Guitar studies at Southeast focus on the Classical Guitar and the weekly lessons, Guitar Repertoire Class, and Guitar Ensemble deal with the classical repertoire. Guitar students at Southeast will study pieces for Renaissance lute; baroque music by Bach and others; the masterworks of Classical and Romantic guitarist/composers like Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, Johann Mertz; and the core Spanish repertoire by Francisco Tárrega, Isaac Albeniz, and others. Twentieth-century and contemporary solo/ensemble repertoire is part of our program, too. Our guitarists perform music by Heitor Villa Lobos, Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens, along with other modern composers.
Guitar Majors take the music history and theory courses required of all music students, but also have the opportunity to take several specialized courses just for guitarists. These courses include Lute and Early Guitar Tablature, Guitar Literature, and Guitar Pedagogy. The Music Department owns several Renaissance lutes, a baroque guitar, and a double-bass classical guitar and students have the opportunity in classes, ensemble, and in private study to work with these instruments.
While formal guitar studies feature the classical guitar, Guitar Majors at Southeast can also audition to play electric guitar or bass in the Department's jazz bands and combos. A number of our guitar majors also play in blues or rock bands in the area while others play classical and folk guitar sets on and off campus at open mike nights or in local coffee houses. In short, guitarists at Southeast keep busy as performers in a variety of styles and performance sites.
Students in the Music Department can pursue several degrees with guitar as their primary instrument.
Typically four to six guitarists are enrolled in the Music Department as Guitar Majors with about the same number of minors taking lessons and participating in Guitar Ensemble. When guitarists from Southeast have represented the Music Department at the Missouri Music Teachers' Association Competitions, they have taken the top prizes. Additionally, guitarists have also competed in and won the Music Department's annual Concerto and Aria Competition. On leaving Southeast, our guitar graduates have done very well professionally, and several have gone on to graduate studies and advanced degrees at prestigious institutions like the Peabody Conservatory, Northwestern University, and the California Institute of the Arts.
The Guitar Ensemble performs at least once per semester in a formal concert in the Shuck Recital Hall, one of the finest venues for classical guitar in the region. In their Junior and Senior years, Guitar Majors play solo recitals in Shuck Recital Hall. In addition, the Department sponsors regularly-scheduled Noon Recitals throughout the semester, and guitar soloists and the Guitar Ensemble often appear on those concerts. Both guitar teachers at Southeast are seasoned professional performers and students have the opportunity to hear them in concert throughout the year, as well. St. Louis and Memphis, both a short drive away, have active classical guitar scenes and Southeast guitarists often travel north or south to hear concerts and to attend or play in master classes. In short, guitar students at Southeast have the chance to regularly hear their repertoire played by their peers, their teachers, and touring professionals.