Geri Allen - Charlie Haden Artist-in-Residence
Guitar studies, part of the InstrumentalArts family of offerings, is a comprehensive curriculum representing the diverse role that the guitar plays in music today, through which students can develop the skills, knowledge and creative versatility necessary to pursue professional careers in a vast array of contemporary genres.

The exceptionally diverse array of expertise among guitar faculty helps students develop original and unique musical pathways. Students are encouraged to study with various faculty, in support of developing their own individual voices in a stimulating and nurturing environment.

Students in Guitar studies have the opportunity to study classical styles from Medieval and Renaissance to the Avant Garde. Also encouraged are studies in traditional Jazz, Rock, Pop and Blues, as well as Percussive Acoustic Guitar, Afro-Pop, Flamenco, Avant Rock, Interactive Music Technologies, Metal and Noise. World music styles include traditional North Indian, African, Balinese, Javanese, Persian and Balkan.  

Guitar studies covers a wide variety of plucked string instruments, including nylon-string and steel-string acoustic, electric and MIDI guitars. The repertoire draws from classical guitar, Baroque style, traditional and free jazz, Flamenco, traditional and contemporary Balkan, and traditional rock and blues. Guitar studies also helps students develop a broader understanding in composition, different kinds of improvisation, and electro-acoustic practices. The training emphasizes both traditional and cross-genre technical and stylistic skills, so that guitarists have a strong foundation for developing their own unique voice.

Advanced students may further extend their studies to early Western instruments such as lute, or to non-Western instruments such as sarod and sitar, the study of which derives primarily from the North Indian tradition. Students may also incorporate studies in other world music genres available at CalArts, as well as digital media, hybrid arts, and interdisciplinary collaborations into their work.

All levels of Guitar students rehearse and perform with numerous ensembles throughout the School, ranging from chamber to world music, improvisation and collaborative experimental pop ensembles. They also have the opportunity to work alongside faculty in the School’s principal conducted faculty-student group, The Ensemble at CalArts.


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