How to hug your guitar and coax music out of it
Guitarist Kevin Loh, who has won many international accolades, will headline the President’s Young Performers Concert. (Photo: Singapore Symphony Orchestra)

How to hug your guitar and coax music out of it

Next to the violin or the piano, the classical guitar can seem like a less sophisticated musical instrument to some. But musician Kevin Loh makes a compelling case for it.

“With all the different sounds that one can create with the guitar it’s almost like having the forces of an orchestra all condensed into this one instrument,” says Loh.

Just 20, the talented guitarist has won many international accolades and performed around the world. This Friday, he will headline the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s President’s Young Performers Concert at the Victoria Concert Hall.

Loh, who started out learning the violin, began playing the guitar at five. At 12, he was talent-scouted on YouTube by the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School for music talents and offered a place. He also received a study grant by The Rolling Stones to study at the school.

He spends four to five hours a day practising the guitar, but that is hardly a chore for him. He says: “It is an instrument that you need to hug to play. It requires a delicate touch, but it is so satisfying when you are able to create a beautiful tone and atmosphere.”

Loh shares three fun nubbins of information about the life of a classical guitarist with us:

Never chip your nail
“If your nails get cracked or chipped off, you are basically out of commission. Some players use a fake nail to get by, although the sound is not as good as with an actual nail.

Classical guitarists play pop music
“We play all kinds of music. We play everything from South American music like tangos, chôros and sambas, to jazz and pop music arrangements.”

Strength-training is a must
“There is so much to learn, including how to develop strength and stamina. It is important to have a good teacher to guide you.”

Replies have been condensed. Details about the President’s Young Performers Concert here.

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