Guitar Craft Level 3 At-A-Distance

directed by Curt Golden

Tuesday 1, July – Sunday 14, September 2003


In its original form, At-A-Distance is a way for experienced, active and engaged Crafties to take part in courses that, for any number of reasons, they are unable to attend in person, or simply feel a certain connection with. To this day all Guitar Craft courses have an AAD component, and the Level Three in Atlanta is no exception. Those who recognize that they are a part of this course and wish to practice the Exercise of Contact at a Distance are welcome and encouraged to make themselves known, and to participate in this way.

For those who would like a more active engagement in the course taking place in Atlanta this Fall, we have initiated Atlanta Level Three At-A-Distance.

By taking advantage of the internet technology developed for AAD courses in recent years, we will be able to have a degree of immediacy that has not been possible before. The course is open to those who feel that they are a part of, are connected to, and have a wish to actively support the 10-week course taking place in Atlanta; those who might not quite be ready for Level Three, those who are qualified but are unable to attend at this time, and of course those experienced Crafties who feel they can, in some way, contribute to the course by their attention and participation. This course is probably not for everyone. A grounding in Guitar Craft is necessary, and this is not a course for beginners.

The course in Atlanta is Level Three. What does this mean?

From the very outset, Level Three is inconvenient. Simply to turn up requires effort and sacrifice. Some accommodation must be made regarding family, job and money. “Do I really want to do this?” is a legitimate question. And the corollary, “What am I willing to pay/do/give up in order to do this?”

Once that obstacle is surmounted and the course begins, the challenges really begin, and we confront ourselves in a very direct way. “If only I had the time and freedom to practice as much as I’d like, and to make playing music my primary activity rather than something I must carve out spare time for, I could really get somewhere.” Is this true? As Robert states in An Introduction to Guitar Craft, “Level Three is where we test our enthusiasm”, and he goes on to observe that “boredom is frequently the challenge at Level Three.” Level Three has to do with honoring commitments over time. On short courses, commitment is measured in hours and days. The novelty and enthusiasm of the course itself, as well as the energy borrowed from the instructors and other experienced players, is often enough to generate whatever is necessary. Here, we are looking at the long haul, and what it takes to see it through when this enthusiasm and external assistance wanes, fades, and disappears.

For those participating At-A-Distance, this will be no less true, and in some ways more difficult. With the available technology, participants will have an ongoing contact with the activities in Atlanta, and be able work in concert with the Atlanta team on tasks and challenges in the broad sense. But it is a long and demanding course, and most of the initiative will have to come from the AAD participants themselves, for themselves. Enthusiasm will be tested.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that we are all in the same boat, and will have the collective energy of the course, both in Atlanta and At-A-Distance, to guide us through these difficulties.

There are four commitments to this At-A-Distance course:

The Exercise of Contact at a Distance; this involves making an intentional connection with the course in Atlanta throughout the day, every day.

The daily practice; both the sitting and guitar practice (or, for non-guitarists, an analogous task, craft or skill).

Housecraft/kitchencraft; an essential aspect of Level Three. From Robert’s description, “Can we apply the quality of our relationship with the guitar to the mundane activities of our life, like cleaning the bathroom and preparing food?” At the courses in Atlanta this will be a central feature of the reality of life on the course. Participants At A Distance will need to incorporate this into their daily practice as well. Guidance will come out of the course, but much of this will be self-directed.

Special tasks, challenges and projects; work along with the team in Atlanta on some of the larger tasks, and those exercises that can be shared at a distance. A challenge regarding learning and knowing a body of Guitar Craft repertoire is already under way.
Cost and Application

This course will run concurrently with the Level Three in Atlanta, from September 6 through November 15, 2003. Once you have been accepted, and payment received, you will receive instructions on how to logon to the Atlanta Level 3 At-A-Distance website. Work on the Level 3 repertoire project has already begun, so those who sign up early will be able to begin as early as July, at no additional charge.

The suggested contribution for participation in this course is $20US/week. Payment for the entire 10-week period, $200US, is to be made in advance. Arrangements will be made for participants in Europe and South America to contribute their course fees to Guitar Craft projects in their region.

Applications should be sent to the course facilitator, Curt Golden. Please address the following questions:

Who are you?
What is your Guitar Craft history? Please be fairly detailed with this, especially as it applies to your most recent Guitar Craft courses and Guitar Circle activities.
What is your aim in participating in this course?