Marcin Patrzalek – known professionally as simply Marcin – is a 22-year-old guitarist, composer and arranger who has previously featured on The Music Man. Besides his prodigious talent, he is known for his appearances on TV shows including America’s Got Talent, his endorsement by Ibanez (he has a signature guitar), and his popular YouTube channel.
Marcin is also known for his impressive collaborations, including those with young Japanese guitar hotshot Ichika Nito. The following video is a little different. It shows 16-year-old Marcin as a student in music class. Filmed by his music teacher, the clip is of Marcin demonstrating Paganini’s Caprice #24 as his classmates look on.
Marcin posted the video on 30 May 2023 to honour his former teacher for reaching the milestone of teaching for 30 years. In his note accompanying the post, Marcin mentions that he sees many mistakes in his student performance, but it’s the best video he could find from his time in the music classroom. Predictably, most of the comments poo-poo Marcin’s talk of his musical missteps. He may have improved over the years, but he was certainly impressive as a 16-year-old, is the gist of many remarks.
A common thread in the comments relates to Marcin’s classmates. G.F. Snow humorously encapsulates these messages: “The other kids went home and threw their guitars in the corner, fell on their beds and said ‘mother! I’m done! Marcin played brilliantly today and I had to watch I’m never playing again.” So how much has Marcin improved since his student days? Here is Marcin playing Paganini’s Caprice #25 in a video that premiered on 22 September 2021. He is clearly a much more confident player.
It is also clear that Marcin has become a much more technically advanced player. Besides his astonishing guitar picking and the precision and speed of his finger work on the neck, I particularly enjoy the way in which Marcin has mastered the incorporation of percussive taps, tickles, and bumps on the guitar body into his playing style. Alisa Shafira aptly comments: “I love how he sells the guitar tabs like it’s playable for a normal human being.”
Marcin does not name the teacher who he honours for 30 years of teaching. Wikipedia notes two teachers who helped train Marcin. Jerzy Pikor taught him classical guitar from the age of ten, while Spanish guitarist Carlos Pinana helped him with flamenco techniques from the age of 12. Since the classroom video is of a Paganini piece, I suspect that the teacher in question is probably Jerzy Pikor. Little matter. Both teachers deserve praise for nurturing Marcin’s innate talent. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Marcin clearly puts in the requisite hours of practicing. Teaching is important, but without talent and extensive practice, it tends to be wasted.
In the first paragraph, I mentioned that Marcin has a signature Ibanez guitar. It is the Ibanez MRC10 acoustic. The guitar was only released in October 2022, so it doesn’t feature in either of the Paganini videos above. I’m sure that acoustic guitarists are itching to see it in action. Here is Marcin playing Beethoven’s Für Elise on what he describes as the “best acoustic guitar on the planet”, though I must mention that Marcin’s repertoire is by no means limited to classical music. His YouTube page includes guitar interpretations of popular artists from Ed Sheeran to Led Zeppelin.