The Guitar: A Call to Arms, Fingers and Evolution by David Sikorski

Historically speaking, similar string instruments are evident in early Babylonian artwork circa 1800 B.C. The guitar as we know it today was birthed during the Renaissance Period between 1400-1700 A.D. To gain some perspective, in 1492 Columbus set sail from Spain to the Americas, DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa between 1503-1505, and in 1841 Adolph Sax invented the saxophone. The guitar was birthed from a period of social, intellectual, and cultural reinvention and subsequently the Renaissance period would serve as the bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern Era. The same attributes that define the Renaissance Period continue to resonate with the guitar. Today’s society and culture reflects a niche for guitar that has continued to gain in popularity, but is often overlooked and under-utilized in traditional institutions of music education.

So what actually motivates us the play an instrument? Davidson, Howe, and Sloboda (1997) report that the preliminary results of such a study suggested that “highly skilled professionals who are either known to young learners personally, or who have been heard or seen via radio, recording, or video can act as highly positive motivators to a child’s desire to learn a musical instrument.” (p. 200) From a practical perspective, the results do not seem difficult to understand at all. Much of the way we receive our information is through personal experiences and/or the various media outlets. The guitar is one of the most utilized instruments in current music, current meaning the last 50 years. I am writing this the day after watching the 2011 Grammys; arguably the most prestigious industry-recognized award a musician can receive. Most of the artists performing or receiving awards played guitar themselves or had incorporated it into their bands.

One might also suggest the aspect of popularity as a contributing factor for student involvement in music. Hal Aebels (2004) administered a questionnaire testing 653 public school students on their vocational interest. The most frequently chosen vocations were Parent, Teacher, and Basketball Player. The most frequently chosen music icon was guitar, followed by tuba and violin (Table 2). A proposed reason for the popularity of guitar amongst the younger generation, that seems taboo amongst the “elite” in music education, is the success and exposure of the Guitar Hero video game franchise. Topping 2 billion dollars in sales worldwide with 35 million games sold, the franchise has become the 3rd most popular in history. Obviously there is a distinction between entertainment and education but 35 million people pretending to play guitar is only an effective statistic and resource. In fact, I’ve not only had a number of young students make the transition to the real instrument after playing the game, but gain a general knowledge of the guitar and repertoire. A worldwide interest and positive perspective should only be utilized and not discouraged as is evident of guitar today amongst a majority of traditional public school music programs. Though Aebels’s (2004) study examines only a small section of students, the results still conclude that the guitar is the most popular instrument amongst students in public school. Continually, researchers have discovered a disconnect between the student community and the traditional curriculum. This disconnect not only results in the dousing of musical involvement, but even worse, neglecting prospective students the opportunity of a musical experience. Patrick Jones (2003) conducted a case study on this exact point specifically based upon the Philadelphia School District. “The disconnect between school and community musicing has had a detrimental impact on music education. Music education in the US colonies flourished when it supported amateur musicians and directly contributed to the life of the community” (p. 11). If music educators could harness a fraction of the 35 million people already interested in guitar, let alone the community in general, think of the possibilities for not only involvement in school music programs, but also the general conscious of the instrument

The guitar is an instrument that has the capacity, depth and reach to effectively educate current and prospective students of music. The birth and evolution of the guitar is equivocally authentic and traditional to the instruments that often overshadow its potential in traditional institutions of music education. Ironically, research suggests that the guitar may be one of, if not the most popular instrument in music today. From Andres Segovia and Bob Dylan, to Wes Montgomery and Prince, the versatility of the instrument is reason enough. The guitar truly is the renaissance instrument not only incarnated and reinvented in an infinite number of ways, but it can serve as the bridge between the old garb of standards in music and modern creativity and education. The instrument has the ability to span all genres of music, doubtlessly instill standards of music education, and provide a progressive avenue for a life-changing musical experience.

David Sikorski teaches Guitar this spring and coming summer.

Periodic Lectures on Design @ UArts – Tue Mar 1

Throughout the spring term, five leading design experts who illustrate remarkable and exciting approaches to problem solving and innovation are featured in a free, open-to-the-public lecture series held at the University of the Arts.

Presented by the Design programs at the University of the Arts and the University’s Corzo Center for the Creative Economy in partnership with DesignPhiladelphia, lectures take place on selected Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in CBS Auditorium (Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia).

Second in the series, on Tue, Mar 1, is:  “Design Thinking for a Sustainable World” with Susan Szenasy: Editor in Chief, Metropolis

Editor in Chief of Metropolis, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design, Szenasy is internationally recognized as an authority on sustainability and design and serves on the Center for Architecture Advisory Board. This global thinker brings the best solutions to light through publishing and international speaking.

“There’s a growing and palpable design energy in Philadelphia,” says Chris Garvin, Dean of the University’s College of Media and Communication. “Through programs like this, we want to foster design discussions that bring together the University’s design community and the creative and business innovators throughout the region.”

Recognizing the powerful skills designers have to address the challenges and opportunities of our age, the University of the Arts is offering students and the broader design and business communities the opportunity to interact with top design thinkers and innovators.

