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Alternative Guitar Summit offers virtual instruction, in-person summer camp

Six people playing guitars sit in a semi-circle on a stage.
Scott Friedlander
Photography by Scott Friedlander
The AGS Resophonic Guitar Orchestra in 2017.

Since 2010, the Alternative Guitar Summit has been dedicated to teaching and celebrating the unlimited sonic dimensions of the guitar.

The Alternative Guitar Summit, founded in 2010 by guitarist/composer Joel Harrison, is a yearly festival of inventive players who emphasize new and unusual approaches to the guitar.

The summit consists of a guitar camp, featuring master classes by notable guitarists, and a music festival with concerts by stars of the alternative guitar genre as well as noteworthy young players.

The AGS also seeks to commission new work, whether improvised, notated or both, and is devoted to promoting new music through education and performance. It specializes in creating opportunities for lesser known, non-commercial musicians.

The AGS Board of Advisors includes alt guitar masters like Pat Metheny, Elliott Sharp, Ben Monder and Nels Cline.

Miles Okazaki (2014 Alternative Guitar Summit, NYC)

The core of the AGS philosophy is to teach music, not just guitar. Putting students face to face with highly regarded alternative players, they will be challenged to grow and to seek their own voices.

“Music is sacred,” the AGS mission statement says. “It speaks the passions, pains, and joys of our lives. We want you to discover and express the deepest part of yourself. To do so, ideally, involves being open to ideas and approaches from many viewpoints, cultures, and practices. This openness defines the concerts we present and the teachers we bring to you.”

Every year, AGS honors a living guitarist/composer. This year, the organization celebrates the legacy of educator and performer Mick Goodrick, who has inspired countless guitarists in more than five decades of teaching. The concert is March 12 at the Soapbox Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., and there is a livestream option.

The AGS Virtual Teaching Summit is Feb. 25-26. Learn more and register here.

Information about this year's in-person Summer Guitar Camp at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, N.Y., is here. Limited scholarship assistance may be available.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.