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CCG Winter Guitar Festival - Composer Q and A - Paul Brooks Horn

It’s All About (The) Composing

CCG had a Winter Festival with workshops on composing, arranging, improvising, new compositions, open mics, and a meet the composers Q&A. Here is my interview.

Who is CCG?

CCG is short for Creative Classical Guitarist created by Daniel Nistico. This online school teaches you how to improvise and create your own beautiful pieces on the classical guitar. The Winter Festival was held online in December and included sample workshops of what the courses teach. The courses, of course, go into much more detail. CCG offers a 14-Day Free Trial and I believe that it is well worth the trial.

I have been a member of CCG since early 2022, working through the Foundation’s program. And I have learned more about composing than I had thought possible. Daniel is an excellent teacher and has helped to expand my musical horizons.

I was interviewed for a “Meet the Composer” session for the December CCG Winter Festival. The following video is the interview. After that, the text transcript is below that. And below that is Daniel playing one of my compositions, “Last Flight Out.”

Meet the Composer

Intro: Hi, I’m Paul Horn, and welcome to CCG’s Winter Guitar Festival Composer Q and A.

CCG: So, when did you start composing and why?

Paul: I really started composing back in probably, the late 80’s/early 90’s when I discovered music. I was always writing my own songs and you know trying to figure out little ideas because I loved it. I enjoyed doing it. I know in the 90s I got into writing music because I was really into rock and roll, contemporary alternative rock, and always in bands. And I played drums at the time.

So, when I became Christian, when I got saved, I started writing contemporary worship music and I wrote 70 songs. I can’t say any of them were any good but, they’re in a notebook somewhere. I have no idea how they go. I think from that era there were two songs that really got saved (not saved in the salvation sense, saved as I remember them) and those were No Distractions and Created Simplicity. Then I put down the music for about 11 years and when I picked it back up I started playing classical guitar.

I’ve always wanted to write classical guitar so; I mean I always wanted to write a piece. And they were very beginner-oriented. One of the reasons I like to compose now is because I want to use the music to glorify God to bring attention to His Name.

CCG: So, what’s your composing process like now?

Paul: So, I would say I have composing processes. I have more than one approach. One is creating the canvas as Daniel has taught us at CCG. The other is just sitting down and improvising, coming up with an idea, and recording it on my phone. And then taking those ideas and expounding on them.

CCG: Which piece that you’ve composed is your favorite and why?

Paul: I have no idea [Laughs]. Seven Days at Troas is one that I like. The Night is Almost Gone is another one; that’s really, just, it’s got one melody, and then it’s expounded. I felt like when I wrote that piece it was, it stretched me more as a musician.

CCG: What is it like being on CCG?

Paul: Other than being three months behind? [Laughs] I like having the master classes. I like having the input into my music and then it’s really, you can work at your own pace, you know what I’m saying. And there’s a lot of good information that was another thing. I’ve always wanted to compose [and] the teachers that I had were good teachers but we didn’t really get into the subject of composing a whole lot. So, having all this information at our fingertips [and that’s] available to us is great. I mean finally getting somebody to teach me how to compose something.

CCG: So, would you say composing is the one thing that you’ve learned that excites you the most about CCG?

Paul: Being able to go into depth on the composing subjects. I think is going into detail. You know, we’re not just making a canvas, we’re actually expounding on that canvas. We’re creating something off that canvas and then Daniel’s teaching us how to do that. You know what I’m saying? Let’s not just go make a canvas, but now we have the tools to make the canvas. And then we can create from that or we can improvise our own stuff and expand it, you know?

CCG So, what would be your advice for people who have never composed before and want to try?

Paul: I have to say like other people have said just do it, just get out there and do it. I think another thing is that someone once told me that music is not supposed to be hard, [that] classical guitar is not supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be beautiful. And when you have a course like CCG you can learn how to make those pieces beautiful, you know, all the little tools and tricks and everything else. So, yeah, just go for it. I mean you probably already have something that’s really good and you just need to expand on it and CCG can help you do that.

Last Flight Out

With that, the interview was concluded and Daniel then played my piece: Last Flight Out. Here is the video he posted of the piece. The sheet music to Last Flight Out can be purchased in the shopTabs are also available for this piece.