Figure Skating and the Classical Guitar

Nothing has anything to do with the other.  However, underneath all my metal loving, this classical guitar junkie has a great appreciation for figure skating.  When I was a student in college, I started paying closer attention to figure skating.  I don’t remember exactly how it happened.  I can’t ice skate at all.  In fact, the first and only time I tried killed my ankles and feet.  Plus, my dear best friend from college who dragged me to the rink, embarrassed me by knocking me down in front of a large crowd landing on top of me, although she will vigorously deny it.  Since then, I prefer avoiding ice all together and would rather stay on a non-slick surface, which is sometimes difficult in Chicago.

The main reason I started paying attention to ice skating is because I saw similarities in playing the classical guitar (or any other instrument for that matter).  Classical guitar playing, like figure skating, is a combination of technicality and artistry.  The obvious difference is that skating is all about movement versus sound.  I’d often compare an ice skating jump to a demanding musical run, or a slow smooth glide on ice to a lyrical, legato melody.  When I saw an amazing performance, I’d often compare that performance to a demanding musical piece.  I remember my guitar teacher from Southern Methodist University, Robert Guthrie, told me in a lesson that without mastering technique, a musician can never effectively express music.  Technique serves as the bridge to interpretation and allows artistry to rise.  Figure skating is very technical, but the best skaters have an artistry that can be eloquent and amazing.   The same is true for classical guitar playing.

Needless to say, I am writing this because the Olympics are going on.  This is the primary reason my blogging duties are somewhat lacking this week.  I’ve been glued to the television the past few evenings watching  figure skating.

If have a take away from this story… you never know what will provide inspiration.  I certainly surprised myself when I started to watch and appreciate  figure skating.

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