andrew head shotFor my June 2007 podcast, here’s an interview I conducted with Andrew Lawrence while I was attending Django In June in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Andrew is founder of the Community Guitar Program, as well as being the director and coordinator of Django In June, the only annual music camp in North America dedicated to the pursuit of gypsy jazz musicianship. For a more complete bio, click here.


The interview was recorded on Saturday July 15th, in Northampton, circa 2pm. As it is close to 50 minutes in duration, here is a time-line of the main discussion points, should you wish to jump to specific parts of the interview:

0:15- intro + Django In June ’07
3:00- Django In June challenges
4:00- who came to Django In June ’07
8:15- Community Guitar – intro
9:00- origins of Community Guitar
11:30- the CG vision: music as a shared experience
12:25- why focus on the guitar?
14:25- basic principles of the group instruction model for instrumentalists

  • step 1 – instructor as matchmaker
  • step 2 – focus on repertoire that’s good for jamming
  • step 3 – learn the skills required for a group playing context

17:00- CG: startup challenges
20:30- what musical styles work best for the CG format?
21:50- vocal repertoire?
24:15- assessing instrument skill levels
25:30- skill level 1: technique + theory + repertoire
26:50- skill level 2: technique + theory + repertoire
29:40- skill level 3: technique + theory + repertoire
31:05- gypsy jazz suited for CG curriculum?
31:50- academic model vs. recreational program
35:10- a new concept of leisure
37:55- the future of CG
39:25- new options for guitar teachers
40:10- scaling CG
41:00- demand for CG
42:55- how the CG guitar model fits with existing institutions

If you think you’d like to start a Community Guitar Program in your hometown (link) – or pilot a Community Guitar Program from your music store – or if you’re simply curious and would like more information, you can contact Andrew here.

Thanks again Andrew, for your time, and for this amazing experience! See you next year at Django In June!

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