join the University of Arizona’s esteemed Bolton Guitar Studies Program. The program focuses on making classical music with the guitar. “In electric guitar there is a lot of work in one hand, but in classical guitar we’re using both hands,” says Director Tom Patterson. “Just like a piano, everything is moving.”
Patterson has been head of the program since 1980. He says the program typically has about 30 students, both graduates and undergrads. They come from all over the world.
Twenty-three-year-old Misael Barraza is a graduate student from Mexico. “There is some sort of challenge to playing classical guitar, which is beyond the music I think,” Barraza says.
Barraza and Woodrow typically practice seven to 10 hours a day. “When you’re practicing like 10 hours a day, you wake up and you really have to work to loosen up your hands,” Woodrow says.
It’s hard work that has helped the students regularly participate and win in national and international competitions.