Richard Durrant’s French Guitar Adventurers is a residential, guitar course that takes place each April. It’s held in a beautiful, secluded location in the Charente region of France (nearest airport Bordeaux, nearest station Chalais). Accommodation is en-suite, full board, suitable for all dietary needs with an outdoor swimming pool and a large workshop space/rehearsal room with excellent acoustics.
Each course is for between 10 to 15 guitarists – depending on guest numbers and room sharing arrangements.
French Guitar Adventurers is suitable for inquisitive, competent guitarists from Grade 5 or equivalent (ABRSM/Trinity) upwards. Grade 5 theory (ABRSM) is also encouraged. Please contact us to discuss this. Each participant will receive a one hour consultation with Richard (in person or over Zoom) at least six weeks before the course.
Participants should be keen to develop broader, general musicianship skills, instrumental technique and music reading. The techniques covered can be applied to all styles of guitar and Richard often includes other instruments in his specially written ensemble music for the end of course concert, providing an opportunity for participants to play bass guitar, ukulele, tenor guitar and acoustic guitar.
“Everything was perfect, tuition, accommodation, food, company. I was able to live the dream for a bit. The whole thing allowed me to relax such that I was able to do a good solo performance at the gig. My playing already feels better and I am inspired to do my exercises now as I can appreciate the effect they have on my playing. Roll on next year.”Wendy Hicks (classical and flamenco guitar)
Becoming a Guitar Adventurer is an opportunity to learn to play standing up (Richard’s speciality and default position) and to discover the benefits of using a strap whether sitting or standing. Participants spend time developing their relationship with their hands in an intense and meaningful way to help realise a stronger and more mindful physical connection with the instrument. Richard will explain how to use a simple, efficient and stylistically neutral playing position to strengthen technique and increase accuracy and agility.
NB: The daily practise sessions are undertaken on a nylon strung, classical style instrument ideally with a cut-away and a strap. We can advise on positioning of strap buttons.
The FGA week progresses via enjoyable and supportive group study sessions led by Richard. There are opportunities for private practise, all sped along by the daily use of staff notation and a total absence of TAB. A very relaxed open mic night usually proceeds a well attended end of week public concert (in l’eglise Notre Dame, Yviers) comprising student solos, ensemble pieces and other surprises.
“Each guitarist has to show flexibility, generosity and understanding as well as being prepared to work hard.
“Luckily these are qualities that I consider to be key ingredients of good musicianship.
“It also makes for wonderful music making, a steep learning curve, strong camaraderie and a great end of week gig!”Says Richard
If you are interested please contact email@example.com for further details including the pre-course, hour long session with Richard plus costs and travel details.
You can discover more about past trips by the French Guitar Adventurers on the Facebook group page.
Richard Durrant is a composer and recording artist who defies categorisation. He is one of the leading guitar virtuosos of his generation who, uniquely, performs standing up. He now writes a high proportion of his own concert music. Richard is a passionate supporter of music literacy, especially amongst guitarists.
Richard has performed worldwide. He is celebrated in Paraguay for his playing of the music of Agustin Barrios and his lyrical, virtuosic interpretations of JS Bach’s works, often played on ukulele, have received critical acclaim. Richard has played live sessions on BBC Radios 2, 3, 4, 6 Music and Classic FM.
In more recent years Richard has worked hard to develop a more environmentally informed approach to performing. He plays his annual, solo British Isles concert tour carrying his instruments on a bicycle and trailer. For his 2022 tour he cycled from Orkney to Sussex playing 16 concerts along the way. He regularly performs in cathedrals, concert halls, theatres, churches, forests and fields.
Richard studied guitar, composition and cello at the Royal College of Music between 1981 and 1986. He has appeared as guest soloist with the RPO in the Royal Albert Hall and received an award from Prince Charles for his work supporting art in the community.
Richard Durrant ARCM, Dip RCM, FLCM