This Masterclass was recorded by the BBC at Bream’s house for their Masterclass Series in 1978. Unfortunately all I have is a video recording direct from the TV. Hence the low quality image!

I believe there were 6 students playing in the recording, and we were informed by the producer that there would be no break in filming between each player – so no chance to warm up!! I was freaking out, as I couldn’t imagine sitting still for a couple of hours then getting up stone cold and playing any piece well, let alone something as technically difficult as Sevilla! Wow was I lucky, as the person before me had to catch a plane, so filming stopped while he left and it was decided that would be a perfect time for a cigarette break!  So I managed to get a 10 min warm up after all. 🙂

I think my biggest learning curve from this lesson was actually when I was able to watch the recording on television. I had never heard myself play before, and one thing I have noticed consistently through the years is how different a piece sounds to your ears as you play it, to how it is received by the listener. What I mean by this is that the intention you have as you play a phrase (and what you hear as you play) is often not how it actually comes across. The depth of feeling I had for Sevilla did not come across – it was definitely too agressive – yet it didn’t sound that way to me at the time. It was much easier to take in Julian’s comments when I could sit back and listen to myself objectively.

So my advice would be to always record yourself and listen to how you actually sound, and not how you think you sound! Then you can adjust your performance to have the effect you intend!


Practising Tips

Practising Tips

A great way to practise a difficult left hand chord change which includes a change in postion (eg from 1st position to 5th) is to separate it into 2 distinct moves. I advise practising each step carefully before moving on to the next one.

  1. Change from the 1st chord shape to the 2nd, staying in the same postion (eg stay in 1st position for both chord shapes). This may sound very strange as the 2nd chord may sound terrible without the change in position (especially if open strings are involved), but it makes you very aware of exactly what each finger needs to do to make the change.
  2. When the change becomes more fluent, change the chord (again in the same position) and then ‘slide’ the fingers into the new postion. This involves 2 steps. Change chords 1st – then slide to the new postion.
  3. When you have tried this a few times it becomes a simple step to rearrange the fingers simultaneously AS you change position on the guitar.

I can guarantee that after a few of days practising this way, the change will become fluent!

Cheryl Grice

Welcome to the official new website of Cheryl Grice!

After many years of juggling performing and raising a large family of very strong individuals, 2011 saw my return to a full time music career touring with the New Zealand Guitar Quartet. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed performing with these very talented guitarists, the experience also served to crystalise for me where my heart and my gift truly lay as a musician, which is in being able to express myself spontaneously in the moment, with what I am feeling in my heart and my soul. So I am being true to myself and returning to what I love doing most – my solo music!

This year, whilst organising future tours and recitals for 2013/14 I have forayed into the world of composing for the first time, which I am finding to be an exquisite combination of extreme joy and frustration! Again this becomes an expression of who you are and what you feel, and the joy (and pain) in creating new music has taken me very much by surprise. I look forward to playing some of these pieces for you in future recitals. I hope you enjoy my weekly blogs, and that you find them both interesting and informative.

We all strive to achieve perfection in our playing, and whilst this is of course an important aspiration, remember to always take pleasure in the journey! The essence of Music is in expression – not in technical pyrotechnics. Make sure that you use musical expression and phrasing whenever you play (wrong notes and all)! and don’t ‘just play the notes’ – say something!  Enjoy the journey – don’t wait until the notes are ‘perfect’ before allowing the music to sing.