Concert guitarist and recording artist Alice Artzt, whom Guitar International Magazine has called "America's best player," made her solo concert debut in London in 1969. Since then critics in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas have unanimously acclaimed her performances as a soloist and in concertos with orchestra. In duo, and in The Alice Artzt Guitar Trio, she has also performed widely in Europe, North and South America, and Africa with a number of other well known musicians, among them Harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, British guitarist Raymond Burley, Irish guitarist John Feeley, American guitarist Gregg Nestor, Swiss guitarists Michel Rutscho and Daniel Zimmermann, and Brazilian guitarist Paulo Martelli. She has appeared on TV and radio throughout the world, and has been on the juries of many international guitar competitions (CAG, GFA, Toronto, Segovia NYU, Rodrigo, and Alessandria). She studied guitar with Julian Bream, Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya, and composition with Darius Milhaud at Aspen Colorado. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University with a degree in musicology. Alice Artzt has made 13 solo records (LP or CD), and one with The Alice Artzt Guitar Trio: "American Music of the Stage and Screen". She has also written two books on guitar technique: "The Art of Practising" and "Rhythmic Mastery", as well as many articles on music in various magazines. She has taught in various schools, privately, and in master classes all over the world for the past 50 years. Presently she teaches privately in Princeton NJ
A former (very talented) student said this far better than I could have - here is her essay about me:
An Ardent Musician and a Passionate Pedagogue
By Jelena Ratkovic
“Imagine you’re Pavarotti and you’re singing a beautiful bel canto aria. Like this…” She sings the melody with dramatic dynamics and expressive phrasing, her deep, mellow, velvety voice resounding in the tiny room. “Add some oomph and razzle dazzle!” she exclaims fervently. Beneath bushy, fierce eyebrows, her piercing blue eyes twinkle with vivacity and enthusiasm. Her face, shining with dynamism and passion, is encircled by a wild halo of golden hair. Although seated, Alice is almost always in motion, gesticulating, gently swaying to the music and, even when completely still, her aura radiates unbounded energy and power.
Alice Artzt’s passion for music goes back to her childhood. She started playing the classical guitar as a teenager, after having studied the piano and flute for several years. She found her life’s purpose in the guitar and her love of music and determination to become an excellent guitarist were so great that she would bring her guitar with her to school and spend every moment she could, in between classes and during lunch, practicing in empty classrooms and closets. Even as a teen, she devoted at least six hours each day to her guitar studies. The many hours of practice, exceptional talent and most importantly, her dedication, made her a world famous classical guitarist, hailed by Guitar International magazine as “America’s best player”. She toured all around the world, immersing herself in various cultures and experiencing numerous memorable events, that have strongly influenced and shaped her personality.
Every moment and aspect of the lessons with Alice was truly inspirational and magical, including the setting and atmosphere. During the long ride to her home in Princeton, New Jersey, I would mentally go over the program, remembering all of the things we had worked on in the previous lessons and imagining the progression of the compositions. As we entered the driveway, I felt a tingle of excitement in my stomach. The overgrown and slightly wild backyard, in the shade of enormous oaks and pines, exemplified the beauty, power and calmness of nature. If the weather were nice, Alice would hold the lesson outside on the porch. The guitar would give off an ethereal sound as it echoed in the woods. Many times, our lessons were interrupted by little, adorable, black squirrels that would run up and grab peanuts from a bowl nearby or even from Alice’s hand! Other times, the lesson would be held inside, where the ambience was just as unique and interesting. The already small room was crowded with a miscellany of items through which Alice’s vibrant character shone. The walls were lined with shelves jam-packed with music, recordings, books and videos, including an impressive collection of Charlie Chaplin films - Alice is an avid Charlie Chaplin enthusiast and is considered an authority on his films! The little wall space not hidden by shelves, was covered by announcement posters of her various concerts around the world and signed pictures of numerous legendary guitarists. My mom would sit in the corner, beneath the gnarled branches of a large lemon tree next to dozens of beautiful stuffed toys. “They’re all listening to you,” Alice would remind me before I began to play.
The most important aspect of Alice’s pedagogy was that she always demanded, not one hundred percent, but two hundred percent of her students! For her, there was nothing worse than dull, monotonous playing even if all of the notes were played perfectly. Alice, as an ardent musician, felt all of the music with so much emotion and passion that it emanated from within her soul and passed on to the pupil. As a teacher, she stressed and demanded dynamic, colorful, enrapturing playing, encouraging creativity and personal exploration. Lessons with Alice were infused with wonderful anecdotes and memories that served to enhance the points she wanted to make about the music at hand. By the end of the class, the music sheets were covered in colorful markings, smileys (or sometimes frown faces), and stickers, that served to encourage or reprimand when I would practice at home! After having worked on a composition with Alice, it sounded nothing like it had a mere hour before. The motivating force of this was her personality and desire to pass on her knowledge. Her strength, dynamism, passion, and charisma inspired one’s imagination and creativity and helped motivate the students in their studies and increase their love for music. During the ride home, I would imagine all I could work on and improve over the week, absorbing every single comment of hers and hoping to impress her with my playing and improvement!
Several years have passed since I was a regular student of Alice, yet she still remains an extremely important person in my life. When I practice the guitar, I try to imagine what she would say, how she would sing the melody and feel the music. Her passion and strength inspire me in my studies of the guitar and I will forever remember her love of music, passion, dynamism and unbounded energy. To me, she is an inspiration and a role model, not only for the study of music, but also for how to approach life with open arms and enthusiasm. I can only hope that I will one day be able to influence my students the way she has influenced me!
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If they already can play, I get them to play something, and from that I can see if their technique needs to be improved. Then we decide on what music to work on or what exercises, etc etc - it depends very much on the student - what their level is already, or what needs to be worked on to get them playing better.
I have toured as a soloist all over the world since my London debut recital in 1969, have made many commercial records (LP and CD), taught privately, in conservatories, and in master classes all over the world for most of my life. I have a bachelors defgree in music from Columbia University, and have studied composition with Darius Milhaud, as well as studied guitar with Julian Bream, Ida Presti and Alexandre lagoya.
$70. an hour.
I started teaching students who were less good than I was, almost from the beginning of my own studies, and have been teaching ever since.
Everyone fron total beginners to virtuoso concert soloists who wanted advanced coaching for major concerts or competitions. I have also taugh a number of pop musicians who were proficient in rock, jazz, or pop, but wanted to branch out and get a better techinique for doing more complicated things with thir bands.
A Bernie Sanders rally.
Go to someone who has performed a lot and knows what they are talking about - knows anatomy (how hands and fingers and arms work naturally) and will get you playing in the best possible way, so that you will progress and improve, and don't get problems later or find yourself up against a brick wall at some future point. Unfortunately there are a lot of people around, teaching guitar, who do things in counterproductive or even dangerous ways. Don't just go to someone who charges very little and is sitting in the back of a music store who can't really play, but just teaches what he figured out on an amateur level. Such teachers may teach you bad habits, and generally will mean that later you will have to un-learn those bad habits if you are serious and want to play well. See my videos on YouTube for more info on this.
Tell me what their goals are - and also if they are further along than beginner level, then they should tell me what music they like and want to play. Also anyone who already is playing should bring the music they have been working on.