Air Guitar Hero

You only belong to one of two camps:  those that play air guitar or those that don’t.  For those of us that do, did you know that there is an Air Guitar World Championships? Held last week in Oulu, Northern Finland, AGWC draws a respectable crowd of more than 5,000 fans cheering on their favorite international guitarist. American Matt “Airistotle” Burns was the best of 15 finalists and took home top honors this year.

The AGWC began in 1994 with the sole purpose of promoting world peace. And fun, of course.  After 20 years of competition, their resolve holds fast:

The purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end, climate change stop and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the air guitar. This is why the whole universe is invited to play the air guitar for the world peace at the end of the competition.

Hmmm.  Promote world peace, have fun, and make international friends?  Where do I sign up?!

If you want to go as a competitor, you will have to practice, practice, practice until the U.S. National Championships held in Portland, Oregon each August.  This also means that you will need to decide which air guitar school of thought fits you best.  You might belong to:

Artistic Airdeology – a very philosophical approach to Air Guitar

Playing Air Guitar is considered as a form of meditation among some air philosophists. Letting yourself go with the flow in front of thousands cheering Air Guitar fans is truly a purifying experience, an inner battle to beat your fears and finally free your mind. Or accordingly to Zac “Mr. Magnet” Monro, the AGWC Champion of 2001 and 2002, “it’s like diving into a shark pool with pork pies strapped to your body”.

Pure Air Rock ‘N’ Roll – authentic imitating of guitar playing and comprehensive rock attitude

“It’s all about being REAL! Standing on stage, with the stage lights flickering, the music exploding from the speakers and 3500 people cheering and screaming, and then simply letting go and surfing on one’s air guitar, is about the closest you can get to being a rock star if you’re not.” Tiscali Europe, 2003

Air Extravaganza – glam rock influences with dazzling clothing, cocky moves and show-off attitude

Get your Kiss albums out and learn to do the tongue whilst you perform! However, do not let the pompous appearance and a glam camouflage fool you: Air Guitar still requires charisma and stage presence, which can not be bought with a pile of weathers.

Futur D’Air – combines playing the Air Guitar with original, even bizarre elements that aren’t necessarily rock music related.

Examples include the performances of The Destroyer (2005) and the outrageous Belgian Ron “Bucketbutt” Van den Branden (2004), who took the stage wrapped in foil and with a rubber glove on his head. Futur d’Air doesn’t restrict any ideas and gives freedom for artsy-fartsy Air Guitar imagination. Just beware of not over-doing it: too much mind-extending improvisation might distance you from the audience.

The best part is that we are ready to assist you all the way to the top!  You can start with basic string progressions on the third floor by checking out Play Great Rock Guitar: Jam, Shred and Riff in 10 Foolproof Lessons by Phil Capone or Easy Pickings Dylan: 17 Hits Arranged in Unique Easy Fingerpicking Notation by Bob Dylan.  Of course there is the good ‘ole standby: Guitar for Dummies by Mark Phillips and Jon Chappell.

captureNext, watch the greats (and those that pretend to be great) on DVD.  It Might Get Loud, Ricki and the Flash, School of Rock, Tenacious D in: the Pick of Destiny, Rock Star, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Shine the Light can all be checked out for four days of serious study and it will only cost $2.  (SO MUCH CHEAPER than a master’s program!)

Last, listen and practice!  Try Play: The Guitar Album, Duet for Guitars #2, or Shining Like a National Guitar: Greatest Hits. If all else fails, start small, like Hannah Montana.  We won’t tell anyone!

Point is, you only have about 10 months before you have to register for the U.S. National Air Guitar Championships.  Time to get serious about representing Wyoming!

~Rachael S.