NINETEEN-year-old Abe Lawson is all set to deliver a blend of dance enthused classical melodies when he plays a set at the Classics on the Course at the Tumut Golf Course this Saturday.
The born and raised Tumut man and student of the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is looking forward to the opportunity to play for his peers and friends and expects the event to offer those in attendance something a little different for those used to the pub rock scene.
Encouraged by his father at a young age to pick up the guitar and start playing, Mr Lawson said he didn’t discover the appeal in the guitar until the age of 13, when he picked up an electric and began to teach himself. It was at the age of 16 that he started to take it more seriously.
“When I first started I learnt simple chords and then progressed. I wasn’t worried about sheet music at that point but once you learn the chords, it becomes a lot easier. It’s good to learn the basics first and then progress rather than try and learn the more technical aspects first,” he said.
Previously taught by the Riverina Conservatorium of Music’s Jeff Donovan, Mr Lawson said that while he had played previously before at the Festival of the Falling Leaf, he had never really had much of an opportunity to play before a Tumut crowd.
“I was e-mailed by the the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, asking if I would be interested in doing this and I thought it was a great opportunity,” he said.
Mr Lawson said the primary genre of classical guitar that he enjoys is a blend between Latin American, South American, Venezuelan and Brazilian.
“I really like South American guitar in particular. It’s dance music, very energetic, fun to play and satisfying to learn,” he said.
While currently situated in Canberra, Mr Lawson said that he often returns home on weekends to see family and friends. He’s hoping that the bridging course which he is nearing the completion of at CIT, will allow him to get into ANU where he hopes to complete a Bachelor of Musical Performance.
“The bridging course I’m doing takes away the requirement of having to have an ATAR which means I will basically be guaranteed entry. My current course will be completed by December 6,” he said.
Performing in clubs and bars in a group in Canberra is standard routine as he is often marked on the ability to perform live and in a band as part of his courses assessment requirement.
“The course I’m doing is a contemporary music course. They put us together in bands and we have to learn songs and those also serve as our assessment requirement,” he said.
“Next year though, the course at ANU will be classical guitar and won’t be band gigs so much.
“I do currently go to ANU to see my current guitar teacher so I’ve already got a good idea about how the campus functions.”
He said that although he would love to have the opportunity to be able to do performing someday, his understanding of the competition in the industry has made him decide that teaching music would probably be a better avenue and he already teaches guitar to people now.
“I’m hoping to get into performing but you can’t do performance for a living unless you’re the best of the best. So teaching is looking like a good fall-back,” he said.
It may come as a surprise that Mr Lawson’s guitar, the one that he prefers to play, is not a new, shiny electric but an old acoustic nylon. He said that this type of guitar has the perfect sound for delivering the classical tone that he so admires.
“In terms of regular playing, I go through phases. Sometimes you don’t want to play at all and then other times I want to learn it all and can’t seem to stop,” he said.
He hopes to stay in Canberra following the completion of his degree and said the nation’s capital sports a constantly thriving music scene.
“It has a good classical guitar scene and has some of the best players in the country. There’s gigs that go on all the time there and there’s always music happening,” he said.
Mr Lawson will be a guest supporting act alongside a featured 40 piece Youth Orchestra from the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. The event will feature local wines, pale ales and non-alcoholic refreshments for purchase from the special fairway bars.