Member Spotlight: Dave Coleman

///Member Spotlight: Dave Coleman

Member Spotlight: Dave Coleman

We’ve just finished up grading our Grade Exam Submissions at CGC Academy and we thought it would be great to share with you the accomplishments our Academy members are making. Below is a Grade Exam Submission by Academy member Dave Coleman. This submission was for the Level 3 (now Grade 6) Exam and Dave did a fantastic job (and passed his exam of course). Below you can watch Dave play his repertoire performance along with an improvisation (one of the requirements for this particular exam submission). Congrats to Dave! Please share your congratulations with him in the comments below.





Here’s a bit more about Dave:

I started playing acoustic steel-stringed guitar when I was about 15.  I grew up on Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot—the whole 60’s folk scene.  Figuring out picking patterns to their songs was an obsession. (BTW, Gordon Lightfoot had a great lead guitar player, Red Shea.  He has since passed away, but at this stage in my life, if I could play like anyone, it would be him.) I played in duos, small groups, led singing for church youth groups, and pretty much played whenever and wherever I could.  My right arm is probably longer than my left because I was always carrying a guitar around.

In college, I majored in accounting for one year.  It didn’t take long for micro- and macroeconomics to convince me that accounting wasn’t my thing.  So, much to my dad’s displeasure, I changed my major to music, and there began my study of classical guitar.  Dad wanted me to work toward having a solid vocation, not toying around with a hobby. He eventually came around, though.  Dad wasn’t the most expressive guy, but in the reception line at my first college recital, he had a tear in his eye and gave me a hug.  I went on to receive a B.A. in Music Performance in 1976.

In the years after college, while I continued playing all kinds of guitar, my classical guitar playing was pretty much what I call classical-light.  I continued playing what I already knew, or could easily sight-read. While I still played a lot, mostly for pleasure and de-stressing from the day, I wasn’t really growing.  But music was always an important part of our family when our kids were growing up, and though they have kids of their own now, they have good memories of our times together and the role music and the guitar played.

A line to a favorite song of ours says, “The years have gone by too quickly it seems..”  And they have! After raising a family, working for over 35 years (I taught 5th and 6th grade), and just life in general, and now retirement, I found myself at a place where I wanted to get back into growing as a guitarist—or at least get back to where I was in college…maybe.  Two years ago I stumbled onto Classical Guitar Corner. I wanted something that would give me structured, quality instruction, and accountability. I joined in February of 2017 and was not disappointed.  It has given me everything I wanted and then some. It has helped to bring back the joy and satisfaction that comes from playing an instrument, and learning and growing.

Having just completed my Level 3 Certificate submission, I am resetting some of my short- and long-term goals and practice schedule.  Besides the never-ending battle with self-discipline and having consistent and effective practice times, I want to go back to some of the pieces I know and work on improving the musicality, and giving myself the freedom to experiment with dynamics in ways I haven’t before.  Also, I have never thought of myself as a composer, but I do enjoy arranging for the guitar and would like to do more of that in the future. To hold myself accountable to CGC, I have an arrangement of Fairest Lord Jesus I wrote about 20 years ago that I am currently reworking and would like to share at some point.

Long-term goals include first, besides taking my time with Grade 7, beginning or continuing work on several pieces that I have either been working on, or have been on my “someday” list for too long.  I’m in the process now of assessing which pieces will come off that list for this next year. Second, I want to find more opportunities to play in public. I seem to work better under pressure, so when I know an engagement is coming up, I have a greater incentive to prepare for it.  Third, (last?) just continue playing!

I love the guitar!  I have for over fifty years! I see it as the most complete instrument (ok, maybe due to its solitary nature, or maybe due somewhat to its portability.  I always envied the flute players in college because I had to lug my guitar around all day!). Whether in an ensemble, or on its own, I, as well as my kids, even my grandkids, can attest to the fact that music through the guitar has the power to impact lives, draw us together, and build memories.

2018-10-31T12:55:24+00:0028 Comments


  1. Judy Gordon October 31, 2018 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Bravo, Dave! That was very inspiring. I especially liked your improvisation!

    • David Coleman November 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Judy. I appreciate you reading and watching. :-)


  2. Christian von Kessel October 31, 2018 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Dave, congratulation on your achievement. I am about your age and level of playing and I still struggle with the discipline need to follow through with this course in a methodical way.:-)
    I find your notes on your personal situation very inspiring!

    • dave coleman November 1, 2018 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Christian. Self-discipline will always be a struggle. We can tweak it some, but we’re still human. That’s why this site is so great! It’s filled with people like you who will help to keep me and others on track!

      All the best with your guitar journey.