Admission is free, but seating is limited; register at corzocenter.ticketleap.com.

And stay tuned for the rest of the series:

Tue, Mar 29:
Matt Owens: Founding Partner, Athletics
“Creating the Collaborative Business Culture”

Tue, Apr 12:
Ellen Lupton: Curator, Contemporary Design, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
“D.I.Y. Career Paths”’

Tue, May 3:
Tucker Viemeister: Director, LAB, Rockwell Group
“From Designing Things to Designing Experiences”

For more information, contact Margie Gorman at margie@margiegorman.com or 856-979-3721.

Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space (MACAS) presents artwork by Philadelphia artist Alexis Granwell

Utilizing a variety of techniques and media, including painting, print and wall-mounted assemblage, the artist demonstrates her connection to place.  The work is as much about the performance of making as it is about the paradoxical tension between the use of fragile materials and the strength of the designs.

“Wax and Wane IV”, Alexis Granwell, courtesy CTRL Gallery, Houston TX Granwell is inspired by the cycle of decay and renewal in the urban landscape.  Using detritus from the city she assembles constructions that suggest new possibilities. Her prints incorporate the lines and patterns of topographical maps leading us to a visualization of a psychological geography.

March 5 – April 2

Opening Reception Saturday, March 5th, 6-9 PM

Gallery Hours: Saturdays 1-4 PM

Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space
MACAS
25 West Mt. Airy Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19119 (map)
(267) 270 2787

info@mountairycontemporary.com

Barry McGee

Barry McGee Installation view at UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2000. Mixed media. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy of Deitch Projects, New York + via Art21 (pbs.org/art21).

You have probably heard of San Francisco painter + graffiti artist Barry McGee (also known as TWIST) before, but I recently rediscovered his work and thought I’d share some interesting videos, interviews, and images I came across in my rediscovery…

Part 1 + Part 2: Art Talk! interview with McGee – animated/edited by McGee.

Beautiful Losers: clip from the film, featuring McGee.

McGee’s work at Deitch Projects.

Art21 ProfileEpisode: Place featuring McGee + his late wife, artist Margaret Kilgallan.

Philadelphia artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright‘s interview with McGee from Swindle Magazine.

Adobe User Group Kicks-Off 2011 Season

The Adobe User Groups are kicking off the 2011 season with a schedule of free events. One of these events, Adobe Illustrator, is in the city and another, Adobe Flash Platform/Flex/Air will be held in Glenside, PA.

Philadelphia Adobe Illustrator User Group/Event

Drinks, Design, & Drawing in 2011

When: February 23, 2011 6:30 PM – 09:00 PM

Where: Dark Horse Pub – 421 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia – (215) 928-9307

Agenda:

6:30 – Meet + Greet, Networking, etc..

6:45 – Get together to discuss what it is that you would like to see in 2011

8:30 – Raffle!

Flash: Mobile and Devices

When: Thursday, February 24, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Where: NEWGROUNDS.COM Headquarters

Note: Red brick building, approx. 3 blocks up the street from the Glenside train station, on the same side of the street as the train station. There is limited parking at Newgrounds office, but additional parking is available in or near the SEPTA lot. There is also plenty of street parking on Glenside Ave and Easton Rd. iSepta is a great mobile resource for train schedules.

Agenda:

Flash CS5 and iOS/iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Development

Flash CS5 and Android Development

Introduction to the Google Market and the Amazon App Store

Derek Wischusen on Flex/AIR and the Blackberry Playbook Tablet

Arpit Mathur on comparisons of Cocoa/Objective-C Development to Flash CS5/AS3 Packager for iOS

Dan Marcolina will be covering creating mobile applications with Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite and info about his new book iPhone Obsessed

Space is limited so, please RSVP here .

Design Business: Financial Design Discussion – Feb 24

Learn about business issues relating to starting and growing a marketing/design firm through this panel discussion on Feb 24, presented by AIGA Philadelphia (American Institute of Graphic Arts).   This event features experts in marketing, law and finance – as part of a continuing series of talks focused on the business behind design.

Bring your burning questions addressing the challenges of a growing business.  Moderated by Business Coach Brian Mattocks, the panel includes Susan Segal, Timothy Berger and Joe Haney, recognized leaders in the areas of marketing, business law and finance.  Each panel member will provide an executive summary of how their area of expertise intertwines with the challenge of growing a business. They will be available to field your questions to help your business grow.

Brian Mattocks, Founder of RentASmartGuy.com:
Brian Mattocks is the founder of RentASmartGuy.com, both a boutique consulting firm, providing professional business advice. Since founding the site in 2008, Mr. Mattocks has delivered business results for his clients through a combination of focus, clarity, and energy.

Joe Haney, Certified Financial Planner:
Joe earned a BA in Psychology from Temple University and a Certified Financial Planner designation from American College. He joined Wechsler Marsico Associates in 2007 where he dedicates the majority of his practice to working with professionals and small business owners and their families.  In addition to the CFP designation, Joe is certified in Long Term Care planning.

