For anyone who has made classical guitar music and playing their life, it is easy to mistakenly assume that everyone shares the same enthusiasm for our beloved instrument of choice and the music we cherish. It's also hard to fathom why people are reluctant to attend concerts and have the pleasure of hearing classical guitar first hand.
People today are so used to the dynamic range and rhythmic precision of commercially produced music, with its many instrumental and vocal layers, that when faced with the subtleties of a comparatively quiet solo instrument, they fail to grasp what it is that's so special.
Classical guitarists also face the dilemma of deciding how to accurately describe the instrument and its music. Mention Spain and the average person might make a connection with flamenco guitar which is at best a near miss. Classical guitar undoubtedly has its roots in Spain and shares similarities with flamenco guitar and its music. In fact, on the whole the instruments are pretty much identical in construction apart from differences in the timbers used. The earliest flamenco guitarists are known to have played guitars quite similar to those of classical guitarists. However, as most guitarists know, there are differences between the techniques required to play flamenco versus classic guitar, and the sounds the instruments produce. Although some aspects of both technique and the sound do cross over from one to the other!
Another dilemma is faced by classical guitarists who include recently composed music in their concerts. There is the risk of putting off purists who expect only to hear mainstream or standard guitar repertoire. Those lacking in-depth knowledge of classical guitar music might have heard popular items such as Cavatina by Stanley Myers, Spanish Romance by Anonymous and Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega and only attend concerts if those items are to be played. Ironically though, introducing new music to audiences can have an opposite positive effect, attracting those interested in hearing something different from often played standard guitar repertoire. Getting the balance right to please all listeners and tastes in music, is certainly a delicate balancing act.
Often a person's first favourable experience of classical guitar is through hearing new music which might feature sounds they did not realise were possible on the instrument. Introducing new listeners to the world of classical guitar, be it by way of old or new music, has got to be one of the most satisfying outcomes of presenting live performances.