The 10th annual Day of Guitar, High-School Guitar Ensemble Festival was held at VanderCook College of Music November 15, 2016. Directed by JDOGulie Goldberg, VCM Assistant Professor of Guitar and Teaching Guitar Workshop Instructor, Day of Guitar celebrates the accomplishments of young guitarists, teaches new musical skills and playing techniques, and encourages students to continue playing and studying guitar. This fall, across the Chicagoland area attended DOG. Students rehearsed and performed in the DOG Orchestra, attended a workshop on Improving Practice Techniques, received ensemble coaching from top guitar instructors, and performed in the Participants Recital.  With GAMA’s generous support the cost to attend DOG is low; $25 per student, lunch included.

Inspired by band, orchestra, and choir festivals held at VanderCook College of Music, Dr. Goldberg saw the need for a festival serving area guitar students.  The first Day of Guitar festival was held in 2006 on a Saturday in November. 45 guitarists attended the festival, many of whom were adult amateurs.

In an attempt to attract more students, DOG 2007 was scheduled on a weekday and area guitar teachers were encouraged to bring their guitar classes.  Registration doubled.  95 high school students and their teachers attended DOG 2007.  During the past 10 years over 1700 guitarists from 25 different schools have enjoyed the DOG experience. On average, 190 students register for DOG each year. The maximum capacity is 275 participants.  250 students registered for DOG 2016.

Day of Guitar is a participatory and inclusive event. Specific measures are taken to accommodate the wide range of playing levels and variety of guitar playing styles. The DOG Orchestra piece is composed with parts to accommodate the beginning through advanced players. The mid-day workshop features a clinician with a topic applicable to a wide variety of players.

90% of teachers attending Day of Guitar 2016 were returning participants.  Hillary S. and her 25 students attended DOG for the first time.  She successfully completed Teaching Guitar Workshop Level I during the summer and wrote: “Because of what I learned in the Teaching Guitar Workshop, I felt prepared to effectively teach my students. Attending Day of Guitar was a great motivator. My students wanted to make sure they could read the music and competently play in the Guitar Orchestra.  The participants’ recital performance gave a timeline to work towards. My students loved DOG.  They thought it was amazing to play with a bunch of other schools.  Hearing 200+ guitars on 5 different parts in the orchestra piece was really satisfying for them after practicing so hard on their parts.  They also enjoyed hearing the Avanti Guitar Trio play.  They were mesmerized by the players, the different music and new possibilities they heard on the guitar.”