Comments From Students
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"I just wanted to thank your for your help, instruction and friendship. You invited us all into your home with warmth, humility, openness and good humour. The seminar was a truly unforgettable and inspiring experience. I’ve left with a lot to think about (and a lot to practice!). Your talent and absolute dedication to music continues to astound. And I’m sure I speak for many in thanking you for your generosity in sharing it, whether it be through performances, recordings, seminars, books, tab (which I should pay rather more attention to!) and videos. Please do keep in touch, Best wishes,"
Daniel Burne (UK)

"I'm in the Boston airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta. But I wanted to tell you: the seminar definitely began today. While listening to music on my iPod on the plane, I could hear it so much more deeply and clearly, with individuals parts and intervals really standing out. You're a true inspiration as a musician and a teacher, and I imagine this very special week with you and Doatea will always serve as a wonderful musical foundation for me. It was a real honor to learn from you. Best wishes and thanks again to Doatea, Theo and you,"
Joseph Skibell (USA)

Furthermore, Joseph wrote an article about the seminar in an national newspaper: Read Article

"I have had a fabulous musical experience attending Pierre Bensusan’s residential workshop. Pierre’s teaching skills and method are equal to his talents as a musician; unparalleled. I give it my highest recommendation. Any guitarist would benefit greatly from attending this clinic, filled with the rich experience that Pierre has to offer, as well the beautiful setting in the French countryside. Don’t miss it! Pierre, your unerring sense of what is good and what is right is astonishing. The courage and truth that you bring to music seemsquite direct and simple, but in actuality requires great patience and wisdom. You have an uncanny ability to reveal these things to thosearound you, and indeed in doing so, to inspire them to greater heights. You have shown me that responsibility to the music is all that matters, correct action will follow."
Larry Pattis (USA)

Der etwas andere Workshop
Thomas Brenner von der AWO Böblingen-Tübingen lud vom 13. bis 15.11. 09 zum mittlerweile XIV. Acoustic Guitar Weekend nach Böblingen ein. 14 Workshopteilnehmer trafen sich am Freitagnachmittag, gespannt, was Pierre Bensusan für sie vorbereitet hatte.

Alle Teilnehmer hatten offensichtlich schon Erfahrung mit Gitarrenworkshops, einige hatten auch schon einen Blick auf die zugesandten Tabulaturen, z.B. von Pierre’s Stück L’Alchimiste, geworfen. Kein einfacher Stoff. Und das sollte in etwas mehr als 10 Stunden erarbeitet werden? Doch es kam ganz anders. Pierre hat mit uns nicht an seinen Stücken gearbeitet, sondern an den Grundlagen unserer Musikalität und an unserer Beherrschung der Gitarre als deren Ausdrucksmittel gefeilt. Vermeintlich einfache Arpeggien entwickelten sich zu anspruchsvollen Rhythmusübungen, die eine wertvolle Grundlage für die tägliche Übepraxis und das erarbeiten von neuen Stücken oder eigenen Kompositionen und Arrangements darstellen können. Technische Feinheiten wie das Abdämpfen von Saiten mit den Fingern der rechten Hand erlauben es, nur die Töne klingen zu lassen, die im aktuellen musikalischen Kontext wichtig sind. Die Töne sollen Ihre Bedeutung dadurch erhalten, dass sie nicht durch ausklingende Töne zugedeckt werden – außer, das ist ausdrücklich so gewollt und musikalisch sinnvoll. Das Apoyando, eine Anschlagstechnik der klassischen Gitarre, wird erweitert durch den Anschlag des Fingers mit der Rückseite des Nagels – die Saite, an der angelegt wird dient gleichermaßen als Sprungbrett für die Rückbewegung. Damit sind interessante Effekte erzielbar. Streckungsübungen für die linke Hand, kombiniert mit Hinweisen, wie die Bewegungen der Finger geräuschlos organisiert werden können, erweitern den erreichbaren Tonumfang, aber nur, wenn die Übungen Eingang in die Überoutine finden und regelmäßig praktiziert werden. Gespräche über die Erfahrungen eines professionellen Musikers, die Bühnenpraxis, das Arrangieren und Komponieren waren mehr als eine Ergänzung. Es war Pierre sehr wichtig, uns zu zeigen, dass die Gitarre das „sekundäre“ Instrument ist, unser Hauptinstrument sind wir selbst. Unsere Musikalität, das Rhythmusempfinden, unser Respekt für unseren Körper, unser Wunsch, Neues zu entdecken und dafür auch gewohnte Pfade zu verlassen, sind die wichtigste Grundlage für eine musikalische Weiterentwicklung. Dabei hartnäckig zu bleiben, sich eigene Wege zu erarbeiten, Herausforderungen zu meistern und sich immer wieder selbst klar zu machen, dass man so jedes Ziel erreichen kann, war seine Botschaft zum Abschluss. Für mich ein rundum gelungener Workshop, der durch ein phantastisches Konzert am Freitagabend in der Aula des Albert Einstein Gymnasiums in Böblingen einen zusätzlichen Höhepunkt fand.
Jürgen (Deutschland)

