Guido Bissig: The William Tell of Music

Guido Bissig is not only one of our music teachers but also our Head of Music who composed our school song “Montana – My Place to Grow” and inspires our students on a daily basis to channel their inner Beyoncé or Michael Bublé. How did he get here? Let’s find out.

05 June 2019
Guido Bissig comes from the canton of Uri, one of the 26 cantons found in Switzerland and one of the three founding members. It is said that William Tell, one of Switzerland’s folk heroes, also hails from Uri. And as legend has it, he was an expert marksman with the crossbow, so we like to think that Guido too is an expert marksman, only with musical instruments instead.  
While he was in school, he had several great music teachers who encouraged him to pursue music and this ultimately motivated him to become a music teacher as well. Thus, he first went on to Lucerne to study school music II which allows him to teach at the grammar school level. He then continued on to Zurich where he studied the accordion as a main instrument. Playing the accordion is no easy feat, it requires a lot of coordination since not only do players have to use both hands, but the left arm operates the bellows while reading the music. All in all, the accordion is an incredibly versatile instrument, like the teaching methods of Guido. 
“I try to explain the important basic concepts of music theory and music history to students because it’s important that they know these skills. Then, of course, it requires plenty of work and practice time too,” says Guido with a big smile. 
Guido has been a teacher for about 20 years, five of which have been with us at Institut Montana. “If you want to become a musician, you need to follow the main ingredients: hard work, daily practice, joy and motivation for music. That’s where I come in, to work with young people and to hopefully inspire them to gain a passion for music,” explains Guido. “Music is an important balance for everyday school life. Time and time again, studies prove that music must be included in a child’s timetable as an “important subject” as it leads to better brain development, increases human connection and can even relieve stress. All in all, the opinion that you cannot learn or practice a real profession with music is wrong – there’s plenty you can do with it.” 
So not only is Guido one of our music teachers and the head of our music department, but he also wrote our school’s anthem in celebration of our 90th anniversary. “I was under the impression that an important event such as being around for 90 years needed to have a song that conveyed our basic values in a musical way. I therefore wrote the song "Montana – My Place to Grow" according to our school motto. I created it so that students can sing this song regularly on any important occasion and to further develop our sense of community,” recalls Guido. “It is very exciting to work at Institut Montana with our international youths, they all have different backgrounds, especially when it comes to music. That aside, even when music is often times regarded as a “secondary subject,” I notice that many of my students are enthusiastic about our music projects and learning an instrument.” 
On a final note, Guido says, “I am looking forward to continuing many more projects at Institut Montana. I am very grateful that the whole team is so helpful and openminded to have me realise my musical ideas.” So be sure to save the dates for the next upcoming events: 
A West Side Story medley which will be presented to the public within our “MontanaReViews” project: 
Friday, 18 October 2019, 20:00 at Theatre Casino Zug 
Sunday, 17 November 2019 17:00 at the annual concert of Musikverein Harmonie in Triengen, Lucerne  
Summer Choir Concert  
In addition to these large-scale musical projects, we will launch a new summer choir concert for our Student Choir A at Burgbachsaal Zug, which will take place for the first time this year and – if successful – shall be repeated in subsequent years. 
Date: Saturday, 22 June 2019 
Time: 19:30 
Place: Burgbachsaal, Dorfstrasse 12 in 6300 Zug 
Admission: Collection 
We hope to see you there!  

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