From September 27 to October 4, The 28th All Japan Guitar Concours '98 was held by Japan Educational Guitar Association (NKG) and International Guitar Orchestra Association (IGOA). This large scaled concours consists of 9 sections such as solo, ensemble, orchestra, conducting, arrangement, composition, education, guitars & mandolins, and guitar manufacturing.

Following is a part of the impressions and advice of Dr. Hiroki Niibori, who is a president of he both associations and one of the judge of the concours.

* About "Education Section"
This section is not active now and it's hard to hear about musical events that place importance on the educational activities in and out of Japan. But I believe it's a very important and fundamental field for the coming century. We Niibori Group have a solid method also for education, and lots of instructors and future instructors at Niibori Academy study and research it together every night and day. Therefore, this concours must be the highest level in this field i the world. I hope that someday, lots of PROFESSIONAL instructors would improve the guitar music world in cooperate with each another.

Instructors should teach not only guitar technique but a philosophy that supports students' basic sight about music. Students need to have a creative sense of value about their lives with music. To be a genuine musician, it's necessary to have various experiences and spend worthwhile life. Even if how excellent technique, school background, carrier and knowledge he has, performance without human love would never move audience's hearts. Players on stage are watched by everyone in a hall. Instructors should teach students how to express music using his whole body in addition to the manner and proper costumes on stage. That is the contemporary ideal education method.

"Education" is not to teach right or wrong, and black or white. It's not sufficient to teach what an instructor know at that time. Good instructors always try to study and catch up with the news in the music world, because it's making progress everyday.

Well then, what is "education"? That is leading a horse to a river. It depends on the horse if he drinks water or not there. "Education" is not to give an answer but process. It means that a process itself to go forward step by step together with an instructor and a student. To give an example, an instructor is not a scholar but a director, and a student is an actor on stage. Even if a student is feeling sad, he should play pleasantly while he is playing a pleasant music, and an instructor should lead a student to be an entertainer who makes audience smile. That is a criterion of this section.

* About "Orchestra Section"
< For groups that made a mistake to choose a piece >
When you request someone an original piece, you must make sure that the composer or the arranger has a sufficient knowledge about a guitar orchestra in addition to the musical theory. To make full use of a highly developed guitar orchestra, a composer or an arranger should be familiar with each guitar's characteristics and efficiency. For example, the alto or the cembalo guitar's playing position of the right hand influences music very much. Therefore, you should be very careful when you request an original piece.

Also, the formation of an orchestra is a key point for a successful performance. If the formation isn't well-balanced, some parts may be lost (In this year's concours, there were orchestras that arpeggio in the middle range was lost and couldn't reach to the audience), or can not make full use of each guitar's strong points. And if you add other musical instruments thoughtlessly to make your orchestra scale larger, you'll loose the attractions peculiar to the guitar orchestra. Maybe, the orchestra's sounds become noncommittal neither classic or popular.

And if you compose or arrange music by yourself, you should have meetings with people who know the guitar orchestra music very well, and play it actually again and again. Even matured composers like Mr. Masaaaki Hayakawa, Ms. Reiko Arima and the late Mr. Urato Watanabe who have been composing original pieces for a guitar orchestra for 20 years, have minute meetings and rehearsals repeatedly to complete music. Of course, other composers and I always complete music as actually playing with an orchestra. Recently, we see lots of orchestras that add percussion and failed. Adding percussion or chorus is wrong? No, if anything, it has many possibilities in the future. But be careful to keep a guitar orchestra's beautiful sound. Of course, pay attention to formation, breathing method and conducting.

Please refer to books and video tapes, and attend lecture and seminars positively. They'll give you good hints to improve your guitar orchestra.

A video lesson of a guitar orchestra and conducting, and special scores for a guitar orchestra are available if you become a member of International Guitar Orchestra Association (IGOA). The first general meeting of NKG and IGOA will be held on January 6, 1999 in Tokyo. We will surely welcome your visiting if you are interested in it.

For questions, advice & requests about Monthly Harmony,

Niibori Guitar Music Academy, Editorial Office

143-14 Fujisawa, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken,
251-0052 Japan
Phone: +81-466-23-8338 / Fax: +81-466-23-9337

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