Two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel is one of Australia's most respected musicians. His unique
style, which he simply calls "finger style," is akin to playing the guitar the way a pianist plays a piano, using all 10 fingers. Rather than
using a whole band for melody, rhythm, bass, and drum parts, Emmanuel plays all that - and more - on one guitar. Guitar legend Chet Atkins was one of the first to inspire
Emmanuel to try this "fingerpicker" style as a child. Decades
later, Atkins himself became one of Emmanuel's biggest fans.
Born into a musical family, Tommy and his older brother Phil were considered child prodigies. Tommy got his first guitar at age four, was playing in family band by age six, and by 10 had played his way across Australia. Leaving school and home in his early teens, he embraced big city life in Sydney and spend the late '70s and early '80s playing club dates and working as a session musician. After that Emmanuel launched his solo instrumental career with the release of “Up from Down Under” in 1987. His career continued to bloom, and toward the end of the decade his popularity began to spill over into Asia, Europe, and eventually the U.S. In 1999, Atkins honored Emmanuel with the title of "Certified Guitar Player" for his contribution to finger style guitar. It was a crowning moment for Emmanuel, and the title is now virtually synonymous with the guitarist himself, the letters "CGP" often appearing in association with his name.
Since the turn of the millennium, Emmanuel's popularity has continued to grow. In all, his catalog includes over 20 musical recordings, spanning the gamut of solos, duets, ensembles, cover tunes, originals, and both electric and acoustic guitar. He has also made numerous live performance and instructional DVDs and regularly teaches master classes on the road. At 57, performing live is more important to him than ever, and he tours constantly, often playing over 300 concerts a year. Guitar players of all levels come to his shows to watch his magic hands work, but his appeal goes far beyond musicians. His live shows are known for their humor, passion, and infectious joy. The power of his charismatic showmanship will be an enduring part of his legacy. Tommy Emmanuel's message is pure love for the music, and he delights in sharing it with the world, one audience at a time.
Did you enjoy playing when you were a child?
When I was really young, my father made me play all the time and I resented it because it took away from my play times with my friends. But when I got older, I was fascinated by it and wanted to really try to work out the complicated music — in its own way, it was its own reward.
What's the coolest thing about being 'the guy everyone looks up to'?
I feel privileged to be in a place where people like what I do and look to me as an example to follow. I work very hard to improve my playing and my abilities every day and I feel a sense of responsibility since Chet Atkins awarded me the Certified Guitar Player award. My goal is to entertain as many people as I can in my life and to give the younger generation something solid that they can look to as an example.
Can you seriously see yourself getting any 'better'?
I feel like I'm only just beginning. Like every other player I know, you have good days and bad days, and some days things seem to come easy and some days you really have work to get the level of quality in your playing. The more I play, the more I realize what I need to work on. And so, I go through periods of working only on strength and skill, and then I work on expanding my knowledge and trying to steal a few good tricks from other players. It makes me feel very creative when I'm around other players that I admire.
Five albums. What are they?
Beatles 27 #1s
American Pie - Don McLean
The Atkins-Travis Traveling Show - Chet Atkins/Merle Travis
Bonnie Raitt - Nick of Time
Money, or professional recognition. Which is more gratifying?
You could say money feeds the family and recognition feeds the soul. It's more gratifying to make a difference in someone's life.
If you could have a jam session with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be Django Rheinhart because he's the greatest of all time.
ex. 1 Explain the following words and expressions
complicated, unique, child prodigy, decade, numerous, award, pure
ex. 2 Make your own sentences with the following words and expressions
to bloom, to inspire, in his early teens, to launch, numerous
ex. 3 Make sentences with “to be considered”
Example: The book is the most boring. - This book is considered to be the most boring.
- Tommy Emanuel is one of the greatest guitarists in the world.
- His technique is unique.
- The guitar is not the easiest musical instrument.
- Musicians are inspiring people.
- They were the people who contributed to his success.
- That melody was complicated.
ex. 4 Translate
- Она хотела сделать что-то значимое.
- Вместо того, чтобы бездельничать в свои ранние подростковые годы, он читал многочисленные книги.
- Его карьера была на самом пике в начале 90-х.
- Он постоянно что-то жует.
- Ваше внимание для меня лучшая награда.
- Я не смогла прочесть эту книгу, так как она была слишком запутана.
- Он выпустил первый альбом в возрасте 30 лет.
ex. 1 Open the brackets and use appropriate tenses
- I _____ to that composition, it’s wonderful. (just / listen)
- At the age of six he _____ in family band. (play)
- At the end of the 90s he _____ his album and _____ a title of “CGP”. (launch, receive)
- Since 2000 his popularity _____ to grow. (continue)
- Tommy Emanuel _____ numerous musical recordings and _____ instructional DVDs. (release, make)
- He constantly _____. (tour)
- His charisma and amazing technique _____ in history. (remain)
ex. 2 Use “must/can/should/might/need to”
- You _____ listen to the music loudly here. It’s forbidden.
- My sister _____ play the piano, but my cousins _____.
- People _____ go to concerts more often.
- You _____ drive so fast. It’s dangerous.
- Call her, she _____ be home now.
- I _____ hear you perfectly well. You _____ to shout.
- If your parents said so, you _____ do it.
- I haven’t decided yet. I _____ wear a red dress or I _____ wear a blue one.
- _____ you _____ to do anything now? _____ I ask you for help?
- You _____ quit smoking. It’s bad for your health.
ex. 3 Turn direct speech into indirect speech
- Tommy said, “I like what I do.”
- He added, “My goal is to entertain as many people as I can.”
- “I can’t understand this complicated sentence,” she said.
- “I was awarded with the Certified Guitar Player award by Chet Atkins,” said Tommy.
- “I will try to improve my playing,” I promised.
ex. 1 Answer the questions
- Where is Tommy Emmanuel from? What is he famous for?
- What is his unique style?
- Who was the inspiration and the role model for Tommy Emmanuel when he was a child?
- How old was Tommy when he started playing the guitar? Did he enjoy it?
- Who is “the Certified Guitar Player”?
- Is he still active? Does he continue to make recordings and tour?
- Does he like what he does?
- What is his goal?
- Does he try to improve his playing and become better?
- What is more important for him: money or music? Why?
ex. 2 Dwell on the following points
- Express your opinion about the following quotations:
“Music is the universal language of mankind.” ? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ? Victor Hugo
“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” ? Maya Angelou
“Music is the strongest form of magic.” ? Marilyn Manson
- Do you think it is easy to play music all the time in childhood? Does it really bring joy?
- Do you need discipline in music?
- Why do you think music is important and how does it affect different people?
- What do you think the world would be like without music?
- What do you think of when you listen to music
- Who is your favorite composer?
- Do you think that animals can enjoy music? How do you know?
- If you could invent a new instrument, what would it sound like?