In 1988-1989, I attended Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids Michigan, USA. In that same year, I decided to take my first guitar lessons. I was apprehensive: wasn’t I too old to learn an instrument? And also: I had tried to learn instruments before, like the drums, the clarinet and the recorder and, although I managed to gain some proficiency, the music lessons had never sparked particular interest in me.
I had told my college friend Mike of my desire to learn guitar, and he’d asked around. One day, he walked into the cafeteria of Grand Rapids Community College and when he saw me, yelled from a distance: “Hey, Emiel, I found someone who can teach you guitar! Shall I introduce him to you?”
And so, I met Chris, who indeed became my teacher. He lived in Grand Rapids and was at home in both acoustic and electric guitar styles. I thought I might learn some chords and popsongs, but in reality, Chris introduced me to classical guitar; something I had not been aware of until that time. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would develop such an affection for music and the guitar in particular. Right from the beginning, I began to practice arduously and made great progress. Though learning an instrument is a never-ending process, my initial fears proved unfounded: at 18 I was still able to learn an instrument, and unlike my previous music lessons, the guitar managed to ignite a spark of inspiration in me.
During that time, I began to listen to luminaries such as Andres Segovia. To me, he is unparalleled in terms of performance and expression. Whenever I hear his music, I’m always reminded of those first years of learning the guitar…