C Brandon/RedfernsAfter Yes wraps up its latest North American tour leg in Indianapolis on Monday, August 12, guitarist Steve Howe will head to New York's Catskills Mountains to host the inaugural Cross Styles Music Retreat event. The guitar-themed summer camp, which runs from August 19 through August 23, will be held at the Full Moon Resort in the town of Big Indian.
The retreat will offer a variety of workshops led by Howe and a couple of other virtuoso guitar players. The Yes star also is planning to perform, share stories about his career and spend time meeting with campers during the five-day event.
Speaking recently with ABC News Radio, Howe explains that the camp isn't intended just for accomplished musicians.
"We kind of put together quite a friendly, nice package [that] appeals to guitarists…at quite diverse levels of interest," he notes. "Either non-playing or playing or just music lovers."
Among the topics the 66-year-old prog-rock legend will focus on during the festivities are composing, arranging and performing music; Howe's experiences playing and touring with Yes and other bands; and suggestions on how to balance one's musical endeavors with a healthy lifestyle and business.
Howe tells ABC News Radio that the campers should expect the instruction at the retreat to be rather freeform and to be less concerned with preconceived rules.
"Everything I've done has been inspired because of my experience, not because of some predetermined method," notes Steve, who is self-taught and never learned how to read music. "I hated school [and] music was my sanctuary. Music was my freedom, and…I want to pass on that [learning music] shouldn't become an arduous, student-oriented [task.] It should be about spontaneity, creativity and enjoyment."
Howe also says he wants to teach aspiring musicians that, when it comes to composing their own songs, they shouldn't be discouraged by negative criticism or self doubt.
"You think, 'Oh God, this isn't really very good, is it -- or is it?,' you know?" notes Howe with a laugh. "So, I want to help people through some of [those] misconceptions."
In addition, Howe is hoping to impart to artists who have reached a level of proficiency on their instrument that there are other important aspects to performing music that should be learned.
"I think people who go to music school for too long come out just thinking that that's it," he points out. "But there's so much more to it. You know, interacting with other musicians is a very sensitive and vital part of it, and yet, I don't think many people get much training about that."
Besides Howe, other guitarists who will share their musical know-how at the Cross Styles Music Retreat include the classically trained Flavio Sala and veteran jazz musician Ray Matuza. In addition, Martin Guitar archivist **** Boak will be on hand to give a presentation about the famous acoustic guitar company.
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