Aloha, my name is Peter Kun Frary, Professor of Music at Leeward Community College. I'll be your guide during your journey through one thousand years of music. Our journey has few perils and many pleasures. However, if you stray off the path, I'm here to help guide you back.
Who Is This Guy?
Most of my adult life I've been a performer, ensemble director and composer. When I'm not playing guitar, I'm busy photographing and editing images of landscape, travel and abstracts.
My Roots in Port Townsend
I grew up in Port Townsend, Washington, and Point Wilson, Fort Worden and surrounding beaches were my playground and refuge. When I was old enough to ride a bicycle, Point Wilson was the first place I headed for. Why? It was the end of the earth. Riding north, you could go no further: the Straits of Juan de Fuca formed an impassable barrier, at least to a nine year old. When I was old enough to drive, my mama’s New Yorker Deluxe with 2-speed Power Glide floated through the roads of the point with ease. My first motorcycle, a Honda 350 Scrambler, seemed to automatically know the Point was my destination.
Sailboat Reflection | Port Townsend, Washington
The preeminent power of nature was bluntly apparent at Point Wilson. Constant gale force winds, crashing waves and driving rain were quick to remind how small and insignificant you were. The radical weather patterns made me think this place was a vertex of power, maybe even otherworldly—a sacred place. A half mile away it could be peaceful and warm, but the point was always turbulent, brooding and powerful. I often walked these beaches during winter storms, enjoying the solitude and feel of nature on my face.
These many years later, when my mind is still, I think of this place. I see vignettes of the straits and bunker hill, my dogs running the beach and paisley faces and voices of friends and love long lost. I’ve returned to Fort Worden dozens of times, perhaps in some silly quest to glimpse a nostalgic moment in my past. Bunkers and tunnels are welded shut, and park rangers patrol the perimeter like a police state, collecting fees and handing out citations. Fields I once played in are now a RV park, filled with elderly time travelers in satellite dish equipped Winnebagos. I suspect the Straits of Juan de Fuca submarine races are still enjoyed by novice lovers, so maybe things haven’t changed so much.
Point Wilson Lighthouse | Port Townsend, Washington
Dimick Lighthouse | Port Townsend, Washington
Port Townsend, Washington | So, yes, I grew up in idyllic small town America. Port Townsend is a beautiful Victorian city on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, jutting into the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca. It's a haven for artists, musicians and writers, and a great place to grow up in.
Oahu or Bust
I left my beloved family and Port Townsend to study music at WWU. I knew I'd never return home, save for short visits, because jobs opportunities for classical guitarists were sparse. Thus, after graduating from WWU with a Guitar Performance degree, I washed ashore on Oahu with my guitar, Nikon FM and a couple Benjamins in my pocket.
I love the Pacific Northwest but realized Hawaii's balmy climate suited me better than the dreary weather of the Olympic Peninsula. So I resolved to stay and make Hawaii my home. I earned a Master of Arts in Musicology from the University of Hawaii, got married and initially eked out a living teaching guitar and performing in Waikiki dives. Eventually I hired on as Professor of Music at the University of Hawaii, Leeward CC, and have been happily teaching class guitar, guitar ensemble and music literature for many years.
Nuʻuanu Valley | Honolulu HI | The fleeting light and rapidly changing weather at sunset is one of the many things I love about Hawaii.
As a YouTube performer and videographer I've created over 220 guitar performance videos. I enjoy writing both music and prose and many of my compositions and articles have been published in Guitar and Lute, Soundboard, Gendai Guitar and Makali'i. I'm also the author of three guitar books: Beginning to Play Classical Guitar, Beginning to Play Folk Guitar and Solos for Classic Guitar.
This Web Textbook
I decided to write a web textbook because this format allows me to integrate text, video, audio and images for a streamlined learning experience. Also, a web textbook gives me full control of course materials: I choose topics and materials and can update and revise those materials at a moment's notice. The many fabled days of print textbooks required phoning in corrections to a publisher thousands of miles away and, months later, said changes might appear in the new edition.
The downside of a web text, especially considering my six months of toil in its creation, is there are no royalties! This work was pro bono or, perhaps more accurately, hobby product since I created it at home during evenings. Also there is no support team of editors, designers, photographers and webmaters to help. I had to do everything, including things outside my comfort zone. But there were also hidden benefits: this project helped sharpen my Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Premiere, Logic Pro X and Finale skills. Finally, this web text will save each of my future students $195, the silly high cost of the textbook and download card I required in prior semesters.
8/272017 Update: My Music Literature sections have been cancelled due to low enrollment and I've been assigned to teaching "World Music" for future semesters. I'll figure out exactly what that entails over the next few months. I didn't even get to test this new web text on live students. Kind of like buying a new car and crashing as you leave the dealership. I'll leave this textbook on the servers but there will be no updates or edits for the near future at least.
Aloha Music Literature!
Starlight Gaze | Composed and performed by Peter Kun Frary