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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UAMA hosts weekly guitar performances

    Alexander Plaumann
    Alexander Plaumann /Arizona Daily Wildcat Misael Barraza rehearses for Fridays weekly Guitar Area Recital (GAR) in the UA Museum of Art on Wednesday.

    Weekly recitals at the UA Museum of Art aim to prepare guitar performance students for an audience, while also providing a place for them to express themselves.

    Thomas Patterson, director of Bolton Guitar Studies, estimates that the recitals have been around for about 10 years, though the program recently began holding them year-round.

    “We have one of the best guitar programs in the world,” he said, adding that students in the program come from all over to participate.

    The students who perform in the guitar recitals are all performance majors. According to Kathy Acosta, a guitar performance senior, students are required to perform at least four times in one semester.

    “It’s nerve-wracking to perform,” she said. “It helps to be in that situation every single week.”

    Students sign up on a weekly basis, and spots are coveted toward the end of the semester, when senior recitals and concert competitions loom.

    Though the students sign up for recitals in groups, much of the actual performance consists of solo pieces.

    “When you’re performing, you can see what’s working and what’s not,” said Misael Barraza, a second year master’s student studying guitar performance. “When you perform, you’re on the spot.”

    Performance majors must work to overcome the stage fright that often accompanies performing in front of complete strangers.

    Bin Hu, a first year doctoral student in guitar performance, puts a more positive spin on it.

    “You are watching yourself,” Hu said. “You have to be in the position of the audience. That’s the hard part.”

    Zach Empkey, a guitar performance senior, said these recitals impact his performances in more ways than just forcing him to face stage fright and iron out mistakes.

    “They’re good for practicing performing,” he said. “Dressing up [and] sitting down in a concert setting gets you ready.”

    Patterson calls this process “smelting,” just like the technique used to draw metals out of ore.

    “We are removing impurities through the heat of performing,” he said.

    However, recitals aren’t just about students becoming comfortable with performing for a crowd.

    “We’re all trying to express ourselves,” Barraza said. ”We’re kind of quiet people.”

    During their performances, guitarists are “leading the audience to control their breath,” Hu said.

    “You know they are breathing with you and feeling what you want to say to them.”

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