My name’s Michael and I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years, since I was 16. I started playing metal but gradually drifted into classical because I couldn’t find any reliable musicians to play with so found myself playing more and more stuff that didn’t require other musicians! I had a six month break in late ’98 when a hand injury caused nerve damage in my left hand stopping me from stretching my fingers or doing barrés. I thought I’d never play again! Eventually the nerve grew back (or a different one took over the job) and I resumed playing. I’ve just learned Tango en Skaï, which I’m very excited about as I’ve wanted to play it for nearly 20 years but didn’t think I’d have the speed for.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in classical music, a Master’s degree in classical guitar performance, and am currently undertaking a PhD at Kent University investigating the ergonomics and physiology of playing. It’s self funded and I earn my crust from teaching various styles of guitar. Part of my research is about the causes of injuries in those people that spend a lot of time playing. These injuries are way more common than people realise (60% of professional classical guitarists and 80% of flamenco guitarists in Andalusia suffer from long-term pain from playing) and I feel things need to change. To this end my main reason for joining here is to share with the guitar communities the interviews I’ve conducted (and will be conducting in the future) with professionals, including John Mills and Gerald Garcia, about their problems.