Susan Segal, President of Newkirk Communications:
Susan Segal is President of Newkirk Communications, Inc., a full-service, center city advertising and marketing agency. The agency serves a broad range of clients with graphic design, copywriting, branding campaigns, website design, PR and related services. In business for over 45 years, Newkirk has worked with clients in many different industries, both locally and globally. It has created campaigns for Nutri/System, Campbell’s Soup, Avis, Travelers, American Express and The University of Pennsylvania.

Timothy A. Berger, Partner in the Law firm of Paul, Flandreau & Berger, LLP:
Timothy A. Berger, Esquire is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Flandreau & Berger, LLP, and has maintained a private practice since he graduated from law school in 1994. His practice includes working with entrepreneurs, business owners and small businesses to help them succeed and prosper.

Design Business: Financial Design

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Light Refreshments 6:30 – 7:00pm;  Lecture 7:00 – 9:00pm

The Ethical Society of Philadelphia
1906 S. Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103

PRICING: $30 for non-AIGA members
$15 for students, non-AIGA members
$10 for AIGA members
Free for student AIGA members

Google's Love Doodle for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As you have probably noticed, Google creates interesting new versions of their logo to coincide with some holidays, events, famous birthdays and more.   One of my favorites was the interactive Google Pacman logo.

In honor of today’s celebration of love, Google has created a logo version of Robert Indiana’s artwork:

Based on Robert Indiana's "Love"


"Love" by Robert Indiana, Year: 1964. (First created for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art; put on an eight-cent US Postal Service postage stamp in 1973, the first of their regular series of "love stamps.")

Do you think the Google logo is successful?  Compare today’s version to other  Google’s Valentine’s Day Doodles through the Years.

And of course, as a Philadelphian, I can’t talk about this subject without noting that Robert Indiana’s sculpture is featured in LOVE park at JFK plaza in our city of brotherly love…installed during the Bicentennial celebration.

You can check out lots of Google logo versions for various holidays here.

Periodic Lectures on Design @ UArts – Tue Feb 15

Throughout the spring term, five leading design experts who illustrate remarkable and exciting approaches to problem solving and innovation are featured in a free, open-to-the-public lecture series held at the University of the Arts.

Presented by the Design programs at the University of the Arts and the University’s Corzo Center for the Creative Economy in partnership with DesignPhiladelphia, lectures take place on selected Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in CBS Auditorium (Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia).

First in the series, on Tue Feb 15, is: “Redesigning the Throw-Away Culture” with Tom Szaky: Founder, TerraCycle Inc.

TerraCycle upcycles trash into consumer products sold at the world’s largest retailers. Good-bye juice pouch; hello book bag! Szaky is an inspirational, award-winning entrepreneur whose company is redirecting our throw-away culture, with over 14 million people, collecting over 4 billion formerly non-recyclable items, in 11 countries. These recycling “brigades” have earned over $2 million for their schools and non-profits. Star of National Geographic Channel’s “Garbage Moguls,” Szaky left Princeton in his freshman year to pursue this grassroots, collaborative business model.

“There’s a growing and palpable design energy in Philadelphia,” says Chris Garvin, Dean of the University’s College of Media and Communication. “Through programs like this, we want to foster design discussions that bring together the University’s design community and the creative and business innovators throughout the region.”

Recognizing the powerful skills designers have to address the challenges and opportunities of our age, the University of the Arts is offering students and the broader design and business communities the opportunity to interact with top design thinkers and innovators.

Admission is free, but seating is limited; register at corzocenter.ticketleap.com.

Be sure to mark your calendars now for the rest of the series:

Tue Mar 1:
Susan Szenasy: Editor in Chief, Metropolis
“Design Thinking for a Sustainable World”

Tue Mar 29:
Matt Owens: Founding Partner, Athletics
“Creating the Collaborative Business Culture”

Tue Apr 12:
Ellen Lupton: Curator, Contemporary Design, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
“D.I.Y. Career Paths”’

Tue May 3:
Tucker Viemeister: Director, LAB, Rockwell Group
“From Designing Things to Designing Experiences”

For more information, contact Margie Gorman at margie@margiegorman.com or 856-979-3721.

MOPLA™ Month of Photography

The Lucie Foundation is holding its third installment of Fresh Look Portfolio Review April 29-30, during the Month of Photography Los Angeles. Fresh Look pairs photographers with top photography experts for an in-depth conversation providing feedback and critique in a relaxed environment. You can find the application form on the MOPLA website. The $50 application fee is being waived until February 10.

Fresh Look – Juried Portfolio Review – A stimulating and interactive review of your photographic work.

OPEN SUBMISSIONS FEE FREE FOR 10 DAYS! Submit your work from February 1st to February 10th with no submission fees. After February 10th, a $50.00 submission fee applies.

This is a juried portfolio review. Submiting to the review does not guarantee admission. If accepted, the fee to participate in Fresh Look is $250.00. 15% Discount if you are a Lucie Member. A juried review guaranteds a higher caliber of work shown to the Fresh Look Reviewers.