Welcome! This page has been created to share resources, community events, videos and other information with anyone who may be interested in learning more about guitar. The content varies from information for beginning students to very advanced players. The page was created with my college and adult students in mind, so please monitor young students with content and links. I hope you find the page useful.
Explorations in Listening
American Guitarist and Composer Matthew Cochran performs his composition, "Two Young Fish," a piece inspired by David Foster Wallace’s essay This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life. The work is dedicated to Stephen Mattingly, who gave its premiere at Comstock Hall, University of Louisville (USA) on September 15, 2023.
Questions to Consider:
In what ways do you observe the literary inspiration in the music?
What other guitar works have connections to literature?
What are some examples of musical elements being used to express text in other works? For example, how might a composer express the idea of moving water?
Each year, Marlow Guitar International commissions three new works that serve as set pieces for the Myrna Sislen Youth Guitar Competition. The sheet music is shared with the public for free leading up to, and during, the competition. Visit the links below to download the scores for this year's works.
Composed by Dr. Olga Amelkina-Vera, the pieces are inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Here is an excerpt from the composer's notes for the works:
"In the Golden Gleam was commissioned by Marlow Guitar International as a collection of three set
pieces for the 2024 Myrna Sislen Youth Guitar Competition (Youth Division, 11 years old and younger;
Junior Division, 12-14 years old; and Senior Division, 15-18 years old). Though no requirement was
presented to me about grouping the three pieces as a set, I chose to tie them together into an interconnected
triptych inspired by “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. The title of
the entire piece is taken from the last few lines of the poem that concludes “Through the Looking Glass:”
Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?
The dreamlike, phantasmagorical world of the Alice books has always had a special allure for me, and
I enjoyed discovering musical ways of portraying my impressions of their images and moods.
In the spirit of introducing young performers to some of the common musical devices used by
composers, I included notes in the score when an important motive was inverted or retrograded, or
rhythmically augmented or diminished. The subject matter created many rich opportunities to use these
compositional devices to illustrate Alice’s adventures and transformations: growing bigger or smaller,
entering a mirror-image world, and living backwards, to name just a few. Below are some details about the
And, professional players, please do not assume the works to be only meant for students: the youth who participate in this competition play at a very high level.
Daily Scale Videos
You can practice your major scales along with me in these videos made for my beginning students learning notes in first position and key signatures. Goals include mastery of note knowledge, consistent use of first-position fretting-hand fingerings, right-hand finger alternation, and tone. The tempo is 80 bpm.
Basic Chord Switching Exercises for Group Beginner's Guitar Classes
Students who are learning to switch between basic chords while strumming can use these videos for daily practice.
Beginning General Guitar Method Book (free download):
Graded Classical Guitar Repertoire Series (for purchase):
Myrna Sislen MGI Youth Guitar Competition
*The sheet music for the set pieces is available to everyone for free download from the website
John E. Marlow Guitar Series Concerts - Silver Spring, Maryland and Online
Southern Guitar Festival and Competition - North Carolina
Baltimore Classical Guitar Society - Concerts and masterclasses
Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society - Concerts and festival