Begin with the Creative…
Seattle Circle Guitar School Mission Statement
The Seattle Circle Guitar School is a nonprofit music school devoted to opening the door to the creative process for children and adults, regardless of previous training or experience. Our approach emerges from the knowledge that learning to play music together contains endless possibilities for growth, and that the experience gained through this process develops skills that are essential.
Music Instruction Turned Inside Out
We have turned traditional musical instruction on its head. We begin by immersing students in a musical environment where they are composing and experimenting on their first days in class. The master musician is able to play and have fun while calling directly on the Muse. We treat the children as if they are master musicians and gradually build in the skills needed to actually move toward this goal. We introduce skills as the child recognizes the need for them: my pick keeps falling out of my hand! Well, let’s take a closer look at how to hold the pick, then. If we can remain in contact with this spirit of exploration and play while developing skills, then our journey is joyful and we remain in contact with the spirit of music.
Working within the guitar circle, we open the door to a world where learning is a meaningful inquiry. Once we have a taste of this playful and joyful spirit, then any musical pursuit is enriched.
Our Approach Is Experiential
Music is primarily a collaborative activity, and the skills we develop in the process have far reaching application. We learn by doing, by failing, by doing again in the light of what we have learned. What we experience is ours, and cannot be taken away or forgotten. It informs us as we look ahead to where we want to go, and helps us to see for ourselves what we need in order to get there.
Make This Sound
The Seattle Circle Guitar School works within the oral tradition of music, engaging our students with the actual sound and feel of music as presented by practicing musicians. Throughout history and in every culture, musical education has been transmitted through apprenticeship. Music is best learned by being around musicians, listening to and playing with musicians.
Engaging The Whole Body
Crucial to our enjoyment and long-term participation in music is how we use our bodies – if it is physically hard, uncomfortable or painful to play, we won’t have fun! The SCGS faculty has a strong background in Alexander Technique. The aim here is freedom and relaxation in the body; release of unnecessary tension; engagement and direction of attention; and the ability to respond to each other, to the situation, and to Music itself.
The Guitar Circle
The Guitar Circle embodies a new approach to guitar instruction and music-making as developed over 25 years in Guitar Craft, which was founded in 1985 by Robert Fripp. When a group of people sit together in a circle with guitars, something happens which does not happen any other way, and we can get a glimpse of something magical.
“I wish I had had the opportunity to play this way when I was a child…they are learning how to play cooperatively, listen carefully, and have fun playing together!”
-Marian Wagner, 3rd grade teacher, Salmon Bay School
“This has the potential to change the face of music education in the schools.”
-Kathi Bulfin, Educational Director, KapKa Cooperative School