RGT Guitar Tutor Chris Harrington Interview

In today’s installment of the RGT Guitar Tutor Interview Series, we are sitting down with performer, composer and RGT Guitar Tutor Chris Harrington.

After studying Popular Music at Southwark College, and later at Goldsmiths University, chris has achieved his Grade 8 Diplomas in both bass and guitar, with distinction, and continues to study as he works towards the DipLCM diploma from the RGT and LCM.

Chris is also an active composer as his writing has been featured on MTV and ads for Selfridges, among others, as he works with production company Studio Tinto on this side of his musical career.

Besides being a busy guitar tutor and composer, Chris is also an active performer and has recently released a new album ‘Music for a Film Unknown,’ under his musical moniker North Arch Rising.

To learn more about Chris, his performing and teaching, please visit the Guitar Tutor Chris Harrington Homepage.


RGT Guitar Tutor Chris Harrington

RGT: How did you become aware of the RGT, and why do you chose to encourage your students to take RGT guitar exams?

Chris Harrington: I was first introduced to RGT whilst studying music at Southwark College back in 2000.

I achieved a Grade 8 certificate in both electric guitar and bass in my two years of study there, and I found it to be a refreshing syllabus for the jazz and progressive guitarist.

For these reasons, I continue to enroll my students in RGT exams each year, and encourage them to work through the RGT syllabi in our private lessons.

RGT: What do you find is the biggest challenge when preparing a student for an upcoming RGT exam?

Chris Harrington: I would say that pacing is an important part of preparing a student for any RGT exam.

You have a goal in mind, and the main aim is to prepare the student to the point that they are playing every section of the exam in a fresh and energetic manor.

Because of this, I try to make sure students don’t peak too early before their exam date, and are hitting their best performance level on the day of the exam.

RGT: Most students, if not all, deal with nervousness on some level either before or during their exams. How do you address this issue with your students in their lessons?

Chris Harrington: Nervousness is something that I work on with students regularly.

There are two ways that I work with students to combat nervousness, the first is encouraging them to perform their pieces once a week to someone in the family, and the second is to play their pieces for their music class at school.

RGT: As someone that holds several Grade 8 Exam Certificates from the RGT, do you see yourself continuing your own study and exam taking, or are you focusing more on the teaching side of things these days?

Chris Harrington: I believe that we’re never really finished with learning, and with RGT’s continued additional qualifications, I’m always keeping up to date with the new syllabi and will be looking to take the DipLCM(TD) later this year

RGT: You are a composer as well as a performer and educator. Do you find that your composing has influenced your teaching at all, and how did you become involved with the compositional side of the industry to begin with?

Chris Harrington: I think that being a composer gives any instrumental tutor a better insight into their instruments role in music, and I use a range of musical examples to show students how the guitar can be part of something much bigger when you’re aware of what’s around you.

I first became introduced to composing after a few of my songs were used on a documentary shown by the BBC.

I wanted to pursue this side of the industry  further but with a more hands on compositional approach, so I did a few favours for Studio Tinto’s director Alex Amelines, working on some short films and animations, that got my foot in the door.

Through those experiences, we’ve built a strong working relationship and I was lucky enough to work on an ident for MTV, and recently a denim Ad for Selfridges.

I’m always trying to develop my compositional approach, bringing in anything from full orchestral scores to using a cheap old nylon strung acoustic guitar that a neighbour was throwing out.

Each project has its own needs, and the music is there to compliment the underlying material, not steal the show.

RGT: If you had one piece of advice for other guitar teachers that are preparing students for RGT exams, what would it be?

Chris Harrington: I would say don’t rush students during their exam preparation. Be patient with every student, and most of all, encourage and Inspire.


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