From The Desk Of The Innocence Mission: Studying Classical Guitar

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the first innocence mission album. Since then, the Lancaster, Pa., band—wife/husband duo Karen and Don Peris (both play multiple instruments and sing) and bassist Mike Bitts—has released nine more LPs. The latest is Sun On The Square (Badman), which also features Peris children Anna (viola) and Drew (violin) on a couple tracks. Karen and Don will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Don: The sound of the nylon-string classical guitar is transporting, both of the moment and otherworldly. Sometimes I am asked, as a guitarist, “What is a good way to improve musically and emotionally?” And, while I am sure there are so many ways to do so, one way for me has been to study classical guitar. I find that this pursuit kinda helps me align my thinking, atune my heart and even sometimes restore my creativity. Perhaps it is the clarity that comes from the discipline of any study, but for a messy-minded musician like myself this has often been a help. I also like the demand that is placed upon the right hand, a responsibility to foster a gracefulness in the sounding of the strings. I like the connectedness to the span of centuries, a participation in a long timeline. And, even as I move from nylon string to electric guitar, I find that I can carry some of those learned skills with me. Anyway, I bought this book in college, and it remains a place of refuge.