Glen McCarthyAt first glance, Florida and New Mexico seem to have very little in common. Dry, high desert New Mexico with its sparse and far-flung population would seem to be the opposite of lush, green Florida with its big cities and miles of ocean playgrounds. New Mexico and Florida do share some history, however, being among the first territories in the continental U.S. to be explored by the Spanish in the seventeenth century. In our own time, and specifically in music education, New Mexico and Florida share a unique distinction as well. New Mexico and Florida are the first states in the country to have guitar ensembles as a part of their respective All-State Music Festivals.

In January, an article will appear in Teaching Music magazine that will speak to the journey that each state took to put guitar in all-state. All-State Guitar representatives Ed Prasse of Leon High School in Talahassee and John Truitt of Albuquerque Academy will answer questions posed by the chair of the Guitar Council Glen McCarthy in this extensive interview about the motivations, challenges, triumphs and hopes for the emerging guitar-in-all-state movement. Questions answered range from those about practical matters such as rehearsal space, group size, audition material and clinicians to the more ephemeral such as “can guitar players deal with the rigor of an all-state group?”

Guitar study in schools has become a very big presence in the last ten years, and the move to include guitar ensembles has begun in other states, too. Be sure to check out this article from representatives of two of the states who have taken the step to have a guitar ensemble as a regular part of all-state. The success they have realized has been dramatic, numbers have gone up in all-state, and a whole new population of students has been given the chance to experience the challenge and triumph of all-state. Be sure to look in the January edition of Teaching Music for the article!

John Truitt, Council for Guitar Education

Adapted from “Guitar All-State in Florida and New Mexico” , by John Truitt. In Press for January 2013, Teaching Music. Copyright © 2013 by National Association for Music Education.

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