I will start at the first crossing of our paths. I believe life is so special that it should be appreciated and lived to the fullest. My young son wanted to play the guitar and we had decided to buy him one for his 5th Birthday. I asked my wife to go to the shop while I distracted the boys. She came running back and said there was a man in the shop who taught very young children. This was great as we could not find someone to teach our son due to his age. I then went and met Mr Robert Luse. He explained the need for one of the parents to have a few lessons to reinforce the basic method required.
I explained my desire to learn as I had always appreciated music, and yearned to play a guitar. Now I must explain that I had never played an instrument or read music in my 50 years of being on this earth. So with great trepidation I attended my first lesson; it was an absolute pleasure to hear the first notes come out of my new guitar! Since that day I have been working hard to take on board the methods that Robert has so patiently taught me. Although my son has postponed learning at this time, I have carried on, and would like everyone to know that if you want to really learn to play with the meaning and soul of classical guitar then look no further than Robert.
Since I have been learning it has really opened my eyes to the feeling you as a guitarist can instil into a piece. The simplest piece of music will lack feeling if it is not played with your heart and soul. There are many technically great players out there, but to me quite often, there is something missing.
Now I am being realistic about where I will reach, but the one thing hard to imagine is the pleasure I have had on my journey with Robert, the exploration and fine tuning; just as important is how it has enabled me to appreciate music more than I could ever have ever known.
So no matter what your age if you have passion, drive and a great teacher you can learn and enjoy music and the guitar. Also as you can see in the photo hand size is not an issue it is the person who teaches you
My personal thanks to you Robert for being a friend and a Great Guitar Guru.
“I started playing the guitar when I was eleven years old. The church I was attending had an ‘orchestra’ comprising several pianists, clarinetists, trumpeter, lead an accompanying guitar players. I was one of the strummers providing accompaniment to the hymns and songs sung by the congregation.
“I remained a strummer for many years. In the beginning, I had a few lessons with a teacher who was playing in a band in one of the many night clubs in Singapore. With that base and over the years, I continued to build on my guitar knowledge, picking up instruction mainly from books, playing with other players and attending guitar concerts.
“Quite a few years later, I wanted to learn classical guitar to augment and increase my knowledge of acoustic guitar technique. I came across Mr Robert Luse and started lessons with him. It was my first and only exposure to the Luse Method of classical guitar playing.
“It has now been several years since I started formal lessons with Robert and I dontinue to benefit from the methodology in his approach to the learning of classical guitar. His method is well thought out, detailed, progressive and technically challenging. Naturally, at each stage of the methodoloy, the learner is learning the appropriate musical concepts and techniques and, depending on one’s motivation, the process can be fast or slow. One good feature of the methodology is that it builds on the recently acquired knowledge and as a result, the learner’s musical knowledge and technical skills can grow gradually and comprehensively over time.
“For a player like me who started with strumming, learning the classical guitar can be quite challenging. For one, the Luse Method has helped me to read music notes in good order and most importantly as intended in the score. Seemed so easy when you watch good music performers do it! The other interesting development for me is participation in the yearly student concert. On this occassion each student has to present an item or two generally taken from the pieces learnt in the past calendar quarter or recent time period. Even now for me, each time that concert comes around, I am challenged to show to the audience the knowledge and skills acquired since the last concert. In brief, I think Mr Luse tried to make concert artists out of all the students but in my view not all of us are cast in that mould yet. Perhaps with more time and effort, we will get there.
“Just now, I am at the intermediate stage of the method and making slow progress towards the desired end. Suffice to say the knowledge and skills gained in these years have allowed me to follow the Luse Method progressively. More important, it has also enabled me to play other music outside the books of the Method. I value this capability a lot as it enables me to broaden my guitar music knowledge and it shows that the knowledge and technical skills gained under the methodology can be transferred and used to appreciate other different music styles.
“Finally, I would recommend the Luse Method to anyone who is keen to acquire more knowledge on the playing of the classical guitar.”
“Hi! My name is Wong Soo Wah. I’m Malaysian. Because my teacher saids: “Soo Wah, you’ve to write something to my website.” So I did.
“But I’m happy that I can share my experience to everyone who needed. As I have been teaching for ten years, I realized that the guitar playing technique of students couldn’t improved enough either one myself. So I told myself, “I can’t go on like this, I’ve got to make some changes in myself.”
“But at that moment I couldn’t know what to do, until I went to a classical guitar camp in KL and heard about Robert Luse. I wonder what will happen if a person with poor English can study with an American. After under Robert Luse I started to understand the guitar playing technique. In fact I found that I’ve never known guitar technique before being under Robert Luse.
“Finally I’ve to said, “Thank you, Robert Luse.”
“When I went to Robert Luse for lessons I was already a somewhat capable guitarist in the eyes of many people. I had in fact, come to him to make me a professional guitarist. And indeed, one of the first things Robert asked me in our first lesson was, “How far do you intend to go as a guitarist?” This was a crucial point in our relationship as teacher-student, because the answer to that question would define the objectives, pace and boundaries of the programme he would put me on.
“As it was, Robert started me on his guitar method right from the very basics. This was initially quite tough for me to take. I had already played guitar for several years and had many teacher before him, and not one of them thought I wasn’t competent enough to play such unbelievably simple material. In fact, I had already won competitions playing very difficult pieces! Nevertheless, I stuck with it and as I progressed through the method, I began to understand why this was necessary. Only by going through the most basic of movements, slowly and repeatedly, would I be able to ‘un-learn’ all the bad habits I had developed over years of practising pieces that were too difficult!
“I have studied with Robert for five years now, and have progressed through almost the entire method. Although I am still far from realistically attempting the pieces I used to play before I met him, I know that I am a better guitarist and musician than I ever was then.
“Unlike the violin or the piano, guitar pedagogy is still an unsettled science. Even the very best guitarists seem unable to agree on technique, particularly when it involves the right hand position. In fact I have been told by a concert guitarist that there is no correct technique and that I should use whatever seems to work for me! In his method, Robert Luse takes a stand against this. Upon careful analysis and an understanding of the mechanics of the hands, the body and the learning process (which he explains with precision and clarity in his lessons), he bases an approach to playing the guitar. The Luse Method is wonderfully organized, and focuses on building a solid technique by progressive small steps.
“But where the Luse Method truly seperates itself from other methods is in the attention paid to expression. From very early on the student is taught and encouraged to play the guitar expressively. While other methods I’ve come across concentrate solely on how to play the instrument, the Luse Method also teaches how to play the music. The idea is that musical expression is something thatcan be learned, and should be learnt alongside technique and not after it. This approach inclulcates in the student very early on an expressive technique that will grow stronger as the student matures.
“Perhaps the best part about the Luse Method is the man himself. Robert is a prolific composer and his own works feature prominently at every level throughout his method. Studying with a composer has been a tremendous advantage and has helped me to understand the musical language better. In the belief that an artist should have as broad as possible an understanding of the world that surrounds him, Robert and I have had many enlightening conversations on topics that range from morality and religion, to technology and space travel. A true ‘guru’ in every sense of the word, Robert has had a great influence on me not just as a teacher, guitarist and composer, but also as a valued friend.”