"I was a little apprehensive, thinking it might only be for masters, or professional musicians. After all, I’m just a graphic designer who loves guitar. The class attracted players on all levels. Pierre was sensitive to each and every one of us. He treated us all as equals and answered all our questions. There was one-on-one interaction with all who attended. Being in a small group setting, and hearing the thoughts of this man who has taken the artistry of fingerstyle guitar so far, was a deep inspiration. Each of us, all at our different levels, walked away with a valuable experience and so much to think about, you could pick and choose what to work on. The advanced players were challenged. But in many ways, I think those with the least experience may have had the most to gain. I wish I had an opportunity like that back when I was a teenager, teaching myself to play. If you have the opportunity to attend one of Pierre’s master classes or seminars, drop what you’re doing, grab your guitar - be there!!!"
Richard Brooker (USA)

"I arrived safely in Sydney yesterday morning after a long journey. My time spent at your home and seminar was inspiring and unforgettable, a true privilege. Again thanks to you and Doatea (the even greater woman behind her man!) for all your hospitality and guidance on music, life through music and life itself! Please feel welcome to visit myself and Chrissie anytime in Sydney, be it business or pleasure. The door will be open. Merci beaucoup."
Alan Duffy (Australia)

"The inspiration I personally gained from Pierre's instruction, encouragement and practical advice will have a lasting impact on my life and music. The time is France was life changing and inspiring beyond words, not only for me but certainly for the other students as I heard them state. I'll certainly return in a few years with my son and perhaps a brother or two."
Mark Soileau (USA)

"Thank you so much for the wonderful seminar. It was a very important opportunity for me. I learned many things that will help me to enjoy and understand music more deeply over the years to come. You have both helped me to appreciate aspects of music which I had previously paid too little or even no attention to. Also, I feel that I have gained two new friends - people with strong and good values. This may be the most important result of all. (Later) It has been a few years since I attended your semi-private lesson seminar. I look back in amazement at how far I have come since then in terms of both technical and creative improvement on the instrument."
John Waylett (Canada)

"Pierre, Much thanks for a wonderful time. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and probably a life changing experience, as well. I learned a lot from being your student, In fact, come teach my medical student class next time you are over here."
Jim Wofford (USA)

"I have benefited greatly from your insightful musical thoughts. I've been a working musician for over 25 years and developed many, less than optimal habits, one of which is rushing through songs, and not really listening carefully to what was coming out of the guitar. And not giving the song a real chance to breathe, develop and mature. The funny thing is, close friends have been telling me for years to slow down but slowing down was a very slow process. I guess I felt that people would loose interest if the song went for too long or was too slow tempo. So here I am outside on the porch, late at night, after coming home from a solo show. I'm practicing guitar, happy that I have finally slowed things down a lot, and really enjoying the sound of my guitar again. Then this Local Island drunk person appears out of the forest with his dog. He had been listening to me play for about 20 minutes. I never met him before and we spoke for a few minutes. He said that song your playing would really be pretty if you slowed it down so I could hear all the notes. Hmmm..... Thanks so much for your insight and suggestions. It was a great time. Sincerely."
David Feder (USA)

