The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

78° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Renowned guitarist and music professor hosts master class for students

Noelle R. Haro-Gomez
Noelle R. Haro-Gomez / Arizona Daily Wildcat From the left, Kathy Acosta plays guitar while Carlos Bonell gives her a critique. Acosta is a junior at the UA studying guitar performance.

A renowned guitarist and professor from the Royal College of Music in London listened to a variety of student guitarists perform at a master class hosted by the Tucson Guitar Society in collaboration with the UA on Wednesday night.

When the Tucson Guitar Society booked Carlos Bonell to play a concert for Thursday night, it decided to also try to host a master class that would allow students to play for Bonell and receive feedback.

“We produce between four and seven professional concerts every year, and we always ask our performing artist if they will teach,” said Julia Pernet, chairman of the Tucson Guitar Society. “We put this on for the students and they pay a minimal fee and we pick up the rest.”

Students paid a $25 fee to participate in the class and perform in Slonaker House. Admission was free for any students who wanted to view the performances.

“I think it’s great, especially for us in the guitar department, to get knowledge from somebody who is from all the way around the world, who has a ton of teaching experience and a different point of view,” said Steven Lerman, artistic director for the Tucson Guitar Society.

The master class featured six performers who played a piece for Bonell and then listened as he went over it in a lesson-type format. Bonell gave suggestions ranging from creating a greater intensity in the performance, to asking certain players for better articulation with the guitar strings.

“It’s an honor to have him here and to play for him,” said Jose Luis Puerta, a second year doctorate student in guitar performance and one of the six performers.

At some points in his lesson, Bonell would pick up his guitar and play alongside the performer, in order to show them how they could improve. He also helped some players position their hands correctly on the guitar.

Students said that, after attending a master class, the performers should work toward improving their playing based off Bonell’s suggestions.

“After, you definitely start listening for specific things, like whatever you work on during the master class, definitely try to approach it in your practice time and make sure you fix the little things that they arranged,” said Kathy Acosta, a classical guitar performance junior.

Bonell discussed the advantages of offering advice to students who he had never met before, and commented on the high standard he saw in the performers.

“My overall advice is to keep going, because they all have such a high standard,” Bonell said. “It’s a pleasure to hear them play.”

Some of those who helped organize the event commented on the benefit of having a master class.

“Tucson is relatively a small town, so to get the best students in the world to come here to study guitar, you have to expose them to the best players,” Pernet said. “It’s an important part of having a performing arts degree to see what great performers do.”

More to Discover
Activate Search