Spotlight on local composer and guitarist, Andrew Stickman
February 21st, 2017
STICKMAN “I mean you go so far but, you eventually hit a wall unless you try to uproot yourself from whatever you are doing.you eventually hit a wall unless you try to uproot yourself from whatever you are doing.Playing the classical was a completely different world, a humbling world because on electric guitar you can play chords with an amp and distortion and it will ring out forever. But if you are on a recital stage, and your hands are nervous you are going to hear that nervousness. That really shaped my perspective on performance and made me want to seek the kind of vulnerability.”
Spotlight on a local guitarist, composer, traveling musician, and he teaches at the Omaha Conservatory. Andrew Stickman shares his insight on his musical journey that has shaped his entire life. Stickman has paved his own unique musical path throughout his career. He says his success started with the support he had when he was young.
STICKMAN: “My mom and dad were both very supportive of me, so growing up that was my biggest influence. I would say, “oh, I listened to this band” and that is really what my influence was, but it was my parents that were both very supported me even when I was like, “Oh dad, come on, leave me alone”. Without them I wouldn’t have been the musician that I am today. “
Learning to play rock, jazz, funk, classical and flamenco have given a really unique perspective on the way he approaches music.
STICKMAN: “It’s a true feat that any musician should try to take whatever you are doing to the bare minimum so you are exposed and vulnerable and then try to make music. That is how people grow as a musician and you discover things about yourself and the whole process.”
His eclectic taste in style and music have helped shape his teaching methodologies when teaching one on one students at the Omaha Conservatory.
STICKMAN: “On the individual level, I have a list of stuff that I know will work and I want them to eventually play. Everybody is different so everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and I try to exploit the weaknesses because we often so play what we are good at, so I Like to teach kids “how” to practice.”
With a degree in guitar performance from UNO, it helped him seek out inspiration in a new way, on those rare occasions when he really needs it.
STICKMAN: “Compositional wise, I love listening to classical music, so Mahler, Shostakovich, Beethoven and Brahms. When I need inspiration I think I kind of go to them but I never really need inspiration. Whenever I listen to their music I get chills. It just takes me back to maybe the first time I heard a Mahler symphony, or Shostakovich.”
The Omaha Guitar Trio was founded in 2010 by Stickman and bandmates Max Meyer and Kevin Sullivan. They met in college and started performing in local restaurants, moved on to bigger venues, private salon concerts, and now travel around the country where they have been seen opening for acts like Cavatina Duo. They transcribe classical pieces, modern classics and write originals. Stickman’s most recent composition titled “Oregon Trail” which you can look forward to on their second album, describes the trio and their travels.
STICKMAN: “I’ve been calling it a “Cowboy Flamenco” piece. It’s definitely a western type of modern, instrumental classical guitar song. It has cowboy themes, you can probably hear a “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in there, or “How the West Was Won” where the main theme is derived from. Then I always throw in flamenco right hand, some rasguadoes, some really cool type of percussion work. There is a section in there where I picture a “standoff”, just two people shooting guns at each other. I can see that.”
Stickman expresses the excitement of being able to perform works like this in a small, intimate atmosphere sometimes hired to play right there in your living room. Those are called Salon Concerts, where there are anywhere from 10-50 people actively listening, enjoying wine and cheese.
STICKMAN: “In the salon concert, where it’s not in a recital hall; sometimes a recital hall can be stuffy and everyone has got their ties on and nice pants. You should always wear nice pants I guess, but there is something much more intimate just by playing in a small salon concert or living room that is fully engaged. They will come tell you, “Wow, how did you come up with that part?”. The audience is just as important as the music is.”
A look inside the life of Omaha native, guitarist and composer Andrew Stickman. The Omaha Guitar Trio was accepted on the Nebraska Arts Council for “Artists in Schools” in 2016. This semester they will be visiting Omaha South, Omaha Central and Norris Middle School to help prepare guitar students for their upcoming state competitions. And, this Spring, the Trio will be making their rounds in private salon concerts, local gigs and performing with traveling singer/songwriter Sarah Vitor. For more information on performances and bookings you can visit their website, omahaguitartrio.com or follow them on facebook at facebook.com/omahaguitartrio.
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