In this business of music, turning the light on or off in my rooms — whether it is the teaching room, the practicing room or the I better book some dates room — I recently found myself switching on the lamp in the room of I just got back from a tour and it’s time to conduct one of my GillaCamp Guitar Workshops.


This happens to be a big room for the light switch to go on since I’m quite honored and feel a responsibility to conduct an effective guitar camp, especially since many players travel great distances to attend the GillaCamp. Realizing that this type of event was born in Florida, it has been important for me to find the sweet spot for the camp’s location. This year the rural location in Floral City, Florida, was prefect and could very well turn into a permanent winter home for the annual February two-day workshop. Terri and Dave were wonderful hosts for the event that also included an evening concert in their super-cool double-decker barn.

Over time I have discovered a couple of important elements are a must when running a successful guitar camp. One is making sure there is always fresh material available. The other element is to make it desirable for first time GillaCampers to make the commitment to attend, while encouraging previous attendees to return. This year we had students (new and repeat offenders) from New Mexico, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Florida.














Interestingly, the most consistent part at literally all the GillaCamps is the camaraderie that grows quickly among the participants, regardless of their range of talents. I have always found the more experienced players are more than willing to offer encouragement to the beginners and it almost appears to be somewhat of a reminder to them where they came from. I also find that the beginners react to this in a positive and hopeful manner as they embark on a new musical and often therapeutic journey.

And now that I’m the proud owner of an official alien blowup figure, brought by my Roswell, New Mexico student and a hand made Gilewitz Bobble Head doll sculpture, it’s probably about time for my next therapeutic session and wait for the next room to light up.


The Richard Gilewitz GillaCamp is on the ballot of Acoustic Guitar’s 2011 Players Choice Awards for Instruction/Workshop. Please sign up and vote for GillaCamp.

Originally posted 2011-03-02 17:48:42.