Abigail Aronson

Professor

"I've found it valuable for my students to be in touch with their strengths, so I try to hear, validate, and develop their areas of mastery or potential. At the same time, we focus on areas they're less experienced or familiar with, or have been hesitant to try. Often we use their strong points to conquer the unfamiliar, and integrate it so that they feel like it's their own."

"A lot of times I work with students at identifying scales, chords, and improvisation approaches by ear while we're learning the fingerings and theory. Many people find it refreshing to increase their confidence about what things sound like, as opposed to being sure of having them under their hands or recognizing them on a page. In my own playing, I often sing and play in unison or octaves when I improvise on guitar or bass. It seems that, for most people, the whole physics of music, and the theoretical aspects, serve an emotional response. I think that's why people do it. I like to hook people in with what they came to music for. Then, when I get into theory and technique, it can mean more to them."

"Technique-wise I'm a fingerstyle player, because of my classical training and performing career, and because I strongly identify with my folk and singer/songwriter background. Since graduate school I've been performing and recording as a fingerstyle guitarist, bassist, singer, improviser, and songwriter all in a jazz vein."

"We have a mix of instruments in the Joni Mitchell ensemble I teach: jazz guitar, acoustic guitar, and vocal majors, plus a drummer, a bass player, a rhythm section, and sometimes a piano. The extra seats vary. Last semester I had a violin and a cello. In the past, I've also had mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and dobro. In my Joni Mitchell guitar lab, we cover Joni's music through her career so far in light of a variety of guitar and singer/songwriter techniques, including open tunings and accompaniment skills."

"In my classical repertoire and performance class, which is modeled on a traditional conservatory repertoire class, we work on concepts central to classical guitar pedagogy and performance such as technique, interpretation, tone, phrasing, repertoire, preparation, deportment, fingerings, and performance anxiety. In both of my labs, students of all levels of guitar proficiency and previous experience with the style have had excellent improvement, and all levels have interacted successfully in the class."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • Performing guitarist and bassist
  • Numerous recordings and television scores