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.