"I am so grateful that you were happy to welcome me on the seminar - despite my limited knowledge of fingerstyle and dadgad. I was nervous about how I would get on if the others in the group were much more accomplished than me (which they were!). I shouldn't have worried because your teaching style includes everyone - it allows people like me to learn a lot but is still very challenging for the more experienced. No-one is held back or left behind. The sessions with Doatea, where she explores the links between the mind, body, guitar and music are very complementary to your teaching about technique and composition etc. The programme was very full - everything relevant and interesting. It was challenging technically, thought provoking and fun! In addition, the opportunity to study and relax in the beautiful French countryside with a group of great people from all over the world was a real privilege. Thank you to you and Doatea for making this possible and for your warm hospitality. Just one additional comment. I felt a real turning point in the seminar was when everyone had played something solo - I think it was on day three. I recall that even Mark and Daniele had problems with nervousness and I had heard them both play pieces faultlessly outside lessons. It was also helpful to one or two of us who were not so good to get any embarrassment over with. After that people seemed to open up a bit and start playing together more and sharing ideas outside lessons. This made me wonder whether it would be good to get everyone to play something solo earlier in the programme. I think everyone was expecting it on the first day! Just a thought Pierre but no doubt you have considered this.
David Searle (UK)

"You are a truly inspiring player Pierre and a great host. The seminar has given me lots to think about and work on. Thank you so much for the celebration on my birthday, I wont forget that event! I've been trying to find as much time as possible to explore new ideas - the dadgad tuning creates so many different sounds. Before preparing for the seminar I'd never explored any alternative tuning and now I feel like theres a whole new way of playing to learn and develop as well as getting to grips with a few new PB tunes. Thanks again for the hospitality, the inspiration and the great wine."
Peter Lubbock (UK)

"So after having some time to reflect on the seminar, I wanted to thank you both, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me into your home, your lives, and your music. It was truly an experience I will not soon forget. As you well know, I arrived ill prepared for the rigor of the seminar and without the "foundations" necessary to physically follow it. But as you said many times over the duration of the seminar, "the seminar begins when it is over." Well, the seminar has begun! Your technical and rhythmic exercises, our discussions about musicality, singing, the arpeggio studies, are all with me as guides. Over the summer, I have come to realize that the most important reason for my participation in the seminar was to find direction, something I have lacked my entire musical life. And for this reason, I believe that the seminar was a personal success. So thank you both for offering me this opportunity. I hope one day, once the "foundation" is laid, to return to another seminar."
John Ellis (USA)

"Just to let everyone know I made a safe and adventurous way back to Melbourne, Australia, after spending one of the most incredible weeks of my life in France (I hope you all have looked up Australia on the map! see it does exist). I still want to thank you all for the memory's." Joel Neilson (Australia) "What an incredible experience I had with you, Pierre. The guitar is looking like a new instrument to me with all of the new possibilities. I've also thought a tremendous amount about what you said about the importance of creating for the sake of creating as well as not limiting myself to creating on the guitar. It was also such a blessing to get to interact with the other guitarists of very different styles and make some very special friendships. And the generosity with which you and Doatea shared your home left me wanting more."
Eric Maring (USA)

"I'm back home to everyday life....This week with you was really a great experience for me , so different from what I'm used to .. I think you opened my mind to what really music means and I hope I will be able to keep your teaching in my heart , mind and hands. In your house I could breath something special , not only concerning guitar technique. I feel I have meet real friends in you and in my fellow students."
Marco Pizzoccaro (Italy)

As the time moves on since the seminar, I see just how much you have gave us to work with. It feels like a true gift. So I can only say from the bottom of my heart, thank you again. I hope I will see you again at some point in the future.
Take care, much love from rishi
Rishi (UK)

"I hesitate at this moment to write, fully realizing that words can only hope to come close to describing how the events which have transpired this month will have an everlasting impression upon me. The greatest teachers of all time have forced their students to look inside themselves for the answers to their questions. It is for this and many other reasons, that I feel you, Pierre, are the best teacher I have ever encountered. I am leaving here with an understanding of music which I had never heard before, that is the music within myself. You have shown me a path to my soul which I can now continue to walk when I leave here, for the rest of my life. A message to future students: come to this experience with a blank slate which you are open to filling with anything you encounter!"
Nathan Koloso (USA)

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