Music building to get the axe


Northern Star file photo – Wesley Carr, 21 Rochelle, plays 17th century composer John Dowland’s, Frog Galliard, on his 1959 classical guitar.

By Connor Rice

DeKalb guitarists don’t have to study abroad to get a taste of world music.

The School of Music is sponsoring the All-Styles Guitar Day at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the music building. Guitar players of all types and ability levels are invited by Fareed Haque, associate professor of jazz and classical guitar studies, to participate in master classes, peruse artist and vendor booths and mingle with both renowned musicians and other students to expand their knowledge of what it means to play the guitar.

“I think, many times, young musicians feel isolated because they haven’t necessarily had the formal study that other instrumentalists typically had,” Haque said. “People pick up guitar because it’s cool … and they just start playing it however way they can. So, there’s a real disconnect between formal instruction on the guitar and the actual players of the guitar … I think it’s important that those people who haven’t had formal lessons learn to jam: learn to have fun with the instrument in a way that’s very natural and organic and important.”

Haque, who was named World Guitarist of the Year by Guitar Player magazine in 2009, has spent his career exploring, experiencing and incorporating countless styles of playing.

“One of the things I’ve always really believed in is trying to bring the many styles of the guitar together so that all guitarists can share…music and stories and information and just kind of hang out together and get to know each other,” Haque said.

Joined by friends and colleagues like modern rock guitarist Rex Carroll and jazz master Larry Coryell, Haque said that he aims to take that “world approach” to playing and give others the opportunity to surround themselves with alternative techniques.

“The educated guitarist and the uneducated guitarist both have a lot to offer each other,” he said.

The music building will also hold what Haque calls the “guitar fair.” Artists, amplifier builders and businesses ranging from Ax-In-Hand, 817 W. Lincoln Highway, to the nationally-recognized D’Addario string company will attend.

With so many opportunities to absorb new skills, Haque hopes to give players at the All-Styles Guitar Day a new look at the instrument. He expects “a couple hundred” to enroll, and he hopes more will show up.

“There’s sort of this jazz and classical ‘formal’ guitar world, and then there’s sort of the informal guitar world,” he said. “So, we kind of try to support this connection between popular music and so-called ‘institutionalized,’ serious music. I want to bring together the rock guys, the bluegrass people, the young kids and the jazz and classical players.”