On Thursday, March 23, the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts hosted classical guitar player, Matt Palmer, at the First Presbyterian Church in Johnson City.

The church was unlike any other I had been in. There was bright lighting in the room and the ceiling was very tall, allowing for nice acoustics. The room was also very spacious, allowing  plenty of seating for the many people who showed up to see Palmer perform.

For the concert, Palmer played a selection of  classical songs that were written by familiar artists, such as Bach, or songs that were composed specifically for him by other renowned composers.

“I’ve been playing classical guitar  for eighteen years,” Palmer said. “I practice on my guitar everyday. Learning to play, I was playing six hours every day, and now with a lot of work, I still end up getting four hours in.”

Matt grew up near Johnson City, but his Southern roots didn’t affect the type of music he wanted to play.

“I was originally brought to metal,” Palmer said. “So I was a metal guitarist. I wanted to play classical guitar because I knew that it would be a challenge.”

One of the many accomplishments that Palmer has achieved is writing his own instructional book on how to play classical guitar, called, ‘The Virtuoso Guitarist.”

“It’s a method book,” Palmer said. “I developed a way of playing scales that is unique, and I knew that the information would be valuable to other guitarists.”

Matt also offered up advice for aspiring musicians. “Be an entrepreneur. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t just try to be a performer, but be a performer who does something unique. Don’t just try to be a teacher, but try to be a teacher that teaches something unique.”

Before I heard Palmer preform, I had never really expressed much interest in classical guitar. When I listened to him play, though, I was honestly stunned by his talent. During the concert, Palmer  played notes on the guitar that were so high, that his fingers nearly reached the end of the fret board.

During some parts of the songs, he played notes that made his guitar sound so much like a piano, I couldn’t tell the difference at some points.

I found this concert to be very enjoyable, and it helped me understand a little more about the classical side of guitar.

After all of the world traveling and fame that Palmer has acquired, I couldn’t help but ask him what he liked so much about returning to Johnson City.

“I love being able to show every one where I’ve gone, where music has lead me, which is a much different place than where people remember.”