  3. Kari October 31, 2018 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Dave, it is such a pleasure to have you a part of the academy. Well done on your submission!! It was wonderful to listen to your concert again. And I loved your improv =)
    I can’t wait to see where you go in the years to come and listen to what piece(s) come off that wish list!

    • David Coleman November 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Kari! I’m excited that you’re going to summer school! I registered Sunday, and this will be my first time going. There are so many people on here that I feel I know, but have never met. And thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot!


  4. Mark October 31, 2018 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you Dave, as much for your beautiful playing, as for sharing your guitar journey with us. Can’t wait to hear more from you at Classical Guitar Corner Academy. Like you, the discovery of CGCA has been a wonderful experience for me. The carefully structured curriculum and outstanding instruction has really helped me progress, and the real bonus is getting to know so many other like-minded, wonderful students like you! Play on!

    • dave coleman November 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mark. I agree totally…this is a great site for all the reasons you mentioned!

  5. Richard Croad October 31, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Brilliant Dave. Although I heard your improvisation before, when you submitted, it is so awesome to hear it again, and again, and again… Best wishes… Richard

    • dave coleman November 1, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Richard. I truly appreciate you kind words. They really do mean a lot to me.


  6. Connie Gordon November 1, 2018 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Wow Dave, what an inspiration you are! Such beautiful music.

  7. dave coleman November 1, 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Connie, for reading and listening. I appreciate your kind words.


  8. W. Don Seaborg November 1, 2018 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Very nice, Dave! Looking forward to seeing that Fairest Lord Jesus arrangement.

    • Dave Coleman November 3, 2018 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      Don–thanks for listening. I’m trying to get the score and video up in the next few weeks. Hold me to it!


  9. Jane Steinmetz November 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Outstanding, Dave! Beautiful interpretation of all your chosen pieces and your improvisation was amazing! Well done!

    • Dave Coleman November 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      Jane–thank you for your kind words. They do mean a lot to me.

  10. Drew Burgess November 2, 2018 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Great work Dave! I enjoyed all of your pieces and the improvisation! I appreciate your comments. Your journey is a meaningful reminder of all that is good in life.

    • Dave Coleman November 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      Drew–thank you for listening and reading. Some of the events on the journey seemed insignificant at the time, but the longer the journey, the more important we discover they are.


  11. Lynette Rhodes November 3, 2018 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Hi Dave, your love of the Guitar certainly came through in your playing. So much expression and feeling in your pieces and your improv gave me goose bumps. You have inspired me to keep on keeping on. Congratulations on your submission.


    • Dave Coleman November 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      Lynette–thank you so much for your kind words, and the encouragement to keep on keeping on. We all need that!


  12. Graeme November 4, 2018 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Wow Dave! This was so awesome to listen to and see how well you are doing. I was blown away and so inspirational for me to see as I tackle these same pieces you have done so great with. It never ceases to amaze how we fall in love with the guitar and how we get drawn to classical. Thanks for sharing your achievements and hope to keep watching as you go the next level. I will watch again whenever I need a pickme up :D

    Great stuff man!


  13. John November 5, 2018 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Wow Dave, I signed up for my course only 5 days ago, you my friend have certainly given me inspiration, if I can aspire to that level I will be well pleased with myself excellent stuff.


  14. Marg Sherringham November 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Dave, you’ve obviously put in a lot of diligent practice to prepare your pieces, you played beautifully.

    I enjoyed the lightness of your improvisation too. I think for many of us who play classical guitar, improvisation is the missing link. Very inspiring, Thanks for sharing your playing, and notes on your background with us.


  15. Joseph November 6, 2018 at 11:08 am - Reply

    HI Dave,

    Awesome and inspirational! Not just your certificate submission, but also your life story. Thanks for sharing. —Joseph

  16. Julie Watson November 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    HI Dave
    Wonderful to enjoy your submission again – and when you write about bringing back some repertoire, learning things off the ‘someday’ list, arranging pieces and playing in public, I’m thinking – did you steal into my head and extract the exact same things??? I look forward to hearing your arrangements and your pieces coming off the ‘someday’ list! -Julie

  17. Gino November 11, 2018 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Hi Dave! Wonderful playing! I had not the chance to follow the submissions this time, I am glad you were put in the “spotlight”! You did very beautiful things! I look forward to hearing more from you!

  18. Ken Pendleton November 21, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Dave:

    I just watched your wonderful submission. . . nice job and so inspiring. As an older guitarist, I admire your playing and can only hope that I can follow in your footsteps.

    Thanks for your love of the guitar and its music.

  19. jenny swad December 14, 2018 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    So nice! I love that you don’t have to look at your left hand.
    Great to hear what level 3 contains. Beautiful.

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