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Top guitarist strums his way to new life in city

JAZZ MAN: British guitarist Jasper Smith has opened a new guitar school in Brisbane St.
JAZZ MAN: British guitarist Jasper Smith has opened a new guitar school in Brisbane St. Claudia Baxter

IT WAS punk rock that got Jasper Smith to pick up his first beat-up old guitar at 14.

Twenty-five years later and a few continents away from where he first played, the love this Ipswich tutor has for all things guitar is obvious.

The celebrated teacher, composer and performer will officially open his new studio on Brisbane St this month after relocating from the United Kingdom.

His move from Norfolk to Ipswich will be big news for Aussie guitar players, with Mr Smith now the first examiner accredited with the London College of Music exams and Registry of Guitar Tutors to ever be based outside of the UK.

It means an expanded presence for the exams across Australia and New Zealand.

Previously, exams through the London College of Music had to be conducted by an examiner flown out from the UK once a year.

On top of teaching, Mr Smith is also going to show his performance skills to Ipswich with a weekly gig at Brisbane St cafe Fourthchild each Friday lunch.

While it was punk that first hooked him, Mr Smith has performed across blues, rock, pop and jazz since that first guitar in the 80s.

"I love it all, really," he said.

"It (guitar) is a real cornerstone of so many different music styles.

"It's a real stress-relieving thing, playing a musical instrument."

His collection has now reached about 16 different guitars and counting.

For the past decade, his performances have put a focus on jazz and he named it his favourite style to perform because of the challenge it offers to experienced players. The style celebrates improvising and not relying on a music sheet.

"It's kind of a musical conversation with other musicians," Mr Smith said.

Lessons with Mr Smith are available for beginner to advanced students from seven years old and above.

You can find more information at jaspersmith.com or phone the studio on 3202 4125.



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