David Smolover founded the National Guitar Summer Workshop in 1983, wanting to create an educational and collaborative atmosphere for students and teachers alike. Within this environment, participants would live, learn, and practice with each other. In the words of one student that year, “It’s like a dream come true to think, eat and sleep guitar for a whole week.” During the day, they would take courses in a variety of musical styles, and they would attend master guitar workshops at night. This first summer, many noted musicians including Al DiMeola, Rory Block, George Gritzpah, Arlen Roth, Eric Schoenberg, Dennis Koster and Larry Coryell taught the master classes. The first faculty consisted of folk, rock, jazz, classical, bluegrass and bass guitar experts, many of whom were New York City studio musicians and college professors. The first summer took place at the South Kent School, located in South Kent, Connecticut, and consisted of four one-week sessions.
“It was a nice feeling to be involved with a new and innovative program. There was nothing like the NGW at the time and it was exciting to help to get the program off the ground and established.” –Lou Manzi, founding and current faculty member
The NGW experience is like a year’s worth of material compiled into one week. Like most workshops, the benefits of NGW don’t completely take form until the participants have gone home. “It would be impossible for someone to learn and use everything they hear at the Workshop in a week or two,” said owner David Smolover. “They should be able to just absorb everything, and then take it back with them and begin to work it all out.”
As part of the NGW experience, students have the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience, jam with other musicians, and study with world-famous artists in an accessible and relaxed manner. The NGW provides a positive, supportive and non-competitive learning environment through hands-on teaching and teamwork.