UK–based guitarist, composer, teacher, and CG scribe Derek Hasted started teaching guitar at age 15, later earning a master’s degree from Peterhouse Cambridge and a teaching diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He founded the Guitar Workshop and also formed and leads what is now called the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra, for whom he has contributed many arrangements. We asked him write a few words about this issue’s piece, and what he’s been up to lately.
The realization that I’ve been teaching for half a century stopped me in my tracks for a moment to consider where my career has taken me. It’s given me a keen interest in ensemble guitar and a particular passion for teaching adults, many of whom missed out on music as children. My oldest student is 93 and drives over for a lesson every two weeks—he started just 18 months ago and is doing astonishingly well. Every year I run a student concert, two ensemble concerts, and a number of other events too. Audience sizes have varied between a dozen and an astonishing 1,250. Life has been good.
Captivation is part of a four-movement suite called Celebration that I wrote for intermediate players to perform in concert. With their skills still developing, learners can’t tackle the “famous” pieces that an audience might know, and this means that they need a piece that has first-time appeal. Captivation has straightforward harmonies and a strong and memorable melody line. The rondo structure means there is less to learn and helps the piece sound familiar to a listener. The occasional foray into 6/8 time gives the rhythm a cheeky lift and keeps the audience attentive. I’ve tuned the bottom string down to D to add extra depth to the sound without extra complexity, and much of the music is built from familiar shapes that are robust and clean-sounding. Much of the music is fingered, and the shifts aren’t complex.
The overall mood is joyful. An audience won’t know this piece, so feel free to “make it yours” by choosing dynamics, tone, and tempo changes that work for you. The open D makes for a big sound, so don’t be timid! (In the video above that’s New Zealand guitarist and composer Bruce Paine playing the piece.)
For lots of valuable guitar info, go to derek-hasted.co.uk.