CGC 029 : Bret Williams and the Classical Guitar Insider Podcast

//CGC 029 : Bret Williams and the Classical Guitar Insider Podcast

CGC 029 : Bret Williams and the Classical Guitar Insider Podcast

Bret Williams is a classical guitarist with a story. A story that he shares twice a month on his engaging podcast: Classical Guitar Insider.

Bret was actually the first person to get me interested in the podcasting medium and he has done a wonderful job of uncovering the personalities behind the instruments. After more than 80 episodes I sat down and talked to Bret about his show and audience. It didn’t take too long, however, until we started delving into the complex topic of sustaining a life in music. Bret talk candidly and with experience about the reality of living a life in classical music. The joys and the frustrations that are part of a lifelong vocation.

Thanks to Bret for coming on the show. If you would like to find out more, and tune in to his podcast (highly recommended) you will find all the information at:

2016-10-24T00:19:44+00:0012 Comments


  1. Wilson June 13, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Hey Simon,

    That was one of the most enjoyable podcasts that I’ve heard in a long time. You and Bret have such a wonderful synergy that I almost wish that both you hosted the same podcast. Bret is a wonderful interview, and it was so refreshing to hear him be so candid about the ups and downs of being a classical musician or just a musician in general. I am one of those 40 something amateurs that Bret mentioned during the podcast, and listening to both of your podcasts is both highly informative and as well as entertaining. Hats off to you both for putting so much time and effort into what I feel are very worthwhile endeavors.

    • Simon June 13, 2016 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Wilson. I too felt there was something special here and it turned into more of a conversation rather than an interview. Bret and I are friends so perhaps we will do some more collaborations in the future.

  2. Jan Mollitor June 13, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    I listened to this podcast with great joy. As a chemist who I am, it was very interesting for me to take a lock inside the life of a musician – the ups and downs and the unique priceless”intellectual currency” which gives so much satisfaction.

    thank you for providing this podcast for us!


    • Simon June 13, 2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Jan, you are very welcome and I am glad to have given you a little insight. Everyone has their own story but I think there are a lot of truths in this conversation. See you in the seminars!

  3. Susan June 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Great podcast! As someone with an MFA who would not do it over again, I found it really interesting to hear the honesty and candidness that Bret provided. All in all I like the educational podcasts a little more, even though I barely understand what they’re about! ;-)

  4. Michele June 17, 2016 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Simon, listening to this episode was a beautiful experience. It was the most honest account I’ve heard in a long time, it felt like a raw poem, a stolen gaze at a life I was this close to choose long ago. Thank you and thanks to Bret.

  5. Linda Tsardakas June 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Great talk, very honest and down to earth. I have long thought that an international career does not have to do with talent alone. There are so many excellent “regional” guitarists out there and yet only a few become well known enough to earn a living by being on stage. Must it also have to do with marketing or even with just luck? Luck meaning being – or playing – in the right place at the right time to be “discovered”.

    Thanks to both of you for these interesting insights for all of us amateur players.

  6. James Huckson June 19, 2016 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Thank you Simon and Bret. A wonderful podcast. Honest, raw and heartfelt. As a 50 + amateur player with a day job, and a family, I look at you guys and occasionally think ,”Wow, I wish I could have a life like that!”. However, I am so grateful for having the life I do have especially with people like yourself continuing to inspire me and thus contribute to my life being what it is! Thank you for those ‘ripples’, Simon.

  7. Mark Rose June 19, 2016 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    This was a very raw podcast. My spouse recently got her BA in flute performance and not once did the school really note to the students in her curriculum that there was little chance for a sustainable “career” in music. Also, the caliber of students in her program was similar to what was noted in the podcast with few hotshots if nay. It is sad times indeed but what is really different now than it ever has been in the music industry? Starving or struggling musician is not a new term by far. I agree that in the music business one has projects – it is also like that in the life of technologists as there are no guarantees for a career in anything except undertaking and sanitation.

  8. Linda Tsardakas June 19, 2016 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    To add to Mark’s comment…perhaps undertaking and tall collectors?

  9. Linda Tsardakas June 19, 2016 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    oops…TAX collectors

  10. William R Jones June 20, 2016 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Interesting topic that applies to thousands.

    I was fortunate to have a long enjoyable career as an engineer. While working as an engineer I spent years attending art schools to learn drawing/painting. The schools I attended did not issue diplomas but were taught by painters who mostly made a living painting. Nearly all needed to supplement their income via teaching. I remember drawing from a model one class and asking the woman next to me why she was taking this class. She replied she had recently received a BA in “Studio” art from one of the University of California campuses. When she applied for work at Disney Studios they told her she needed to learn to draw. Thus she had a degree that should have indicated skill in a field that would have a basic requirement of drawing but couldn’t draw. One has to give careful consideration when choosing a career in any of the arts whether to spend the very large sums for an academic degree or to invest considerably less and learn the actual skills necessary to produce art. A firm looking for an illustrator would not ask to see a diploma. They want to see your drawings. “Oh, well I only do stick figures but I do have this MA degree from Harvard, will that do?”

    For a short period I took guitar lessons from a USC classical guitar PhD student. At the same time my daughter was in the USC school of medicine. The tuition was about the same for both students. Although now carrying a serious burdensome debt, as a physician, my daughter will be able handle the payments (and after 10 years of working for non profit hospitals – the remainder of the loan is to be forgiven). I wonder how difficult it will be for a classical guitarist to pay back $200K+ in loans?

    The teaching model you are now developing can be the equivalent of the atelier art schools where students learn from a master. They don’t get a degree, but learn a skill to make a living at art.

    I think you are on track to be of great benefit to many students. Even if few ever make a penny from performing, many will have an enhanced life. Drawing, painting, sculpting, music can give moments of great satisfaction and joy. Of course they also bring many hours of frustration and almost no one wants to help pay for your joy or frustration.

Leave A Comment